It is with profound pleasure, humility and honor that I welcome you, the reader, to this inaugural issue of the Annals of Emergency Dispatch and Response (AEDR) – an official international peer-reviewed research journal published by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)®.
Two of the goals of the IAED are: (1) to establish and promote a collegial, research-based culture that welcomes the expertise of many dispatch disciplines, and (2) to provide opportunities for dispatch agencies to facilitate communication, providing comprehensive information resources and creating high-quality training and continuing dispatch education. Dispatch research has evolved over the years to warrant an all-inclusive refereed publication power-house (“journal”). Additionally, only a handful of journals presently publish dispatch-related peer-reviewed research articles worldwide. To the best of my knowledge, a vast majority of these journals mostly publish emergency medical dispatch research articles. In fact, in Fire and Police dispatch, there is an acute dearth of research articles, whether published in peer-reviewed or in non-refereed journals. Consequently, emergency dispatch research findings tend to be less widely read outside the readership of a few select journals, and a majority of the articles are authored by researchers from a few institutions. Hence, diversity in dispatch research is wanting. It was partly with these vital issues in mind that the IAED seized the opportunity to establish AEDR.
The overarching goal of AEDR is to promote evidence-based dispatch science and diversify dispatch research. The journal’s editorial board is strongly convinced this initiative will provide full-length, science-driven, peer-reviewed articles conforming to the strict international processes and editorial standards expected by the scientific community. The journal accepts original research, case reports, editorials, perspectives, and concepts by researchers from every region of the world. The unique opportunity provided by this journal will enable researchers in emergency dispatch and pre-arrival care, emergency nurse telephone triage and instructions, and public health and public safety telecommunications to share their work. By publishing in this journal, the researchers will enjoy a perfect platform to demonstrate the importance of research and development in emergency dispatch. More details on AEDR are presented in various perspective and concept papers in this inaugural issue.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that, as this is an inaugural journal issue, the articles presented herein were non-peer-reviewed articles, solicited from a select group of dispatch researchers. In the spirit of stimulating deeper thought and including a consistent and objective focus, a set of questions were provided to the researchers to ponder as they prepared their work. However, the researchers were permitted to address any other pertinent dispatch research issue(s) of their choice. The questions included: What do you see as the most pressing questions in dispatch research? What work needs to be done in order to answer those questions? What are some of the limitations or impediments on dispatch research, and how might researchers, especially new members in the field, overcome these in their work? In what directions should dispatch research be moving in the future?
As you read the articles in this journal issue, you will appreciate that there is cogent evidence of huge gaps in dispatch research today. These important gaps require immediate and adequate redress from the scientific dispatch research community. In subsequent AEDR issues, we will strive to publish research papers that address some of these gaps. A search in some of the most esteemed research databases reveals the existence of a dire need to conduct and publish research from other dispatch disciplines and other equally important topics that have not yet been accorded significant attention. Additionally, there seem to be impediments that need remedial measures and harmonization to facilitate smooth, efficient, and effective conduct and publication of dispatch research studies. These hurdles may include, but are not limited to: ethical barriers, data control and access, data linkage or integration (e.g., dispatch data, fire run dispositions such as National Fire Incident Reporting System, police call outcome data, as well as paramedic, EMS, and hospital outcomes databases), limited funding, and scarce skilled human research capacity.
Once more, on behalf of the editorial board, I welcome you to this journal – your journal! We look forward to your submissions and to publishing your research work. Together, we will indisputably move dispatch science and its associated public safety and public health services to the next level. Ultimately, we will improve more lives and, consequently, our communities.
Christopher H O Olola, Ph.D