Tag: writing for publication

Mental health policy for nurses

Congratulations to RCN Mental Health Advisor Ian Hulatt for editing this new book, Mental health policy for nurses. This hits the shelves any day now, and I want to give it a plug via this post. Here is what the publisher is saying:

Policy determines much of what nurses actually do on a daily basis, which means it is essential for nurses to engage with policy if they are to understand their own practice. Mental health nursing in particular has been shaped by a variety of policy factors in the past fifty years. In this new textbook, edited by the mental health advisor to the Royal College of Nursing, a range of experts in their field introduce the essential elements of mental health policy to students and experienced practitioners. The book covers a broad range of areas, including settings for care and the historical context, policy affecting various diagnoses and service user groups, and how policy is translated into action. Clinical examples are drawn on throughout, to help students think about the real-life context of what can be a difficult subject.

It will be essential reading for pre-registration mental health nursing students, and valuable to those working in practice who want to gain an understanding of policy.

There are some nice-looking chapters here, as the contents list suggests:

The History of Mental Health Policy in the United Kingdom Peter Nolan
The European Context Neil Brimblecombe
Community Services Ben Hannigan
Psychosis Norman Young
Older People Elizabeth Collier and Catherine McQuarrie
Dementia Trevor Adams
Personality Disorder Karen M. Wright
Service User Involvement Mick McKeown and Fiona Jones
Equalities in Mental Health Nursing Ann Jackson
Child Mental Health Policy in the UK Tim McDougall
Dual Diagnosis Cheryl Kipping
Policy into Action? Cris Allen

I was pleased to have a chance to contribute, writing a chapter addressing past and present policy for mental health care in the community. I started with an account of historical developments, and worked my way towards an analysis of recent policy including changing roles for nurses and the impact of austerity.


More unwanted invitations

In a post I wrote in May I complained about academic spam, and particularly the endless receipt in my email inbox of unwanted invitations to write papers for unknown journals specialising in areas I know absolutely nothing about. Emails of this type keep on coming, and I thought I’d share one directly with readers who may be interested. Remember, the additional sting in the tail is that if I ever do take one of these offers up I’ll probably then be asked to pay an author processing charge.

Today, the OMICS publishing group sent me this:

Dear Dr.Ben Hannigan,

Greetings from OMICS!
We are really happy to connect with an expert like you in the field of Journal of Civil and Legal Sciences which is a very important area of publication in our Journal of Civil and Legal Sciences.
We believe your potential in submitting a manuscript towards our journal and please let us know your response regarding this.
In the context of your busy timings or other professional commitments if you cannot agree to this, we expect you to suggest any other expert like you for this.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Nice to know that civil and legal sciences are an important area for OMICS to publish in their Journal of Civil and Legal Sciences. Who’d have thought it? I’ve actually hidden my personal expertise in this area very well, pretending instead to be an academic mental health nurse who knows something about systems, services, work and roles.

OMICS, you won’t be hearing from me.

Care work and health system complexity

Two interesting collections of papers have caught my eye in the last week or so. Davina Allen has edited an online volume of articles, all previously published in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness, addressing the sociology of care work. In her editorial Davina sets the scene with reference to the Francis Inquiries and concludes with this:

[…] in the wake of Francis the predominant response to raising the quality of care and compassion has been to focus on the attributes of individuals and wider regulatory arrangements. As we have seen, however, the kind of care that can be provided depends fundamentally on the social organisation of care work, which in turn hinges on what we (society) are prepared to pay for. Francis has called for national fundamental care standards, but this requires more careful attention to the models of care-giving practice that will sustain them, including care-giver roles, the inter-relationship of care work components and features of the organisational context. The papers in this collection reveal there are no easy answers to these questions, but the insights they yield make an important contribution to these debates. In bringing the papers together in this virtual special issue the aim is to both raise the profile of the individual contributions, but also their collective value to this critical issue of public and policy concern.

Meanwhile, Tim Tenbensel, Stephen Birch and Sarah Curtis have edited a special issue of Social Science & Medicine devoted to the study of complexity in health and health care systems. I have a personal interest here, as it is in this collection of new papers that my article Connections and consequences in complex systems: insights from a case study of the emergence and local impact of crisis resolution and home treatment services appears. Describing himself as ‘a sympathetic outsider to complexity theory’, Tim Tenbensel in his editorial closes with this:

[…] perhaps the most important conceptual issue for complexity theory seems to be the place of ‘top-down’ interventions in complex systems. Are they part of the landscape of complexity, or are they things that ‘impede’ the unfolding of self-organising, emergent phenomena? More sophisticated applications of complexity suggest the former answer, yet the will to control through linear, rational, prescriptive mechanisms remains an ever-present shadow – something that should be minimised – because it this a defining trope of complexity theory applied to the social sciences. This theoretical challenge is perhaps most pressing in contexts in which health services are directly funded from public sources.

My apologies to the doctoral students whose ‘complex systems’ module I taught a few weeks ago, who may erroneously have thought that I knew what I was talking about, but like Tim Tenbensel I regard myself as being a relative newcomer to this whole complexity approach. So I for one am looking forward to reading the other papers in this new collection, and to learning plenty that is new.

Critical junctures (reprise)

This morning Nicola Evans’ and my paper on Critical junctures has appeared in advance online publication form on the Social Theory & Health website. This is very pleasing, though as I noted in my original post the terms of Palgrave’s copyright agreement mean that we have to wait for a period of 18 months from now before depositing a green open access version of the full text to accompany the article’s ORCA entry.

In the meantime, here again is the article’s abstract, which I hope at least whets readers’ appetites:

This article makes an original contribution through the revitalisation, refinement and exemplification of the idea of the ‘critical juncture’. In the health and illness context, a critical juncture is a temporally bounded sequence of events and interactions which alters, significantly and in a lasting way, both the experience of the person most directly affected and the caring work which is done. It is a punctuating moment initiating or embedded within a longer trajectory and is characterised by uncertainty. As contingencies come to the fore, individual actions have a higher-than-usual chance of affecting future, enduring, arrangements. These ideas we illustrate with detailed qualitative data relating to one individual’s journey through an interconnected system of mental health care. We then draw on observations made in a second study, concerned with the improvement of mental health services, to show how micro-level critical junctures can be purposefully used to introduce instability at the meso-level in the pursuit of larger organisational change. In addition to demonstrating why scholars and practitioners should pay closer attention to understanding and responding to critical junctures we are, therefore, also able to demonstrate how their emergence and impact can be examined vertically, as well as horizontally.

Unwanted invitations

A brief, early morning, rant. I’m all for open access, but this morning – and most certainly not for the first time – I received an unsolicited and entirely unwanted email inviting me to submit a paper to an open access journal. The editor asked me to write in an area I know nothing about, and informed me that if my manuscript is accepted for publication I shall have to pay an author processing charge (APC). I did the only thing possible in the circumstances, which was to delete the email.

I don’t mind a bit of academic spam, but I despair at the poor targeting and am a little affronted at the invitation being so baldly attached to a fee. I still don’t get why APCs are (often, but admittedly not always) as high as they are. Had I bitten at this morning’s ‘opportunity’, having done all the hard graft I would have needed to part with around £950 (so my online currency converter tells me). Where’s that going, then? Not to the peer reviewers, who like authors are not paid directly for their efforts.

Critical junctures

How pleasing it is to report that the paper I blogged about in this earlier post has now been accepted for publication. Co-written with Nicola Evans this (re)introduces the idea of ‘critical junctures’ and will appear in Social Theory & Health. We draw on two project datasets and show how action at pivotal moments can set individual service user trajectories on directions which are hard to reverse. We also show how, in certain circumstances, small-scale critical junctures can trigger (or be used to lever) larger organisational change.

Next up will be the checking of page proofs, and advance online publication via the journal’s website. What we won’t be able to do for another 18 months is upload a PDF of the post-peer review manuscript to ORCA. This is something Palgrave’s copyright rules are very clear about. In the meantime here’s the abstract which will, of course, be freely available:

Hannigan B. and Evans N. (in press) Critical junctures in health and social care: service user experiences, work and system connections. Social Theory & Health

This article makes an original contribution through the revitalisation, refinement and exemplification of the idea of the ‘critical juncture’. In the health and illness context, a critical juncture is a temporally bounded sequence of events and interactions which alters, significantly and in a lasting way, both the experience of the person most directly affected and the caring work which is done. It is a punctuating moment initiating or embedded within a longer trajectory and is characterised by uncertainty. As contingencies come to the fore, individual actions have a higher-than-usual chance of affecting future, enduring, arrangements. These ideas we illustrate with detailed qualitative data relating to one individual’s journey through an interconnected system of mental health care. We then draw on observations made in a second study, concerned with the improvement of mental health services, to show how micro-level critical junctures can be purposefully used to introduce instability at the meso-level in the pursuit of larger organisational change. In addition to demonstrating why scholars and practitioners should pay closer attention to understanding and responding to critical junctures we are, therefore, also able to demonstrate how their emergence and impact can be examined vertically, as well as horizontally.

Some brief thoughts on academic writing

Amongst the general array of things occupying this last working week has been some academic writing. On this occasion my hand has been forced somewhat by news of a previously submitted paper having been rejected by a journal editor, an event noted earlier on this blog here. So I’ve been putting in some early starts to pick up the threads with an eye on a submission elsewhere.

It interests me how people go about the business of crafting papers for publication. I enjoy playing with words, and am forever toying with sentences in the hope of producing an improvement. I also find it impossible to leave an error in spelling or grammar uncorrected. This means I do plenty of editing as I go along, which I know is not the way that everyone writes. But I really, honestly, cannot abide a page of text full of red underlines. Once I have a good draft I always seek the views of one or more valued colleagues, and listen carefully to what they have to say. To borrow a phrase Howard S. Becker uses in Writing for Social Scientists, I then like nothing more than to ‘get it out the door’. Papers have to be drafted, honed and tweaked but also published. That means letting them go, and submitting to the rigours of peer review.

There are plenty of places to read about people’s experiences of writing for publication, and spaces where ideas can be shared. #Acwri is the hashtag used by contributors to the Twitter academic writing discussion group hosted by Jeremy Segrott and Anna Tarrant. Pat Thompson has a good academic writing blog here. A book I particularly appreciated when I first started out is Philip Burnard’s Writing for Health Professionals.

Two out of three (revisited)

A brief note, further to yesterday’s post on the business of submitting papers for peer review and possible publication. Aled Jones (tweeting as @AledJonze) alerts me to this post on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog. In it Vincent Calcagno, an evolutionary biologist, writes that the ‘[p]re-publication history of articles tells us that rejection leads to higher citations’. Interesting.

Two out of three…

…ain’t bad. After a fairly intensive burst of writing over the last few months I received, on Saturday, an editor’s ‘no thanks’ email following completion of the peer review of a paper I offered for publication at the end of 2012.

Of three manuscripts under review at the turn of the year one is now available as early online and in green open access form. This is the article (written with Michael Coffey) on nurses as approved mental health professionals, which I blogged about here.

A second, which I mentioned here, has been revised and resubmitted. Fingers and toes remain crossed for a positive final outcome.

The last is now back with me for a rethink following receipt of this weekend’s editorial decision email. The anonymous reviewers and the editor, I have to say, gave this third manuscript a proper run-through. In turn I’ve thanked them for their efforts, disappointing though the outcome is. As it happens, one reviewer liked what s/he read, and a second definitely did not. The editor went with the second, and gave a reasoned account why the paper should not proceed. Thank goodness for that academic rhino hide I’ve developed. Emails rejecting papers sting, but it passes. So right now I’ll take what I’ve got and put some time into refashioning this paper for another outlet. More to follow in due course.

Writing for publication

Some promising news today from the assistant editor of a journal a colleague and I sent a jointly authored paper to last year. It’s taken a while for them to be sent, but we’ve now received peer review comments. They’re detailed and considered, and we’ve got work to do, but I’m optimistic the reviewers like our paper enough for it to make the cut (at some futue point) and get into print.

It would be tempting fate to say more at this juncture (like giving the identity of my esteemed collaborator, the name of the journal or what the paper is about), so I’ll resist. Suffice to say that the receipt of an editor’s email with an update on a submitted manuscript is always a moment of excitement and anxiety, in equal measure. It’s a big deal getting something into press in this job, and invitations to revise and resubmit (or even better, correspondence indicating that a journal will accept something ‘as is’) are always welcome.

Of course, editors also say ‘no thanks’, and I can confirm that I’ve had my share of being on the receiving end of emails of this type. At this point thick-skinned tenacity is key. I’ll perhaps sulk a little and protest to loved ones, friends and colleagues, but then I have to get on with it and do what’s necessary before offering my article to a new journal. I once had to submit versions of a paper to something like five journals, one after another, before one was willing to accept it. It was either ‘too social science-y’, or not ‘social science-y’ enough, depending on where I sent it.