Doing good research is highly challenging. There is a large variety of methods, designs and measures available in implementation science, from a widerange of disciplines. Choose the one(s) that suit your research best. And then you need to publish it. Finding a journal that publishes your implementation research is not straightforward and several choices need to be made. What are your options?

Articles on implementation research methods, designs & measures

  • Brown, C. H., Curran, G., Palinkas, L. A., Aarons, G. A., Wells, K. B., Jones, L., ... & Cruden, G. (2017). An overview of research and evaluation designs for dissemination and implementation. Annual review of public health38, 1-22.
  • Proctor, E., Silmere, H., Raghavan, R., Hovmand, P., Aarons, G., Bunger, A., ... & Hensley, M. (2011). Outcomes for implementation research: conceptual distinctions, measurement challenges, and research agenda. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research38(2), 65-76.
  • Peters, D. H., Adam, T., Alonge, O., Agyepong, I. A., & Tran, N. (2013). Implementation research: what it is and how to do it. Bmj347.
  • Curran, G. M., Bauer, M., Mittman, B., Pyne, J. M., & Stetler, C. (2012). Effectiveness-implementation hybrid designs: combining elements of clinical effectiveness and implementation research to enhance public health impact. Medical care50(3), 217.
  • Mazzucca, S., Tabak, R. G., Pilar, M., Ramsey, A. T., Baumann, A. A., Kryzer, E., ... & Brownson, R. C. (2018). Variation in research designs used to test the effectiveness of dissemination and implementation strategies: a review. Frontiers in public health6, 32.
  • Chaudoir, S. R., Dugan, A. G., & Barr, C. H. (2013). Measuring factors affecting implementation of health innovations: a systematic review of structural, organizational, provider, patient, and innovation level measures. Implementation science8(1), 1-20.

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Publishing implementation research

Doing good research is highly challenging. And then you need to publish it. Finding a journal that publishes your implementation research is not straightforward and several choices need to be made. What are your options?

First the scope. Each self-respecting journal has a mission statement and explanation of the type of papers they are looking for. And this might change over time. BMC Implementation Science for example, first applied a more specific definition of implementation research: methods that promote the uptake of interventions in routine practice [1]. Recently and as the field and recognition thereof has progressed, the journal adjusted the scope in more generic terms with more emphasis on empirical studies of implementation interventions[2]. And just as an example, studies examining fidelity of a clinical intervention in real world care settings, are not immediately regarded as an implementation issue, by this journal. Some known examples of journals that primarily aim at implementation research include: Implementation Science, Implementation Science communications, Implementation Research and Practice (SIRC), and the Implementation Science section of Frontiers in Health Services.

Alternatively, and as implementation research inherently is of an inter-disciplinary nature, field-specific journals often also welcome implementation related content. Occasionally, journals tend to publish thematic topics, which might be open to implementation related research. For example, Frontiers in Digital health / Psychiatry currently have a theme issue open for submissions. The point here is that in the end, the scope of journal can affect the way you frame your research to ensure the audience understands and appreciates the research and findings you want to discuss.

Another aspect you need to consider is related to processing speed and the access model. Some journals, like JMIR offer a fast-track, for other journals long review times are a given. Remember, reviewers are not compensated for their time.

And then you need to make sure your article gets to found. The journals’ impact factor can be an indicator of this, but it can also be worthwhile to check the journals’ indexing services it is associated with.

Mielke and colleagues conducted an expert consultation on ‘findability’ of implementation science content across various journals [3]. This might provide you a good starting point for selecting your target journal for your next implementation research paper. And last but not least. This website can help you find a journal that fits your topic.

  1. Eccles, M.P., et al., Implementation Science six years on--our evolving scope and common reasons for rejection without review. Implement Sci, 2012. 7: p. 71.
  2. Wensing, M., et al., Implementation Science and Implementation Science Communications: a refreshed description of the journals' scope and expectations. Implement Sci, 2021. 16(1): p. 103.
  3. Mielke, J., et al., Relevant Journals for Identifying Implementation Science Articles: Results of an International Implementation Science Expert Survey. Front Public Health, 2021. 9: p. 639192

Chapter overview

  1. Connect with implementation scientists
  2. Introduction to Implementation Science
  3. Implementation theories, models & frameworks
  4. Implementation research methods, designs, measures & publishing
  5. Implementation strategies
  6. Dissemination
  7. De-implementation
  8. Sustainability
  9. Participatory research & stakeholder engagement
  10. Implementation Science in NL