2017 - A new year's message from the Editors-in-Chief
A year ago the journal entered a new phase with a new name and a new publishing group. We did this convinced that this new phase would signify the dawn of a new era for the journal, with relevant articles for readers, improved services for our authors, and a greater visibility and international reach for the journal. We can say that the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE) is now a benchmark for the academic dissemination of content in the sphere of technology applied to higher education. Today, ETHE is a journal that generates trust among authors within its sphere of knowledge; with a publication of the highest quality, thanks to the professionalism offered by the Springer Nature group; published in open source in SpringerOpen; and with a high degree of visibility and international reach, demonstrated by the fact that it receives articles from all five continents.
The transformation and progression of the journal is even greater thanks to the collaborative alliance between two universities, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). These institutions, committed to open access in science, allow the journal to be published without editing charges for the authors, while guaranteeing the quality and academic rigor of the publication. We are able to count on the participation of the Editorial Board of the journal, with 36 members in 17 countries, in addition to the 95 reviewers, from 26 countries, who were active during 2016. Their professionalism and the international nature of the team of collaborators guarantees rigor and quality in the process of reviewing the articles received.
We begin the new year with the intention to continue improving the quality and positioning of the journal. To achieve this, we will offer articles of the highest quality and maximum interest for the academic and scientific community in our sphere of knowledge. In 2017 we will also publish the articles of the two Thematic Series launched last year: Learning design for in situ continuous professional development, and Games and simulation in higher education.
As editors we believe that it is important to offer review and research articles on subjects that generate interest and foster debate among the academic community. For this reason, we are committed to the publication of thematic series edited by leading experts in a specific subject, whose articles reach us via the calls for papers we publish on a continuous basis. For 2017 we have selected three subjects: blended learning, the future of the university and blended research models. The first call for papers has already been published and the next two will be published during the first quarter of 2017. Looking to the longer term, we are open to receiving suggestions on subjects to highlight in 2018 and subsequent years. Please send us your suggestions.
Without a doubt, blended learning has, in recent years, grown to become a valid option among higher-education professionals. Different models and different methods of implementation have been experimented with, and countless research projects have been carried out on its potential, its effect and its impact on learning. We hope to receive articles which reveal the most significant international research findings to date. To achieve this, we have an excellent team of editors who are leading authorities in research in the sphere of blended learning: Charles Graham (Brigham Young University, USA), Norman Vaughan (Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada), Charles Dziuban (University of Central Florida, USA), Vítor Duarte (Universidad Nova de Lisboa, Portugal) and Daniel Light (Education Development Center, New York, USA).
The debate on the recent changes being experienced by universities is crucial, both on an academic and a social level. New models of university and new systems of higher education are appearing, many of them with a specific education model that has been devised and improved with the use of technology. It is extremely important to analyse and research this change which is taking place. Alan Tait, Professor of Distance Education and Development (em.) The Open University (UK) and Martha Burkle, Director of the Centre for Learning and Innovation, Assiniboine Community College, Canada, both members of The University of the Future Network, will lead this series.
The methodology is a key element of any research project. This is the main reason we have proposed a dossier that brings together leading articles on the potential of blended methodology in our spheres of knowledge. This is why we will issue a call for papers in early 2017, which we hope will improve our understanding of new blended research methodology models and their value and impact in our sphere of knowledge.
We will continue our work in disseminating content via social media. We are aware that, today, a major part of the impact of scientific dissemination is measured via social media. ETHE is increasing its presence on Twitter (@ethejournal), Facebook and Google+. We are also present on the main networks of bibliographic databases: Mendeley, ResearchGate and Academia.edu. We are aware that all of this contributes to improving the dissemination of the research projects we publish, and we are grateful to the authors who use them and publish their articles on these networks.
As our followers and authors are well aware, this is the first year that the journal has been published exclusively in English. For the previous 12 years it was published first in Spanish, and then from 2009 in Spanish and in English. We are aware of the importance of Spanish language, particularly among the Latin American academic community. For this reason we are working on a portal, the result of collaboration between the two publishing universities of the journal, which will allow access to ETHE content in Spanish.
We begin the new year with enthusiasm and the responsibility to continue constructing a benchmark publication. With the support of our readers, followers and authors, we will continue to move forward and, with the effort, rigour and dedication of our reviewers and the supervision of the Editorial Board, we know that we will meet the challenges facing us.
Josep M. Duart, University Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Álvaro Galvis, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Rosalind James, University of New England, Australia
5 January 2017