Q&A with Kerina Jones of the International Journal of Population Data Science

The International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS) is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles on all aspects of research, development and evaluation specifically connected with data about people and populations. IJPDS is the official publisher of the 2018 ADRF Network Research Conference.

We spoke with the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor Kerina Jones of Swansea University, to find out more about what the journal has to offer data science researchers.

The Farr Institute: What exactly is Population Data Science?

Kerina Jones: The concise answer is the science of data about people. Population Data Science (PDS) is an emerging field focused on gaining new insight into people and populations through linkage and analysis of multiple datasets. But more than this, it is also encompasses the actual development of the infrastructures that support such analyses, both technically and policy related, around the ethics, legal issues and public involvement. PDS is all about making use of available data to improve the lives of societies globally.

FI: Who are population data scientists?

KJ: This is a very good question because to answer the big questions that involve combining multiple datasets requires professionals from numerous disciplines coming together collaboratively from various disciplines such as computer and information sciences, social science, statistics, epidemiology, social welfare, public health, clinical medicine, pharmacy, ethics, law, information governance, geography, economics, and knowledge translation. The field of PDS exists through collaborative research, whether multi-disciplinary, across multiple sites and even across jurisdictions, so think of it as a ‘team sport if you will. PDS brings these diverse disciplines together in one place with a unified vision focusing on improving the lives of people worldwide. We need to tap in to the strengths out there in individual fields and combine them for greater results.

FI: Why was it important to create a journal dedicated to Population Data Science?

KJ: It was important to create the journal to address the unmet challenge of where best to publish the spectrum of work on-going in Population Data Science, so that it has a clear home. There was no single clear place for researchers to disseminate their work, so there was a need to establish this central channel of communication. A further identified need was in the difficulty to publish ‘non-standard’ articles, outside the scope of traditional research. IJPDS includes a greater range of article types, so that methodological and developmental work can be shared effectively. The creation of IJPDS was inspired by the International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN), an international community of over 600 professionals in this field of work.

FI: What is attracting authors to publish in IJPDS?

KJ: IJPDS distinguishes itself as being author-centric by putting authors and readers at the heart of everything we do. Through extensive research we established early on that the primary motivators for authors when selecting a journal to publish in are the scope of the journal, the profile of the audience, speed of publishing, and impact, and we strive to satisfy each of these points. IJPDS has an established and growing international audience and it is important that we publish articles from around the world in open access format to uphold the principles of sharing knowledge and to reach the widest audience possible. We have an excellent panel of international peer-reviewers that are committed to providing feedback on submissions quickly whilst maintaining our expected high standards and, although we are working tirelessly towards gaining Impact Factor for the journal, we go a step further for our authors by helping them to gain and track essential impact within the public domain to help satisfy funder requirements.

Being the first to publish in a new field gives authors the opportunity to get in early, lead the way by breaking new ground and make a name for themselves. This is a new area that warrants innovative approaches and creative thinking so it is an exciting field that gives authors the potential to really make their mark which is great for career progression.

Add to this an exceptional international editorial board of thought leaders in PDS and an exclusive partnership with the International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) and IJPDS is becoming an increasingly attractive channel to disseminate the latest research.

FI: How can authors get involved with IJPDS?

KJ: Population Data Science is relevant to many sectors including academia and research institutes, healthcare and hospitals, government, the private sector, life sciences and the third sector and we welcome submissions from all of these areas so that we present a rounded view of PDS. As an open access journal, our General Open Call for manuscripts runs continually for authors to submit at any time. We also run calls for Special Issues, the topics for which are selected by the editorial board collectively and reflect some of the most important issues that warrant separate attention. All of the information about our Special Issues can be found on the IJPDS website.

It is also worth pointing out that, unlike many other journals, IJPDS doesn’t restrict the types of manuscripts that can be submitted and we welcome a much wider variety of manuscript types. We appreciate that good quality work that contributes to the advancement of PDS can comes in many different formats and we positively embrace this.

FI: Can you offer a final thought?

KJ: There may be many professionals out there that were unaware of this emerging field of scientific research and that they are already, effectively, part of this fast growing global community. I would encourage those people to consider IJPDS the next time they wish to publish an article and become actively involved by contributing their knowledge and experience to advance Population Data Science.

All manuscripts should be submitted through the IJPDS website.

If you would like to become a peer reviewer for IJDPS please email contact@ijpds.org.

Follow IJPDS on Twitter @IJPDS.

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