I sat nursing a small glass of wine (homemade blackberry) last night pondering life the universe and everything, and trying to avoid the dubious delights of Saturday night TV. Sadly, it being a Saturday, the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics popped into my head. We have a meeting of our editorial board next week and one of the things on the agenda will be a discussion of the scope of the journal. This set me thinking about the journal title and how it might be perceived externally.
The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics is almost certainly regarded by the majority of people as a DIETETIC journal. After all the clue is in the title and it is the official journal of the British Dietetic Association. We have a lot of dietitians on the editorial board. There are a few issues that run counter to this view though. I, for one, am not a dietitian. Secondly the vast majority of what we publish does not fit well with the label of dietetic research. A that phrase encapsulates problem 3, which is perhaps best left as a subject for another day. Dietetics as a discipline is still rather youthful and with the profession under strain just to maintain clinical standards in many areas, the cadre of dietitians with the capacity and skills to generate the required evidence-base is, as yet, rather small.
So what do we really publish? JHND issues are focused around four general thematic areas, each of which has a specialist Associate Editor. CLINICAL NUTRITION is one such area and this broad theme is able to capture any work which reports clinical intervention to treat nutrition-related disease. This does not need to be dietetic intervention and clearly would encapsulate wider areas of health-related work, for example bariatric surgery. The only area which is specifically dietetic-specific is DIETETIC PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE and this, interestingly, is the theme which attracts the fewest submissions. PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION AND EPIDEMIOLOGY makes up the core of the JHND oeuvre and here we are interested in any articles which provide greater understanding of the aetiology of nutrition-related disease, of the risk factors for disease and which describe interventions to prevent disease. The fourth theme for the journal is NUTRITIONAL SCIENCE and this is the theme that I would most like to see develop. This is a broad church to which I would assign any experimental studies (in humans) which increase understanding of the mechanistic basis of disease. Studies of eating behaviour, the psychology of food choice, methods for dietary assessment, nutritional biomarkers, nutrigenomics and metabolomics would all fall into this theme.
Take these areas as our core- we invite high quality submissions across this spectrum of activity. If you are unsure of whether your work fits the scope of the journal, please get in touch and I will give you a steer on suitability.
Go on- get writing!