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The Evaluation Center at WMU Week: Supporting Open-Access Evaluation Scholarship through JMDE by Lyssa Wilson Becho and Michael Harnar

Hello, we are Lyssa Wilson Becho and Michael Harnar, co-executive editors of the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation (JMDE). Lyssa works in The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University (WMU) as a principal research associate, and Michael is the director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation at WMU.

In today’s blog post, we want to highlight JMDE, which is supported by The Evaluation Center. JMDE is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal whose mission is to freely publish and disseminate scholarly work that contributes to developing evaluation theory, methods, and practice. Founded in 2004 at WMU by Michael Scriven, the journal seeks to inform and enhance interdisciplinary evaluation by reaching a broad and diverse audience.

JMDE is committed to making evaluation literature accessible to all. Whether you’re a practitioner, academic, evaluation commissioner, or consumer, there is something in our journal for you! We welcome all kinds of authors and reviewers to participate in creating the kind of literature they want to see.

Graduate students in the WMU’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation have been essential in the functioning of the journal from the very start. These emerging evaluators wrote articles, identified expert reviewers, and served as reviewers themselves. JMDE has also had a long history of international authors and readership, making its scholarship truly multidisciplinary and representative of many perspectives, practices, and contexts.

Lessons Learned

We stepped into the roles of co-executive editors of JMDE in the past few years. Here are some of the lessons we have learned about managing an evaluation journal dedicated to inclusiveness and accessibility:

  • Being transparent about the review process is essential in broadening scholarship outside of those historically represented in the literature. JMDE took a significant step towards this with the recent revision and publication of our journal policies, including an intentional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; thorough descriptions of our publication ethics; and recognition of traditional knowledge and Indigenous rights.
  • Working with a professional copy editor has raised the quality of the writing in articles, while also strengthened author’s writing skills. Multiple authors have complimented JMDE’s process of collaborating with a copy editor while developing their final article.
  • While JMDE articles are free to access and available to anyone, indexing in repositories is important to have articles found by those using library databases. JMDE is currently indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, and we are applying to be indexed in Scopus.

Our recent issue includes articles on various topics, such as AI for evaluators, equity-focused community coalitions, and using journey mapping to evaluate youth programs. We also published two special issues this year, one on decolonizing evaluation and another on the program evaluation standards.

If you’re interested in getting involved with JMDE, sign up to be a reviewer or look at our author submission guidelines. Thank you for your role in enhancing the open-access evaluation literature.

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