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Looking forward to JAN

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  2. Looking forward to JAN

This is my first communication as Editor-in-Chief of JAN and I find myself looking back at those I follow: Jim Smith, Jane Robinson and Alison Tierney. Academic nursing owes a great deal to these previous Editors-in-Chief of JAN and, having worked with the first two when I previously worked with the journal, I owe a great deal to them too.

Jim Smith gave me my first opportunity in the publishing industry as an Editorial Board Member of JAN; after a few years I progressed to being Book Reviews Editor and subsequently Media Reviews Editor. It was really Jim’s vision which inspired me to continue with the industry and his guidance which – manifest imperfections notwithstanding – helped me to gain the skills I now have as a writer and editor. I rarely write anything without wondering what he would make of it and, indeed, what he will make of this: he retains his interest in the journal. Jim’s kindly, thick-pencilled strokes through my early efforts at editorials, reports and columns, and his unambiguous comments in the margin often stung but were never wrong; sometimes I did not actually know what I was writing about, and making it up was no substitute for the truth! He taught me the value of giving the fullest details about individuals and incidents and the value of accuracy and sound judgement.

Jane continued to guide my efforts during her time with JAN when she oversaw the journal moving to monthly editions. JAN had always been respected internationally but it was Jane’s vast international experience and the high esteem in which she is held across the world that really ‘cemented’JAN’s reputation as an international journal. I am glad to say that Jane’s work continues with the International Nursing Review.

I directly follow Alison Tierney whose youthful and energetic demeanour belies her long and distinguished record in nursing research. Alison has done much to establish the pre-eminence, internationally, of JAN amongst nursing journals. Under her leadership JAN has become the most cited academic nursing journal in the world and remains one of the largest. Others have surpassed JAN in the impact factor league table – where JAN has always been well placed – but the sheer number of citations annually, and the multi-millions of downloads, testifies to the sheer popularity, utility and influence of the journal worldwide. In tandem, Alison has built a prestigious and active team of Editors with whom it will be my privilege to work over the coming years.

The prospect of assuming the editorial mantle of JAN is daunting; it is also an incredible privilege. My appointment as Editor-in-Chief of JAN spread across the world rapidly; I am aware that this is to do with the reputation of JAN and not me. I am frequently asked what my vision is for the Journal and what I am going to do with it. There is nothing that cannot be improved but there is also no point in changing what seems to work. I still have a great deal to learn about JAN and it would be precipitate of me to make any bold statements at this point. Nevertheless, I know I will have achieved much if JAN remains one of the most popular places for people to submit their work and if it maintains its prestige internationally. More than that, I will have succeeded if the journal is, simply, considered ‘the best’ across the world and that includes publication metrics, reputation and influence on the development of nursing education, research and practice. There will be changes but they will be designed to streamline our editorial and production processes and to make sure that the highest ethical and current publishing standards continue to be implemented in JAN. Therefore, I know some measures by which I will have succeeded in making an impression on the journal; more anecdotally, I will know I have had some success if nobody asks me too soon: ‘who will be the next Editor-in-Chief of JAN?’