Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications.

My news feeds have been much abuzz with talk of the newly announced journal, Games for Health: Research Development, and Clinical Applications. Gaming for health is a topic we’ve been covering here at Pulse + Signal, so when we heard the news, we caught up with the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Bill Ferguson, for a Q & A.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishers of the anticipated journal, hope to bring greater cohesion to the field of health games with its launch in early 2012. In addition to peer-reviewed articles, the journal will feature product news and reviews, as well as reports from the field. Read on for more detail…

BC: Why launch an academic journal for games for health?

BF: Health games are perhaps the most powerful new tools for the prevention and treatment of health issues. I was asked by Mary Ann Liebert, the founder of our company, to attend the most recent games for health conference in Boston this past May to see if the field of health related games had matured to the point where the researchers, game developers, therapists, end users and so on would benefit from a dedicated journal. I was very impressed by the depth and breadth of research going on in universities as well as the many very practical uses of games to improve the well-being of people with many different challenges. Many of the key people I met including Debra Lieberman of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Paul Tarini of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Ben Sawyer, the organizer of the conference, enthusiastically supported the idea of a journal dedicated to games for health.

After gathering additional supportive information, Mary Ann, in her inimitable entrepreneurial way decided to launch Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications. I’m very pleased she asked me to be the founding editor and to pull together an editorial board. I was even happier at the enthusiastic acceptances I received from the true movers and shakers in the fields of academia, game development, platform manufacture and in field use. I feel confident we will have strong demand and positive feedback right from the journal’s first issue this fall.

What role is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation playing in the conception of the journal, if any?

BF: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been a powerful force in health games research. At present, they have no official role in the journal although many of their grantees are on our editorial board.

BC: Who’s brain child is the new journal?

BF: If you take a moment to look at the history of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. you will see that she and our colleagues have been the pioneer publishers in some seventy health and human wellness fields including Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics in which we have worked closely with Sanofi. Our peer reviewed journals often precede public awareness of emerging health sciences as is the case with Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications.

BC: Published articles will be peer reviewed, is that correct? With the diverse mix of developers, clinicians and researchers working in the field, how will reviewers be chosen?

BF: Yes, in addition to field reports, product reviews and news from the field, our content will feature peer reviewed research papers. Two of our key editorial board members, Dr. Lieberman, whom I mentioned, and Tom Baranowski, PhD of Baylor University will help me to determine and enlist appropriate reviewers for each submitted paper. We are currently putting together our website and I will be issuing a call for papers very soon.

BC: Are there plans to make the journal open source? If not, how can we gain access?

BF: The journal will be available by subscription in print and online. The Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications website www.liebertpub.com/g4h will feature complimentary sample issues and articles and clear instructions on how to submit articles and information of interest.

BC: How often will the journal be published?

BF: Initially, we will print bi-monthly with the hope that the volume of papers, news, activities and demand will drive us to monthly publication.

BC: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about the journal?

BF: I’d like your readers to know that they now have a forum to share their advancements, developments and interests in the field of games for health as well as a single source for leading edge news. It is our goal to be a powerful vehicle for sharing and shaping this important new field. Your contributions are welcome in Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications.

Bridgette Collado for Pulse + Signal

Follow Bridgette at twitter.com/bcollado

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