Title of ArticleLooking back: moving forward
Type of ArticleGuest Editorial
Author/sTheresa Shaw
ReferenceVolume 9, Issue 1, Guest Editorial
Date of PublicationMay 2019

It was back in September 2010 at an International Practice Development Collaborative (IPDC) meeting that the idea to explore the development of an online journal for practice development came to the fore. From my point of view, creating a journal was something I had felt FoNS should be considering, in part as a vehicle for disseminating the outcomes from our improving practice programmes. However, it was not something we could have achieved in isolation. Following the meeting, a small subgroup of IPDC members, including Jan Dewing, Sally Hardy and Brendan McCormack, met with Kate Sanders and me to flesh out the aims and aspirations for the journal and to identify the next steps.

Our overarching aim was to create a space for publishing work around both the theory and practice of practice development. The early aspirations focused on producing an internationally recognised, professional and academically credible, peer-reviewed journal that would offer free publication for authors and free access for readers. Making it an online journal increased opportunities for creativity and flexibility in terms of production while retaining a professional style. There was also a strong commitment to creating dialogue, so space for readers to comment on articles was seen as important, along with offering genuine support to novice writers.

FoNS was seen as the right home for the journal. We had space within (at the time) our new ‘virtual’ Centre for Nursing Innovation and the board of trustees was willing to provide the resources to support the journal’s launch and development during the early years. All this brought great enthusiasm from IPDC members, who lent their support by joining an international editorial board and facilitating the submission of articles.

With commitment and enthusiasm, the FoNS team was able to forge ahead with the practical work of setting up the International Practice Development Journal. While we knew there was much to do, we probably underestimated just how much was involved. This was new territory for FoNS and we quickly realised that publishing houses are not keen to share processes – they are businesses after all. However, with our ‘can do’ mentality we, and in particular Kate Sanders, pressed ahead tenaciously with everything from creating job descriptions for various roles, including that of academic editor, to copyright agreements, author guidelines, processes for peer review and so on. Along with getting those sound structures in place, it was also important for us to develop processes that lived the values of person-centred ways of working. We were determined that authors should have a supportive experience, from initial submission through to publication. The feedback received from numerous authors over the years testifies to the journal team’s success in achieving this.

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