CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Records Management Journal, Volume 25, Issue 2
As we continue to celebrate the Records Management Journal (RMJ)’s 25th silver anniversary volume with the second issue, it is my pleasure to announce some significant news about changes to the journal’s Editorial Board. Beginning with the next volume, number 26 in 2016, Dr Fiorella Foscarini and Dr Elizabeth Lomas, both currently members of the journal’s Editorial Advisory Board, will be its new Co-Editors. After 20 years editing the RMJ, first with my colleague Catherine Hare and latterly as sole Editor, I am stepping down from that role and becoming the journal’s Consulting Editor. In that role, I will support Fiorella and Elizabeth and focus on the strategic development of the journal. The three of us have already discussed ideas, resulting in plans to have more themed issues on topics which we believe are particularly critical for our profession, be that because they are cutting-edge or fundamental. This represents a stronger steer with a better balance between a reactive and proactive publishing strategy.
I am personally delighted that Fiorella and Elizabeth have accepted the invitation to take on the Editorial role of the RMJ. Together, they bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in our discipline not only from their current academic posts but their extensive careers as practitioners. In that way, they will continue to maintain the link between theory and practice that I believe is so important for records management, and ensure that the journal remains as relevant and valuable to readers in academia as it does practitioners. They have complementary experience, covering the public and private sectors, and extensive networks which I hope will open up new avenues, attract new contributors and new readers.
In the past 20 years, the RMJ has developed from the only UK published academic journal in the field to become a, arguably the, leading international journal in the field. The past decade has seen an almost fivefold increase in usage spanning six continents, with East Asia, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa being the top three regions to download articles in the past five years. Over 700 organisations or institutions, in more than 70 countries, access the journal through individual and collection subscriptions combined, including over 100 in Mexico and almost 150 in China. Submissions have been received from authors in 30 countries in five continents. Guest edited special issues have attracted a significant number of international submissions from authors who have not previously published in the journal, for example, the recent ones on big data/open data (2014) and digital diplomatics (2015), and previous special issues such as the 20th anniversary ones continue to attract large numbers of downloads.
These data evidence the RMJ’s international standing, its reach and significance in terms of dissemination and access to quality research, practice and opinion. The standing is the result of Editorial Board members continuing to strive to raise the quality of the content selected for publication, innovative initiatives such as special issues on Big Data and Open Data, and not least the tremendous work of the journal’s publisher – Emerald. As an Editor, I have witnessed a change in publisher– from Aslib to Emerald – and significant developments in the publishing processes. These have included:
a fully online submission system;
new web platforms with more functionality for search and access;
a wider variety of ways to access the journal – from individual subscriptions to pay-per-view, third-party databases and philanthropic deals; and
the digitisation of articles from back issues (1989-1997) enabling subscribers to gain access to all volumes of the RMJ in digital form, from any location.
I am sure Emerald will continue these developments, and I am very excited that Fiorella and Elizabeth will be able to work with the publishing team to make the most of them for the benefit of the journal, its contributors and readers worldwide. I wish them both the very best in their new roles and look forward to working with them to continue to enhance the RMJ’s global reputation.
Turning to this issue now, the content is remarkably different than recent statistics for the RMJ show. Since the RMJ went live on the online system in 2011 to last year, approximately 40 per cent of the submissions came from the UK. In this issue, all of the submissions are from outside the UK, all of the authors are affiliated with a university and all of the articles are based on research.
Anne-Sofie Klared, Mid-Sweden University, explores the concept of the “middle archive”, a term being used in Sweden in the context of e-government and the development of a national digital archive service for public agencies and the outcomes of the eARD electronic archives research project which she notes “is likely to affect future archives procedures in Sweden”. Klared considers both the practical and theoretical implications of this concept based on an analysis of selected discourse and concludes that the concept has limitations in the Swedish context and highlights other requirements that should be considered in the context of implementing a “middle archive” solution in the country.
Sara Packalén, University of Tampere in Finland, considers a very familiar topic – functional classification – but takes a different perspective and within a specific and original context, viz., Finnish public sector organisations. Through a series of interviews with staff in four organisations, she examines the challenges of using functional classification in practice. The results reveal a number of common and also different issues across the organisations, some conceptual others relating to deployment, and a variety of approaches to handling them.
Catherine Asamoah, University of Ghana, examines the management of public sector records in Ghana. She describes records management in Ghana as having been “chaotic” prior to public sector reforms in the 1990s which she quotes Akussah (2003) as saying were one of the best things to have happened in the country towards the end of the century. Her survey describes the roles and actions of various departments and various records collections.
Johanna Gunnlaugsdottir, University of Iceland, reports the findings of research into public opinion about government provision of information on matters of public interest (e.g. the environment, welfare, health and education) in Iceland. They are based on a survey of over 1,000 people across Iceland, aged 18 years and over. She explores differences of opinion according to the type of public authority holding the information and by the participant demographics. She offers some interesting findings on views about the provision, or otherwise, of information relating to public expenditure in particular. This is a revealing study in the context of trust in and transparency of government.
All of the contributions have a particular sector and geographical context; however, they offer valuable insights which might be transferrable to other contexts and/or form the basis of a comparison.
I would like to thank all of the contributors and hope that you will enjoy the findings from their research.