Announcement: Major Changes at the Journal

Archives > Volume 21 (2024) > Issue 1 > Item 01

DOI: 10.55521/10-021-101

Stephen M. Marson, Ph.D., ACSW, Editor

International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics • Volume 21(1), Copyright 2024 by IFSW

This text may be freely shared among individuals, but it may not be republished in any medium without express written consent from the authors and advance notification of IFSW.

Volume 21, 2024 will be my last year as editor of the International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics. As founder and editor since 2002, it is time for me to step aside and pass on the responsibilities to another person who could inject fresh ideas into the mission of our journal.

Effective for volume 21, Bob McKinney will be replacing Donna DeAngelis as Associate Editor where he will learn the technological requirements of being the editor for volume 22. Donna reluctantly agreed to replace Jerry Finn to become the associate editor for the publication of volume 8 in 2011 [see: Editorial: “You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Finn.”]. When I explained to her that her primary duty was to control me, she said, “Well, I’ve been doing that for over a decade.” She happily agreed to be the Associate Editor and was just as happy that I take her place!

Bob McKinney, Ph.D., LICSW-S, C-IAYT is a licensed, clinical social worker and registered yoga therapist at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. He earned the PHD and MSW from the University of Alabama School of Social Work and the BA in philosophy from Mississippi State University. He is an associate professor of behavioral medicine in the College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and is an adjunct assistant professor of social work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine Department of Medical Education. At CCHS, Dr. Bob teaches family medicine residents, medical students, social work students, and learners from myriad other disciplines about the social determinants of health (SDOH).

Because this is my last volume, it seems like a natural opportunity to address questions that are frequently asked of me regarding the International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics. Each time I get these questions, I go through the time-consuming process of researching the answers, but unthinkingly fail to save the information.

The first question is, what special issues have been published? The following is a historical table:

Table 1: Special Editions

The second most commonly asked question revolves around dates. Jerry Finn and I began to introduce the concept of an ethics journal to publishers in 2000. Frankly, making presentations to huge international publishing conglomerates was a bad idea. Linda Grobman’s White Hat Publishers expressed immediate interest.  Starting in 2000, Jerry Finn and I organized to produce our first issue, which was published in the fall of 2004. White Hat was our publisher from 2004 to 2012. Linda Grobman is White Hat Publications. Looking back, the volume of work that Linda produced is astonishing. She was the publisher and copy editor. She also took on the responsibilities for five special issues. Linda’s work was nothing less than a herculean task. The work she accomplished was the functional equivalent of simultaneously writing two dissertations. The positive reputation that the journal received emerged from Linda’s work ethic.

Based upon data from other highly specialized social work journals, we anticipated that we would generate 300 subscribers during our first year. After our first 12 months, we had over 1,000 subscribers. Soon we had 6,000. Why was there such interest within the social work community?  At that time, eight of the nine curricular competencies defined by the Council on Social Work Education were the topics of a multitude of journals – but not values and ethics. Our journal filled that void. Within two years of our first issue, two additional social work values and ethics journals were established.

Maintaining our mailing list is cumbersome. By 2012, our journal became so popular that the workload was beyond the capacity of White Hat Publishers. As executive director of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), Donna DeAngelis recognized the linkage between social work licensure and the field of social work ethics. ASWB and an ethics journal seemed to be a good fit for Donna. ASWB became our publisher in 2012. Although ASWB operates a publishing arm within their organization, in the traditional sense they are not a publisher. Publishing scheduled newsletters for a professional organization is considerably different than the work of publishing a scholarly/practice journal. By volume 18, ASWB could no longer manage the task.

Beginning with volume 19 issue 1, the ownership of the journal was transferred to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).  With our new ownership, the board voted to change the name of the journal from the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics to the International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics. When the journal became an IFSW product, all IFSW members became subscribers. The number of readers skyrocketed. Pascal Rudin became our liaison and publisher. Pascal secured our new International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and also secured our Digital Object Identifier (DOI). The journal had never previously been assigned a DOI.  The DOI will make searching less cumbersome for readers.

The journal has changed dramatically since its conception. The early 2000s were a different world. In those days, some social work scholars and practitioners questioned the legitimacy of a paperless journal. It was not uncommon for me to receive harsh criticism based on the assumption that an online journal would diminish the quality of scholarship and research. A large cohort of social workers had trouble believing that an online journal could make the same contribution as paper journals. I actually lost friends because I was accused of degrading the profession of social work.

During the first three years of publication, I was frequently asked if the journal had a double-blind manuscript review process. Despite having reported that our review process was double-blind, authors needed reassurance. Practitioners and scholars doubted that an online journal could achieve the same quality assurance standards as a paper journal. Social Service Abstracts was one of the first library databases to include the journal. Even after a face-to-face meeting with their representative in which I explained that our review process was double-blind, they weren’t convinced. They chose to classify the journal as not double-blind. After multiple attempts to address this issue, I am happy to report that this has been resolved.

The International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics has four boards: Copy Editing, Policy, Manuscript Review, and Book Review. The scholars who volunteer their time to these boards are dedicated to the journal and the advancement of our knowledge in the arena of social work values and ethics. I leave the journal in good hands!