After first spending a few days on holiday in Scotland (lots of ruined castles, cathedrals, and some expensive scotch—saw one aged 40 years and costing 13,000 pounds!), I recently attended the annual meeting of the International Academy of Nursing Editors (INANE, www.nursingeditors.org) in London. I know a few folks reading this may be thinking (and this is in my best British Monty Python voice), “Wot? A meeting of editors of nursing journals talking about writing and editing? I’d rather stick a pencil in my eye.”
But truly, this meeting tends to be one of the highlights of my year, with rich discussions, networking, and always something new to learn. Those who submit articles to journals headed by these editors should know that their work is reviewed carefully by people who strive to present accurate and clearly written, evidence-based content that will move our profession forward.
In keeping with the tradition of a location outside of North America every third year, this year’s location was picked to coincide with the 100 anniversary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which publishes several nursing specialty journals in addition to Nursing Standard. The RCN headquarters occupies a stately old building off Cavendish Square. It’s the former home of Lady Cowdray, who donated it to the RCN. And while the wide curving central staircase with murals of cherubs brings Downton Abbey to mind, the “Lego nurse” in the lobby near the main “lift” clearly belies that feeling.
Here are some highlights:
- The director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, Natasha McEnroe, started the meeting by leading a historical discussion examining the life of Florence Nightingale through images. From early photos of the young girl who went against family wishes and the mores of the time to pursue a useful life as a nurse to photos of her in her private rooms in her later years, the images portrayed Nightingale as a proper and demure, ladylike figure, though she more than proved her mettle in her overhaul of military health care and in so many other ways. Nightingale’s work in the Crimea to improve the care of wounded soldiers made her a celebrity in England, but she shunned most requests for interviews and photos sessions. She spent most of her final years secluded, in poor health (many think because of lingering effects of brucellosis) and, fortunately for succeeding generations, focusing on writing.
- Ben Goldacre, a British physician, academic, and author (of the books Bad Science and Bad Pharma) and a lively and provocative speaker, talked about the appalling lack of real transparency—“sham transparency,” he called it—in reporting research results. For example, although many journals have agreed not to publish results of clinical trials unless the trials are registered and all the data is publicly available, thus allowing for true representation of risks vs. benefits of the treatment under study, his investigations show that only 22% of trials are indeed fully registered but the studies are still being published. He also noted that few studies showing negative results get published. Goldacre urged editors to publicize the All Trials campaign he is leading to improve transparency. The INANE voted to sign on then and there.
I went to other sessions on writing policy, journals’ use of social media, and altmetrics (using readership and social media sharing as indicators of the impact of an article), and the meeting wound up with a live meeting of the Council on Publication Ethics.