Editor in the Spotlight - Suzie Kardong-Edgren
“An Editor has a remarkable influence to shape ideas in a field and that influence should not be taken lightly”
By Suzie Kardong-Edgren Posted on 4 June 2012
Clinical Simulation in Nursing launched with Elsevier in 2008 and became Elsevier’s first-ever, online-only nursing journal. Just this year its frequency increased from six to nine issues annually. Elsevier publishes the journal on behalf of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation in Nursing (INACSL). Suzie Kardong-Edgren, PhD, RN, is the second Editor and was instrumental in seeking out a major publisher for what had been a members-only journal.
Upon launch, the journal moved from a hand-to-mouth manuscript acquisition style to enjoying a backlog of articles, which positioned it to be more selective, to publish higher-quality content and to prepare for the ISI application process. On average,Clinical Simulation in Nursing (Clin Sim) receives more than 100 non-solicited article submissions a year; the current rejection rate is nearing 40%.
Q. What does being a journal Editor mean to you and what do you find most rewarding about this role?
A. I think that for me there is a dawning recognition about how important the Editor position actually is, how lucky I am to be an Editor, and the responsibility the Editor shoulders for moving a discipline forward. It is so gratifying to see a new author published and then see the author cited in another journal. It is like a seal of approval, an endorsement of, “Yes, that was a good paper.”
Q. What are your biggest challenges as Editor of Clinical Simulation in Nursing? How do you overcome these challenges and what extra support can Elsevier provide?
A. My biggest challenge as Editor is letting authors and researchers know the journal exists and then convincing them to publish their work in our journal, rather than a more well-known education journal. It is like an arrow through my heart when I read a simulation article in another journal and the author states, “There is nothing in the literature about…” and Clinical Simulation in Nursing has five excellent articles published on the topic that were neither found nor cited. I also understand, as a newly tenured associate professor, that publishing good work in well-known journals with high Impact Factors is necessary. My job is to sell an author or tenure-track faculty member on the fact that their work, if published in Clin Sim, will be read by the experts in the field rather than education generalists.
I attend both big and small simulation conferences to build journal awareness and recognition. Some of the best and most creative simulation work is done in small schools and simulation centers where there may be no incentive to publish. Yet folks are doing amazing things. Convincing people to try writing and coaxing them to consider themselves as authors with something important to say is a very important part of my job.
My Elsevier publishing manager has helped guide us through the applications for MEDLINE listing, which will lead eventually to an Impact Factor for the journal.
Q. In many areas of research, the growth of paper submissions is outpacing the growth of qualified reviewers and resulting in pressure on the peer-review system. What do you think the solution to this problem is and how do you see the peer-review process changing in the future?
A. This is an acute but opposite problem in simulation, which is an emerging field. Many of the most creative minds in the field work in associate degree programs where there is no incentive to publish. If one is working in a large simulation center, simulation use is exploding so there is little time to write. Paper submissions are growing as we encourage folks to write and the journal is discovered. There is a lot of mentoring of both peer reviewers and writers at this time. It is an ideal time, however, to get in on the ground floor as an emerging writer or a reviewer. I have heard about the open peer-review process, which allows a paper to go online as it arrives at the publisher for active online critique by readers. What an interesting experiment and instructive for all concerned. I would try it.
Q. We have observed that researchers are increasingly accessing journal content online at an article level, i.e. the researcher digests content more frequently on an article basis rather than a journal basis. How do you think this affects the visibility of your journal among authors?
A. It helps Clinical Simulation in Nursing as an online-only journal. Researchers will find our content when conducting a search if they do not know we exist, and many of them do not. This means we need to have good content for them to find, which will then encourage them to seek out more information about the journal and potentially submit to us. I, too, search for what I want to read in a database like ScienceDirect or CINAHL; I rarely read an entire journal anymore.
Q. The move from print to electronic publishing has stimulated a broad discussion around alternative publishing models. These models are often termed open access and include:
- Author Pays Journal
- Sponsored Articles
- Free access to archives
What is your opinion about the open access movement and how does it affect your journal?
A. As someone who just received tenure, I can say that the open access journal movement in the nursing education and simulation field is not big and probably would be frowned upon by my colleagues at this point in time. There are very few government-funded simulation studies that would qualify for mandatory open access right now. I do like the idea of free access to archived journals and articles after a certain point in time. Open access has its place also. There are too many struggling scientists in parts of the world where mailed print journals will never arrive or there is no access to a library. The web is everywhere. Open access might help the next Watson and Crick emerge from some less-developed country.
Q. Researchers need to demonstrate their research impact, and they are increasingly under pressure to publish articles in journals with high Impact Factors. How important is a journal’s Impact Factor to you, and do you see any developments in your community regarding other research quality measurements?
A. I am told frequently by authors outside the US that they cannot publish in Clin Sim because it does not have an Impact Factor...yet. Many international authors choose to publish with us, however, as they want the experts in the field to see their work. Publishing a simulation article in a general nursing education journal gets more readers perhaps. But that work is read by whom? Simulation is still fairly new at the moment; many people who read general education journals are still hoping simulation is just a fad and do not necessarily appreciate an outstanding simulation article. Wise nursing simulation experts read Clin Sim.
I know that there is discussion that tenure and promotion boards may start considering blogs as publications, as one can count the number of hits and followers. There are new ways to calculate impact in a field besides research publications and speaking engagements.
Q. As online publishing techniques develop, the traditional format of the online scientific article will change. At Elsevier, we are experimenting with new online content features and functionality. Which improvements/changes would you, as an Editor, find most important?
A. We have actually used some of those new features like embedding videos of simulations in our articles and author interviews. Both our readers and authors like this ability. Having looked closely at Elsevier’s Article of the Future video, I personally look forward to the active links on the right hand side of the page to article citations. As an active researcher myself, I will love having the search taken care of for me. I can work much faster with those links if I need to locate something or I want to read further.
Q. Do you use social media or online professional networking in your role as an Editor or researcher? Has it helped you and, if so, how?
A. I have both ResearchGate and LinkedIn accounts, neither of which I have actively thought about for professional networking. I tweeted several years ago at a conference, using tweets to take notes that were apparently pretty good. Many folks started following me based on them. Then I lost my Twitter password and never followed up. As an Editor, I think tweeting has some real possibilities for advertising important upcoming articles, which I need to consider and pursue.
Q. How do you see your journal developing over the next 10 years? Do you see major shifts in the use of journals in the future?
A. Since we began with Elsevier, the journal has nearly doubled its readership every year. I hope that in less than 10 years we are listed in all the major databases and achieve that very important Impact Factor. As an online-only journal, I look forward to Elsevier’s’ enhanced online article interactive format possibilities. Perhaps many print-only journals will adopt an interactive online format. There are too many opportunities for media online to not actively explore what can be done with a web publication for articles.
Q. Do you have any tips or tricks to share with your fellow Editors about being a journal Editor?
A. I’m too new to know any tricks. I have a lot to learn. I just try to stay ahead and on top of things. I do think an Editor has a remarkable influence to shape ideas in a field and that influence should not be taken lightly.