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One of the members of the Editorial Board members sent me a page from the Health Supplement of the Irish Times this year in which there was a report on how painful labour during the birth of a first child can have a lifelong effect on women. In fact, the article was based on a paper in JCN and the journal and the authors (Nystedt et al. 2005) were referred to. The Editorial Board member commented in a note that this was the first time he had seen a nursing journal referred to in a national newspaper. It was also my first time and it impressed upon me both the international nature of JCN and the importance of much of the material we publish. Such coverage does not happen by accident; Blackwell Publishing have been stalwart in their continuing support of JCN and this year has seen the employment of a press agent to increase coverage of JCN material and the paper referred to above was also reported in The Scotsman and Daily Mail in the UK and also by the Press Association and Reuters and appeared on many internet sites such as ABC News and some syndicated United States TV websites. Whilst competition with other journals or any particular genre of journal is not the aim of JCN, it is now clear that the material published in the journal is as newsworthy as other similar news, for example, medical news and that JCN is helping to draw nursing research to public and international attention. These efforts will be continuing so look out for further coverage of material from JCN; if you are an author then you may find yourself receiving more attention than you bargained for!

As this is the last issue of 2005 it is appropriate to review some aspects of the year to show what progress has been made by JCN. The most notable thing, in addition to further changes in the presentation of the journal, is that we published 10 issues. This has led, in addition to the increasing publication of Research in Brief, Clinical Reports, Commentaries and Responses and Book Reviews, to the publication of 22 more original papers than in 2004. In fact, as I write, we have compiled issues well into 2006 and the aim is to publish 12 issues – one per month – next year. There is no shortage of material being submitted to JCN and the importance and high reputation of the journal is something that is always drawn to my attention by nurses across the world. This year I visited Ireland, Spain, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States, and JCN is well known and held in high regard in all these countries.

In terms of international representation in the pages of JCN, compared with 17 countries being represented last year, we have published papers from 22 countries this year. Compared with 2004, Belgium, Denmark, New Zealand, Greece, Iceland, Japan and South Korea have appeared this year and the appointment of Editorial Board members from Japan and South Korea should ensure further submissions from these countries. In addition, we have appointed an additional Assistant Editor, Prof. Thomas Wong from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, for China and South-east Asia to ensure that our interests are well represented in that important and rapidly developing – from the nursing perspective – part of the world.

Most papers still come from the UK but it is important to note that this represents only a quarter of the papers in JCN. The vast majority of papers come from outside the UK with Sweden and Australia representing the second and third most frequently published, in common with 2004, and China (both Taiwan and Hong Kong) being fourth this year. In fact, Taiwan was fourth and Hong Kong was fifth. It is also important to note that the above analysis is based only on the country of origin of the corresponding author; a great many more countries are represented in terms of joint authorship, including mainland China and I predict that we will see an increasing number of papers from mainland China in the years ahead as Chinese universities forge links with their counterparts across the world and engage in collaborative and Chinese-based research studies. This is a very welcome development.

Where JCN is concerned, there is no bad news! A further development has been an increase in our impact factor for 2004 to 0·867 taking us to eleventh place out of 33 nursing journals listed in the Science Citation Index. The impact factor is often misunderstood and much maligned as an index of the quality of a journal but – being the citation of the average journal paper over a two-year period – this shows that JCN papers are being more frequently cited in the work of nursing authors across the world. This reflects the work of those who submit to the journal, those who review our papers and also the efforts of our editorial team and Editorial Board. I wish to take this opportunity of thanking them publicly.

Complacency is not an issue and we seek, continually, to improve JCN and heighten its profile in the international nursing community. This depends on everyone who reads this editorial. If you are an author, I hope that the news reported here will encourage you to continue to view JCN as a worthy depository for your papers; if you wish to review for JCN then please let us know (jcn@oxon.blackwellpublishing.com) and if you wish to comment on any of the material in JCN then you are welcome to do so, provided that your comments are accurate and constructive. I wish you the very best for 2005 and 2006 and I intend to publish further analysis in terms of the clinical and methodological coverage in the journal in 2006.

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