Nathan L. Vanderford, Editor-in-Chief, University of Kentucky
The Journal of Research Administration (JRA) is celebrating its golden anniversary this month; in July 1969, the first issue of the Journal of the Society of Research Administration was published. The journal changed its name to simply the Journal of Research Administration in 2000. To celebrate this major anniversary and publishing milestone, in this special issue, we are republishing the inaugural issue of the journal. In doing this, it is important to reflect on the past, present, and future of JRA.
In reading the first issue of the Journal, two major takeaways come to my mind. First, the articles speak to the development of a new profession, that of the research administrator. Articles ponder the demographics of research administrators, their role, their development as professionals, and the important connection between the Society of
Research Administrators (SRA; the Society added “International” to its name in 2000 as well) and the journal. The early leaders of the Society recognized that it was important to develop a medium in which best practices, case studies, commentaries and reflections could be disseminated. The Journal has steadily and impactfully served this purpose for the last fifty years. Second, and as alluded to in the first point, the underlining themes of many of the articles align closely with much of what our profession still considers to be some of the most important issues of our time. Our roles and our development as professionals within the field are in a consistent state of expansion and evolution. We have grown exponentially as a profession and as professionals. It continues to be critically important to consider how we contribute to research administration within our institutions and within the broader research enterprise context and it is even more critical that we continuously aim to improve our own knowledge and skills within the field. JRA serves as a vital medium to document the continued growth and development of research administrators as professionals and the field of research administration.
Looking to the present and future of JRA, with the vitally strong support of SRAI, the dedicated service of a highly engaged editorial board and Journal leadership, the Journal is enjoying a very healthy status. We are publishing high-quality manuscripts with each issue and we have a steady flow of manuscript submissions. The editorial board and editors are consistently considering ways to improve the Journal and to further support our authors. The Author Fellowship Program (AFP) is an important method to support authors and we are considering other avenues of support we could provide. Overall, we see it as important to help research administrators realize their potential as authors and to help anyone that wants to publish to be able to do so.
In closing, I hope that you enjoy reading the first issue of JRA as much as I have. I hope the articles inspire you and prompt some reflection about your role as a research administrator and your opportunities for further development. Thank you for your readership and support of JRA. And, I have to give a big thanks to SRAI staff, especially Dilyana Williams, for making this special issue possible. Also, as always, thanks to the entire JRA editorial board, Deputy Editor Jennifer Taylor, Associate Editor Holly Zink, and all the past JRA leadership, especially Tim Linker, for their steadfast and forward-thinking leadership of the journal.