Writing for a peer review journal

For many nurses and midwives writing for an academic journal may be daunting. With the relaunch of the ANMF’s Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, we want to inspire and support nurses and midwives to be more engaged in writing, reviewing, and using research evidence.

To kick off 2020, the World Health Organization-designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the ANMF has relaunched the new-look, peer-reviewed academic journal; the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing (AJAN). I am honored to step into the role of Editor-in-Chief and look forward to working with the journal’s Editorial Board and team to make AJAN something ANMF members and the wider nursing and midwifery community can use and respect as a source of high quality and engaging evidence to support improved practice, research, and policy.

There are three groups vital to the existence and success of an academic journal; readers, reviewers, and authors. In running AJAN we will be sure to support engagement from each, and hopefully, inspire you as individuals to be actively involved with the journal in all three capacities.

In this column we are focusing on writing for AJAN. The first thing to consider when writing for a journal is understanding the publication’s mission and scope; what topics and material does the journal focus on? What types of papers are acceptable? With AJAN we remain broad and inclusive in our scope whilst offering a journal that is also aligned to, and supportive of, the goals and mission of the ANMF. Importantly, in line with the multidisciplinary nature of nursing and midwifery, and the wider context of healthcare, AJAN welcomes submissions addressing issues and topics facing midwifery, carers, and other professions beyond nursing and midwifery.

In terms of ‘what sort of papers’, we are again seeking to be inclusive. Any original primary and secondary research is welcomed, along with review articles, practice guidelines, and commentaries. We will also consider reports on evaluations, quality improvement and implementation projects and are also hoping to publish personal narratives or reflections that convey the art and spirit of nursing and midwifery. In any case, we will be focusing on quality and clarity of expression, and where relevant, alignment to appropriate standards for the conduct and reporting of research or reviews. We encourage submissions on topics that span clinical, professional, policy, economic, social, ethical, managerial, methodological, and political issues and welcome ideas that involve and impact upon nursing and midwifery practice, health- maternity- and aged- care delivery. Further, if you have an idea for a paper but are not sure if it is within scope, please don’t hesitate to write to the journal, explain your idea and why you think it might be of interest. We are happy to offer guidance where we can.

Once you are confident that you have an idea for a paper, or a manuscript ready for submission, it’s tempting to simply say “follow the author guidelines”. In a way, it is almost that simple; not following a journal’s instructions for authors seems to be the most frequent thing an editor will quote when discussing the reasons why a paper may be rejected. By familiarising yourself with what AJAN requires in terms of your submission (eg. headings, layout, formatting, and referencing style) one common hurdle to publication is easily jumped.

To further support authors and reviewers in getting involved, the team at AJAN will be working hard over the next few months to develop a suite of submission and editorial resources. We aim to provide clear templates for laying out a paper for submission, comprehensive referencing style guides, and tools for assessing the quality of reporting in different kinds of papers.

Our main hope is that you will become a regular reader of AJAN. We would also like you to come with us on this journey to build AJAN as an authority. We invite you to think about the work you are involved with and how your knowledge and perspective might be something that is valuable to communicate to and beyond the ANMF’s growing membership. As Professor Emerita Jill White AM suggested in her guest editorial for our first issue of the year; 2020 will be a time for celebration and a time for the spotlight to be on the professions of nursing and midwifery – let’s show the world what nursing and midwifery offers, the evidence base for our claims, and the priorities we have for health, aged, maternity, disability, and social care.

Dr Micah D J Peters, is ANMF Federal Office National Policy Research Adviser and Editor-in-Chief of AJAN
Casey Marnie, is ANMF Federal Office Research Assistant

Both are based in the Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia.

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