By Gabriele Bammer
If you have developed a new dialogue method for bringing together insights from different disciplinary experts and stakeholders, or a refined modelling technique for taking uncertainty into account, or an innovative process for knowledge co-creation with government policy makers, where can you publish these to get maximum exposure and uptake?
Over the past several years, Peter Deane and I have been reviewing journals that publish concepts, methods and processes for:
• Synthesis of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge
• Understanding and managing diverse unknowns
• Providing integrated research support (combining what we know and don’t know) for policy and practice change.
These are the components of what is referred to in this post as research integration and implementation. We have compiled information about more than 50 journals and regularly make additions (these are publicized bi-monthly in I2S News). We provide a brief synopsis of the journal aims, the most recent Thomson Reuters impact factor, the link to the journal website, and information about relevant special issues.
[Author note December 2022: The compilation of 90+ journals has been relocated to the ITD-Alliance website: https://itd-alliance.org/journals/ and they are no longer publicized in i2S News.]
As I describe in detail below, a major lesson from our review is that each journal is read by only a small subsection of those who are interested in research integration and implementation concepts, methods and processes. This is largely because there is no agreed recognizable community covering everyone interested in research integration and implementation practices. Instead the community is highly fragmented. The consequence for you is that to reach everyone who may be interested in your insight means that you will need to do additional work to extend its reach.
To help you plan your publication and distribution strategy, I have divided journals into three categories: those that are problem-based, those centred around a community of practice, and those that are general-research-practice-based. The aim is to help you think about the audience you will reach with the journal you choose and how you might start to identify the additional audiences who may be interested in the concept, method or process you have developed.
These journals publish research integration and implementation concepts, methods and processes developed to address a specific problem, such as a conservation issue, the burden of disease, or a child welfare issue. Many of these journals have a broad reach in the area of application and correspondingly large impact factors. However your insight will not be accessible to researchers working on different kinds of problems, even though it may be very relevant to them.
Journals in this category include:
Ecology and Society
Global Environmental Change
Journal of Collaborative Healthcare and Translational Medicine
Public Health Research and Practice
COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE JOURNALS
These journals provide outlets for communities of like-minded researchers interested in particular aspects of research integration and implementation. Communities include those focused on action research, interdisciplinary research, systems thinking, and various types of modelling, such as operations research and system dynamics. Unlike the problem-based journals, community of practice journals tend to cover a wide range of problem types, across, for example, environment, population health, security, education and so on. However, compared to traditional disciplines and most problem-based areas, these communities of practice are small and by-and-large this is reflected in low journal impact factors. In addition there is little cross-fertilization among the communities, even though there are significant intersections in the concepts, methods and processes they use. They tend to reinvent them, rather than sharing them. Publishing here means your insights will most likely not reach those in other communities of practice or those who primarily identify as working on a particular problem.
Journals in this category include:
Action Learning: Research and Practice
European Journal of Operational Research
Evidence & Policy
Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal on Policy and Complex Systems
System Dynamics Review
Systemic Practice and Action Research
Systems Research and Behavioral Science
GENERAL RESEARCH PRACTICE JOURNALS
These journals tend to publish about a wide range of research practices, not just research integration and implementation concepts, methods and processes. They also tend to have an additional focus, such as innovation or critique of traditional science, and are highly variable in terms of impact factors. Among those reviewed, this is the smallest group of journals. At least some of them reach a different audience again, namely one that is interested in practice theory and critique, rather than the how-to of practice application. If your primary target is the latter audience, you may need to do considerable extra work to reach them.
Journals in this category include:
Journal of Research Practice [Author note December 2022: the final issue of this journal was published in 2018]
Science and Public Policy
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
This blog provides a forum for:
• Sharing publication strategies and experiences with different publication outlets
• Highlighting journals not currently in the list
• Discussing the fragmentation in the research integration and implementation community – do you see it the same way? – and strategies for overcoming it.
You are welcome to use this blog as one vehicle to promote your publications on research integration and implementation concepts, methods and processes. I particularly hope you will ‘post-and-engage’ and that the blog can facilitate cross-talk to overcome the fragmentation.
And, who knows, in time this blog may provide the foundation for a ‘go-to’ journal, read and contributed to by everyone interested in concepts, methods and processes for knowledge synthesis, understanding and managing diverse unknowns, and providing integrated research support for policy and practice change.
Biography: Gabriele Bammer PhD is a professor at The Australian National University in the Research School of Population Health’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. She is developing the new discipline of Integration and Implementation Sciences (I2S) to improve research strengths for tackling complex real-world problems through synthesis of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge, understanding and managing diverse unknowns and providing integrated research support for policy and practice change. She leads the theme “Building Resources for Complex, Action-Oriented Team Science” at the US National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center.