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Anne Frank wrote in her diary, ‘All children must look after their own upbringing. Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands’. This quote illustrates the challenge faced by BMJ Open Sports & Exercise Medicine (BOSEM) since its creation. Born in 2015, BOSEM was initially deemed as the ‘open access’ offspring of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Six years later, BOSEM has published 629 manuscripts with over 900 unique authors listed. Our journal is ready to fly the nest. Now, the final forming of BOSEM’s personality lies with us, the new editorial team. Who are we, what is our personality, what makes us unique?
What do we seek to achieve and why is this unique?
We aim to support our community to make a difference for the general health and well-being of our patients, athletes and the world population. While this goal may not be truly unique in the sports and exercise medicine (SEM) landscape, the way we want to achieve it is. What makes us different is that BOSEM hosts clinically meaningful and impactful publications Open Access. Being true to the phrase ‘scientia potentia est’, all our content is freely available to everyone, and you can interact with BOSEM regardless of where you live and work. We take a continuous improvement approach to knowledge management to enable more robust collaborations with you.
We actively create a platform for discussions and knowledge dissemination, cross-platform, appealing and supportive of your ongoing pursuit of knowledge. In supporting life-long learning and improvement of clinical practice, we aim to harness the knowledge and experience of emerging and established academic and clinical peers from around the globe. Importantly, we will not avoid difficult and controversial conversations. We rather choose to strengthen the international debate on SEM while building further on our field’s knowledge base, reputation and integrity.
What do we want to publish?
We aim to publish high-quality research that promotes both academic and clinical SEM. Whether this is an original quantitative, qualitative study or mixed-methods study, whether this is a review or a study protocol, all designs and approaches will be considered. This high-quality content must deliver outcomes that provide a clear solution for or improvement in SEM practice. We have a clear focus on contemporary and future SEM issues and solutions. Here you can think of better use of technology, the effect of climate change on athlete and public health, or harassment and abuse in sports.
You might ask, in the absence of a universally accepted definition of SEM, what is SEM? In our opinion, SEM exists to provide the opportunity for every individual to achieve and maintain the highest physical fitness and general well-being along the course of life. This covers a diversity of allied health professions across public health, exercise as medicine, and the prevention and treatment of injuries, illness and mental health issues incurred through physical activities and sports.
Forward, together, crossing borders
With such a broad array of topics, we can only emphasise that contemporary SEM issues have no boundaries. However, they do require population and context-specific insights and solutions. This implies that we can only move forward if we stand together as a SEM community. We understand this, and, therefore, the BOSEM editorial team is composed of experienced and emerging academics and clinicians, representing 15 countries from 6 continents as well as diverse genders, backgrounds, expertise and SEM topics (figure 1). We can proudly say that we have a team full of vigour, enthusiasm and fresh ideas that we can build on for the following years.
Truth be told, in terms of diversity, we must do better, can do better and will do better. SEM should be fully inclusive and supportive to all our peers globally, regardless of race, religion, geography and persuasion. We want to provide the opportunity for scholars and clinicians to mature as SEM leaders in their respective countries. To this end, we are excited to announce our upcoming academic mentorship programme whereby our team will assist with the writing and publication process for those who require that bit of extra support.
We can only achieve our vision with your input, insights and feedback. After all, we represent you. Close interactions between BOSEM and our community will pave the way to new academic and clinical knowledge, interests and values. To start this dialogue, we are bringing BOSEM to the forefront of contemporary communications. We want to engage, discuss and share knowledge. We will be more outspoken on social media; our blog has just opened, and new platforms are being sought to communicate with you in real time. We intend to reach you anywhere in the world and make you become a part of our history. See this as an open invitation to use our journal’s channels and interact with us.
With arguably one of the most dynamic editorial boards, we bring together future academic and clinical leaders. All with a heart in and for SEM All with dreams, hopes and beliefs of what SEM can and should be. We represent a journal that aims to be a major resource to support clinical practice and to provide exciting content from the field of SEM research. We have ambitious goals. Within 12 months, we aim to have increased diversity on our editorial board and in our articles, reduced barriers for lower-income/middle-income countries, and build a thriving global community around SEM. While achieving these goals, we aim to present positive influences and motivational experiences underpinning our goal of expanding scientific knowledge and clinical practice in the SEM field. We are all proud to say #WeAreBOSEM.
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Contributors Evert Verhagen, Tej Pandy and Fabio Oliveira drafted the first version of this editorial. All other authors were invited to provide their feedback.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests Evert Verhagen is Editor in Chief of BMJ Open Sports & Exercise Medicine. All other authors are editorial board members of BMJ Open Sports & Exercise Medicine.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.