An update from JAN's Editor-in-Chief


Further online (and other) developments for JAN

This time last year in my annual ‘Update’[45(1), 1–2] I reported that Manuscript Central, our online manuscript management system, was up and running. Over the past months, various refinements have been added to the system and Manuscript Central is now working well. We will continue to improve it on the basis of feedback from editors, authors and reviewers. This and other online developments for JAN made last year another busy year for JAN's Editorial and Publishing Teams. All of the online developments being pursued are intended to benefit JAN's readers and authors and, importantly, we are keeping JAN on track – and ahead – of the many developments in online publishing that are now happening apace around the world.

The online developments, however, do not disadvantage readers of the print version of JAN and we remain mindful of the fact that, in rural communities and in some regions of the world, many nurses do not yet have access to computers. I for one would not like to see the day when printed journals become a thing of the past and when all accessing of ‘the literature’ is confined to online searching because even the best of ‘key words’ miss the serendipitous ‘finds’ that come from browsing through journals on library shelves. However, without any doubt, online publishing brings speed and breadth to the dissemination of new knowledge and, at the end of the day, that's what publishing is about. In this Update therefore I concentrate on some of the most recent online developments for readers and authors of JAN.

Online usage of JAN

Last year I reported that the online usage of JAN had been rising and this trend has continued over the past year. This is important because nowadays ‘online usage’ is a better indicator of the impact of any journal than the statistics about its subscription rates. Our latest statistics (for 2003) show that over one million full-text papers were accessed online from JAN in the course of that year. It also was pleasing to note, in the findings of a large-sample multisite Australian study of nurses' use of the internet that we published last year (Gosling et al. 2004) that JAN was the journal most frequently accessed online. Further, the majority of the nurses in that study believed that access to information and evidence online helps to underpin improvements in patient care. All subscribers to JAN have online access to the journal (through Blackwell Synergy) as well as having the opportunity to receive a paper copy of the journal. Non-subscribers can access JAN online through the subscription held by their library and also through where free access to abstracts and sample issues is available.

Further online services for authors

During the past year we have updated the Author Support pages on JAN's website, including the all-important information for authors on ‘Submitting your paper’ and the helpful FAQs section (frequently asked questions). We also have added further Guidelines for Authors, including guidance on ‘Shorter papers’ (of which we would like to receive more!) and on ‘Two-part papers’. A link to the Consort website on RCTs has been attached to the ‘Guidelines for empirical research papers’. Other existing guidelines remain on our website, including ‘Guidelines for qualitative research papers’ and ‘Guidelines for review papers’. We have received much positive feedback about the helpfulness of JAN's guidance for authors. Many authors, however, do not make maximum use of this guidance and many papers that are submitted have to be returned for revision – for even the most basic requirements, such as reformatting the abstract in line with requirements – and this simply wastes our time and, for the author, it delays the paper going forward for review.

Once in the system, however, JAN authors also now have access to new author services that were introduced by Blackwell Publishing last year to allow authors to track online the progress of their accepted paper through the steps of the production process. Once a paper has reached the stage of being accepted for publication a JAN author will be e-mailed by the Production Editor and given a unique ID for their paper and a URL link to Blackwell's Author Services website. Once registered, the author can request to have an e-mail alert at each stage of the production process or, if they prefer, to log in periodically to check the stage their paper has reached from its receipt in the production department; to typesetting; to the receipt of corrections; through to the paper going to press; and, finally, its publication, first on Blackwell Synergy and then in the printed version of JAN as it leaves the warehouse for distribution to paper-copy subscribers all around the world. We hope that JAN authors will appreciate their access to this service which allows them to ‘keep tabs’ on their paper as it works its way through the production process. You can view the home page for Author Services at

Even the Editorial Board has been busy online!

Last year, for the first time, we conducted the annual meeting of JAN's International Editorial Board, not in the traditional format of a face-to-face meeting but, instead, in the form of a ‘meeting’ online. While there are many advantages to a face-to-face meeting, it is a very costly exercise to gather JAN's International Editorial Board together in one place for a one-day meeting and past meetings have not been as well attended as we would like. The ‘reporting functions’ of the annual meeting were easy to manage online, simply by emailing the various reports to the Board members. The ‘discussion functions’ were fulfilled by seeking feedback from Board members on the consultation papers that were e-mailed. The ‘online’ meeting was kept live for a one-month period (August) to enable Board members to ‘talk ‘to each other via e-mail, and also to contact us. Even although we missed the benefits (and fun) of a real-time meeting, the online meeting provided an opportunity for each and every member of the Board to contribute. Indeed, there was more input from more of the Board members than in previous years. Their feedback and suggestions will assist us – the Editorial and Publishing Teams – in continuing to move JAN forward in productive and innovative ways.

Other developments

JAN's impact factor continues to rise

I am delighted to report that during last year JAN's impact factor rose once again. In the ISI Journal Citation report issued in June 2004, JAN came 7th in the ranking of Nursing journals (previously 8th) and with an impact factor of just under one (0·998). Great news.

Recent appointments

It is a pleasure to welcome Dr Jacqueline Fawcett to the Editorial Team, joining our other Editors from January of this year. Dr Fawcett is based at the University of Massachusetts-Boston in the USA and she brings a broad range of skills and experience to the team.

Dr Brenda Roe stepped down as one of our Editors at the end of last year. We would like to thank Brenda for her contributions as a JAN Editor over the past two years, and we wish her continuing success in all of her other pursuits.

Thanks too to Dr Beverly Henry who has served the journal for many years, first as Receiving Editor for the Americas, and then as an Associate Editor. We would like to thank Beverly for her contributions and wish her continued success.

A number of new appointments were made last year to JAN's International Editorial Board. You can see the new composition of the Board on the inside front cover of the paper copy of the journal or on JAN's website. I am very pleased that we were successful in increasing the international representation on the Board and we hope to further extend this in coming years. The Call for Nominations (and self-nominations) for further new appointments that will be made this year can be found on the JAN website.

On behalf of the Editorial Team, I extend a warm welcome to the new members of the Board and, at the same time, I would like to express sincere thanks to those members whose terms of office on the Board recently came to an end. An active and enthusiastic Editorial Board is a vital resource and support to any journal and, for JAN, it is our wish to have a proactive and critical international Editorial Board that will help push us forward in pursuing our objective of constantly improving the quality, relevance and impact of JAN.

I do hope that readers and authors will continue to be satisfied with JAN during 2005. Do remember that we are always pleased to hear from our constituents, whether in positive or negative form. Already we are looking forward to next year – 2006 – when there will be special features and activities to mark and celebrate an important year: the 30th anniversary of the founding of Journal of Advanced Nursing in 1976.