Academic knowledge creation continues to favour English-speaking and wealthy nations. Regardless of the discipline, the bulk of research scholarship has a strong western and global north bias. The reasons are myriad: where research funding is highest, where journals are situated, what knowledge is privileged, and how publishers have designed their services. Research on preventing and ending homelessness faces these same limitations. Not for lack of any interest in our sector to create truly global opportunities for knowledge exchange but because we exist in the same academic systems as everyone else. There are wonderful journals supporting our work, such as Housing Studies, the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, the European Journal on Homelessness, Housing Care and Support, and Parity. Yet, for those working outside of the jurisdictions covered, or in other languages, there was space for new publishing opportunities; not to compete, but to expand the field.
In the spring of 2018 I began to reflect on what an ‘ideal’ journal might look like that would open up a space for global knowledge exchange on preventing and ending homelessness. There were a few clear principles that came to mind:
- Inclusion of lived experience in the journal leadership;
- Full open access with no publishing fees;
- The ability to submit work in one’s language of choice;
- An international and diverse board
Over the past 2.5 years, bit-by-bit, the pieces have been falling into place. My own Western Libraries provided support for open access journal publishing through the Open Journal System. The Institute of Global Homelessness came on board with an offer to support costs related to translation and copy-editing. And a whole host of incredible scholars signed up from around the world to form the founding Editorial Board. The small germ of an idea blossomed into reality as the right people came together with a common vision to promote and advance scholarly communications and academic discourse among all sectors regarding preventing and ending homelessness locally and globally.
Therefore, I am thrilled to announce the first CALL FOR PAPERS for the International Journal on Homelessness (IJOH). Over the past few years I have taken on PhD students from Ghana, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria who are themselves interested in ending homelessness in their home communities. Seeing the wisdom and unique perspectives they bring to the issue gives me incredible hope for the knowledge that has yet to be shared and the opportunities yet to be enacted in our sector.
We CAN prevent and end homelessness. And to do so we need to create knowledge and share knowledge regardless of language, regardless of one’s location in the world, regardless of privilege. If IJOH can help to be another platform for this, then we have met our goals.