One of the unique features of ANS is that it has maintained the “Issue Topic” focus for each issue. When we began publication in 1978, the publisher at the time (Aspen Publishers) wanted all of their journals to conform to a topical format. Since this was my first experience as a journal editor, and was primarily focused on getting the journal underway, I happily agreed! As an aside, the Aspen managing editor I worked with, Wally Hood, also designed the ANS cover, which has remained constant as well.
When Lippincott, Wolters & Kluwer assumed publication of the journal in 2002, they were open to making changes in the journal and we discussed several options. Our Senior Publisher, Sandy Kasko, agreed that the cover design should remain the same because of the distinctive identification it brought to the journal. We also agreed that the topical format should remain as a distinctive feature of the journal, and the Advisory Board members have remained committed to our topical format.
The primary reason remains this: our topics call forth scholarship that might otherwise be neglected in nursing’s literature. It encourages prospective authors to focus their efforts and prepare their work for possible publication. While excellent scholarship will usually find its way into print, but for work that challenges the status quo, or takes a path that is least traveled, getting into print can be a long and arduous journey. ANS was founded with a purpose of challenging what is taken for granted, and bringing to the discipline cutting-edge thought. Our issue topics have promoted the concept that this journal is open to addressing topics that may not be the most popular or prominent, but are vital areas that nursing can and should address.
The “down” side is that authors are required to submit manuscripts that can be viewed as a good fit with one of our issue topics. When there is not a good “fit” withe an author’s current work, the author must turn to another journal. Fortunately today, unlike the early days of the journal, there are a number of excellent nursing journals that are open to a wide range of scholarship.
Each year when the ANS Advisory Board meets, we spend time brain-storming the selection of future issue topics. This is always a lively and interesting discussion! It is also a sort of “crystal ball” experience of looking forward to plan topics that have appeal for the 18 or 24 months ahead.
Our journal web site shows a list of the planned future issue topics, along with brief descriptions of the kinds of manuscripts we are seeking. Each topic is interpreted broadly, so if you see a “fit” with what you are planning, even if it is not a typical conceptual connection, craft your manuscript in a way that shows the connection you see.
Most of all, we welcome your suggestions! We are always open to ideas and suggestions from readers as well! If you would like to see us plan a particular issue topic, let us know! You just might see it on the schedule coming up.