This month, our Charity Spotlight article was written about the importance of research to developing an understanding about intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. I think the key message of that article, about why research is so vital, is one that resonates strongly with the aim of this journal as a whole.
The International Confederation of Midwives (2018) emphasises the importance of research in midwifery, and ‘believes that midwives have a role in, and responsibility for advancing midwifery knowledge within the profession’ because women deserve the highest quality evidence-based care when accessing midwifery services. The International Confederation of Midwives encourages midwives to contribute to the process of gathering, analysing and publishing data whenever possible, while respecting the rights of women and their babies. This is the big picture of the impact research can have, and I feel privileged to be involved in this process.
Open access refers to free, unrestricted access to research (Springer Nature, 2021), which the British Journal of Midwifery offers to all authors. In 2021, our open access research included an investigation into postpartum haemorrhage and synthetic oxytocin dilutions (Tolofari and Shepherd, 2021) and a study on how mothers make decisions about neonatal skincare (Phipps et al, 2021).
According to the European Commission (no date), the UK has the greatest proportion of open access publications globally. More than half (52.3%) of the UK's publications have open access, whether fully or as a hybrid with traditional publishing, as is offered in the British Journal of Midwifery.
Studies have shown that open access can have a significant impact on a study's reach and impact. Data from Springer Nature (2018) show that open access articles attract significantly more downloads and citations than those behind paywalls, allowing research to go further and be read by a wider audience than may be possible with traditional publishing.
We publish research on a huge variety of topics, and I hope all our readers enjoy the breadth and scope of subjects that feature each month in the British Journal of Midwifery. I certainly look forward to reading through the latest research and insights into current practice that are submitted to the journal, and I'd encourage anyone who can to publish open access.