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The chameleon effect: adapting, advancing and aligning

Jordan, Zoe PhD

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International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare: June 2020 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 157-158
doi: 10.1097/XEB.0000000000000240
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The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) began self-publishing systematic reviews in 1998. In 2003, JBI moved to publishing scholarly output in the form of a journal, JBI Reports, which was first published by Blackwell Publishing Asia. The remit of the journal was to publish the scholarly output of the JBI Collaboration and it was intended that it would consist of 10 issues a year including systematic reviews, evaluation reports and other evidence-based research. This was accompanied by a ‘sister’ journal, Healthcare Reports, designed to focus on full systematic review reports and scholarly work related to the translation, transfer or utilization of evidence in healthcare. It was an opportunity for students and other reviewers to publish their evidence-based research comprehensively.

In 2005, the journal changed its name to the International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare. This change was instigated to more accurately reflect the content of the journal for potential readers who may not have discovered the plethora of clinically relevant evidence-based information available from JBI. Further to this, Prof Derek Frewin, first Editor in Chief of the new journal, wrote that the inaugural issue under the revised masthead represented ‘JBI's ongoing dedication to providing evidence-based health information in a climate of change and its recognition that a diverse and evolutionary process is required to consistently meet the needs of health professionals and consumers internationally’.1 Indeed this philosophy remains true of JBI today as it seeks to forge ahead making thoughtful decisions to adapt to the needs of stakeholders and create an evidence-based organization for the future. This chameleon like agility has served JBI well in taking forward strategic initiatives with courage; not being defined by the resources it creates but by the deeply held value it creates.

While many of the early issues consisted of just one systematic review, the journal evolved to include several ‘sections’ including regular editorials, systematic reviews, implementation projects, methodology articles and original research. In 2014, A/Prof Hanan Khalil took over as Editor in Chief of the journal and the publisher changed from Wiley Blackwell to Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins. The journal moved entirely online and there was a concentrated effort made to further advance the journal into what is now a more sophisticated publication, which achieved the significant milestone of an impact factor (of 1.158) in 2019, some 16 years after its initial launch.

In an almost prophetic inaugural editorial as the new Editor in Chief, titled ‘Moving forward towards implementation science’, A/Prof Khalil acknowledged the challenges of evidence implementation and the need for innovative approaches that address the complexity of systems of care. She stated, ‘To further our knowledge about adopting new approaches to EBHC (evidence-based healthcare), implementation science requires more research that focuses on translating research into practice interventions’.2

Indeed, some of the most popular articles published in the journal in recent years have had a focus on implementation. In 2015, Khalil once again highlighted the essential components of evidence implementation, with a particular focus on the cost associated with delivery of such projects and calling for more attention to ‘engaging employees, effective leadership and an effective organizational structure’.3 Again in 2016, Khalil examined the constructs of evidence translation versus evidence implementation and the common requirements for success (competency, leadership, organizational output and performance assessment).4 Equally, the multidisciplinary and international scope of an interest in the issue of implementation was demonstrated in a cross sectional study conducted with physiotherapists in Saudi Arabia. The study showed the existence of a prominent gap in terms of awareness, understanding and application of evidence.5

Only last year a short communication was published in the journal that emphasized the ongoing gap between interventions that research has shown to be effective and their translation into practice, stating ‘this has to be closed’.6 In addition, an article examining the JBI Clinical Fellowship Program as a gateway opportunity for evidence-based quality improvement and organizational change advocated for investment in nurses and the practicing professions as clinical leaders, innovators and drivers of healthcare quality.7

It is clear that there continues to be significant interest in implementation and improvement science and practice, warranting a more rigorous focus on the field. As the JBI and its broader international collaboration continue to evolve and mature it has been important to develop new strategies to ensure we continue to meet the needs of key stakeholders. Pragmatism and scholarly advancement were the two key drivers for the current change in title and scope for this journal. It was necessary to distinguish the content of JBI's two premier journals and to align the publications with JBI's core focus areas. More importantly, however, was the desire to progress our conceptual thinking around how to most effectively move evidence into policy and practice.

Making the decision to remove some content in pursuit of strengthening the focus on implementation has not been taken lightly and we acknowledge there is a potential risk of doing so with an established journal. However, we passionately believe in the critical importance of this area of investigation within the field of evidence-based healthcare. Dedicating this journal to concentrate on content that furthers the science of implementation and to publishing pragmatic examples of this work in practice perfectly complements the synthesis work that remains the focus of its sister journal JBI Evidence Synthesis. In line with Robbins8 thinking, it is our contention that there is considerable capacity that can be harnessed by focussing resources on mastering a single area. It is our hope that by aligning the scope and content of this journal with the vision, mission and programmes of JBI we can better serve those we seek to support and ultimately have a greater impact.


Conflicts of interest

The author reports no conflicts of interest.


1. Frewin D. Evidence-based healthcare. Int J Evid Based Healthc 2005; 3:1.
2. Khalil H. Moving forward towards implementation science. Int J Evid Based Healthc 2014; 12:63.
3. Khalil H. Implementing change in healthcare: evidence utilisation. Int J Evid Based Healthc 2015; 13:41–42.
4. Khalil H. Knowledge translation and implementation science: what is the difference? Int J Evid Based Healthc 2016; 14:39–40.
5. Alshehri MA, Alalawi A, Alhasan H, Stokes E. Physiotherapists’ behaviour, attitudes, awareness, knowledge and barriers in relation to evidence-based practice implementation in Saudi Arabia. Int J Evid Based Healthc 2017; 15:127–141.
6. Kent B. Implementing research findings into practice: frameworks and guidance. Int J Evid Based Healthc 2019; 17:S18–S21.
7. Lockwood C, Stannard D, Jordan Z, Porritt K. The Joanna Briggs Institute clinical fellowship program: a gateway opportunity for evidence-based quality improvement and organizational culture change. Int J Evid Based Healthc 2020; 18:1–4.
8. Robbins A. Awaken the giant within. New York: Free Press; 1991.
© 2020 University of Adelaide, Joanna Briggs Institute

A video commentary on implementation project titled: How do health professionals prioritise clinical areas for implementation of evidence into practice? The commentary is provided by Andrea Rochon RN, MNSc, Research Assistant, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada