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Advancing the Science and Metrics on the Pace of Implementation

Advancing the Science and Metrics on the Pace of ImplementationOrganised by:
Enola Proctor, PhD, Washington University Brown School, USA
Alex Ramsey, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, USA
Gila Neta, PhD, National Cancer Institute, USA

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 31 December 2025

Implementation Science and Implementation Science Communications are calling for submissions to our Collection on Advancing the Science and Metrics on the Pace of Implementation.

New Content ItemThis collection supports and amplifies research related SDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing.

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Implementation Science
Implementation Science Communications

About the Collection

The persistent 17-year span between discovery and application of evidence in practice has been a rallying cry for implementation science. That frequently quoted time period often implies that implementation needs to occur faster. But what do we really know about the time required to implement new evidence-based practices into routine settings of care. Does implementation take 17 years? Is implementation too slow? Can it be accelerated? Or, does a slower pace of implementing new evidence-based innovations serve a critical function? In many cases—pandemics, health inequities, urgent social crises—pressing needs demand timely implementation of rapidly accruing evidence to reduce morbidity and mortality. Yet many central tenets of implementation, such as trust, constituent inclusion, and adaptation, take time and may require a slow pace to ensure acceptability and sustained uptake.

To date, little attention and scant data address the pace of implementation. Speed is a rarely studied or reported metric in implementation science. Few in the field can answer the question, “how long does implementation take?” Answering that question requires data on how long various implementation phases take, or how long it takes to achieve implementation outcomes such as fidelity, adoption, and sustainment. Importantly, we lack good data on how different implementation strategies may influence the amount of time to achieve given outcomes.

To advance knowledge about how long implementation takes and how long it “should optimally” take, this collection seeks to stimulate the publication of papers that can advance the measurement of implementation speed, along with the systematic study of influences on and impacts of speed across diverse contexts, to more adequately respond to emerging health crises and benefit from emerging health innovations for practice and policy. In particular, we welcome submissions on 1) methodological papers that facilitate development, specification, and reporting on metrics of speed, and 2) data-based research (descriptive or inferential) that reports on implementation speed metrics, contextual factors and/or active strategies that affect speed, or the effects of implementation speed on important outcomes in various contexts.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Data based papers documenting pace of moving through various implementation phases, and identifying factors (e.g., implementation context, process, strategies) that affect pace of implementation (e.g., accelerators and inhibitors)
  • Data based papers from multi-site, including multi-national, studies comparing pace of innovation adoption, implementation, and sustainment across various contexts
  • Data based papers reporting time to implementation in the face of urgent social conditions (e.g., climate change, disaster relief) Papers on how to accelerate time to delivery of treatment discoveries for specific health conditions (e.g., cancer, infectious disease, suicidality, opioid epidemic) 
  • Data based papers on the timeliness of policy implementation, including factors influencing the time from data synthesis to policy recommendation, and from policy recommendation to implementation 
  • Span of time needed to: achieve partner collaboration, including global health partnerships adapt interventions to make them more feasible, usable, or acceptable achieve specific implementation outcomes (e.g., adoption, fidelity, scale-up, sustainment) de-implement harmful or low-value innovations, or to identify failed implementation efforts 
  • Effect of implementation pace on attainment of key outcomes such as constituent engagement, intervention acceptability or sustainability, health equity, or other evidence of clinical, community, economic, and/or policy benefits. 
  • Papers addressing the interplay between pace and health equity, speed and sustainability, and other considerations that impact decision-making on implementation
  • Methodological pieces that advance designs for testing speed or metrics for capturing the pace of implementation

Meet the Organisers

Alex Ramsey, PhD: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA

Dr. Ramsey is an Associate Professor in the Addiction Science, Prevention, and Treatment Division of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. He is an organizational psychologist and clinical scientist focused on implementation science in substance use disorder and cancer prevention and control. Dr. Ramsey's current research aims to understand personalized and multilevel interventions to improve the reach, effectiveness, and implementation of tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use disorder treatments. He is a Principal Investigator on multiple trials funded by the National Institutes of Health—including a NIDA R01, NCI R01, and NIDA R34—to study the process of moving smoking-related genomic applications from basic science toward implementation in real-world clinical and community settings. To maximize the impact and timeliness of this research, Dr. Ramsey's work also aims to advance the conceptualization and measurement of implementation pace to shorten the protracted research-practice gap in healthcare.

Enola Proctor, PhD: Washington University Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis, USA

Dr. Proctor’s research is motivated by the question, how do we ensure that people receive the very best possible care? She has studied this question in a variety of social work, public health, and health care settings, ranging from hospitals to community agencies. She has contributed to the intellectual capital for the rapidly growing field of dissemination and implementation science, leading teams to distinguish, clearly define, develop taxonomies, and stimulate more systematic work to advance the conceptual, linguistic, and methodological clarity in the field. Proctor’s research has been funded by the NIA, AHRQ, and the NIMH for more than 30 consecutive years. She directs the Implementation Research Institute, a training program in implementation science funded by the National Institute for Mental Health. She led the establishment of several university-wide centers and cores in implementation science, including the Center for Dissemination and Implementation for the Washington University Institute for Public Health and the Dissemination and Implementation Research Core for Washington University’s CTSA program. Proctor’s awards include Washington University’s Arthur Compton Holly Distinguished Faculty Award, the Society for Social Work and Research’s Distinguished Research Award, and the American Public Health Association Stephen M. Banks Award for Outstanding Mentoring in mental health services.

Gila Neta, PhD: National Cancer Institute, USA

Dr. Neta is an epidemiologist and program director for Implementation Science in the Office of the Director in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Neta serves as the NCI scientific lead for the NIH-wide funding announcements in Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Research in Health. She also leads the NIH D&I working group, a trans-NIH initiative providing leadership and vision for implementation science across the NIH. Dr. Neta also develops research and training activities related to implementation science, both global and domestic, across the NCI and NIH. Dr. Neta is Co-Chair of the NIH-sponsored Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation. She also newly co-chairs the NIH Climate Change and Health Working Group. She has a secondary appointment within the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program.

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of a range of article types. Should you wish to submit to this Collection, please read the submission guidelines of the journal you are submitting to Implementation Science or Implementation Science Communications to confirm that type is accepted by the journal you are submitting to. 

Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission systems in Implementation Science or Implementation Science Communications. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Advancing the Science and Metrics on the Pace of Implementation" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the standard peer-review process of the journal they are considered in Implementation Science or Implementation Science Communications and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer-review process. The peer-review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.