The Education Journal has just published its 400th issue. This is a clear indication of the Ministry of Education's commitment, over more than seventy years, to maintaining a high quality scientific journal, with accredited recognition in our R&D system and important use value both for researchers and for those responsible for the design and assessment of public policies in education and training.

The commemorative purpose of this issue on the contribution of the Education Journal to Spanish education leads us, first of all, to recall that the goal of the Journal has always been to promote the knowledge production in the field of education, as well as to cover a wide range of educational issues with the common denominator of disseminating the scientific knowledge underlying them. From this perspective, the Journal is a privileged observatory of the evolution of contemporary educational trends; of proven fields and methods of educational research and of those which are not fully explored yet; of the challenges involved in the organisation of modern educational systems based on common points of reference in the international context. In short, of the conceptual and methodological progress made in education for the effective exercise of active citizenship and the development of a democratic society.

Taking into account the contents of its issues and its demanding publication frequency, the studies and contributions that the Journal of Education brings together are clear evidence of the commitment to making effective the right to education and to receiving a quality education without compromising equity. Therefore, they provide a remarkable example of the need to analyse the factors involved in any educational situation -notably those that are an added value- without neglecting the influence of the historical coordinates and the social context in which they are analysed and which, to a certain extent, explain them.

In this respect, it must be noted that the Journal has not avoided tackling any educational topic and has paved the way for the analysis of a wide range of issues: educational reforms; investment and resources in education; management and organisation of educational centres; curriculum, school texts and educational methods; catering for diversity; the teaching career and teacher training; assessment of the educational system; skills for the labour market and the transition to working life, among others. The aim of producing and disseminating scientific knowledge has been broadened to include current issues in Spanish education, such as inclusive education, early childhood, school coexistence and rural schools.

On many occasions, the Journal has dealt with education in the broadest sense of the term, approaching it from the formal, non-formal and informal perspectives, thus promoting research on issues and in areas of socio-educational intervention that also require visibility and the transfer of advances, especially when we are talking about lifelong learning.

In addition, the special issues have analysed some of the main educational policies developed in Spain (educational support and reinforcement policies such as the PROA Plan, the Bologna process and university reform) and crucial issues for the progress of the common educational project (key competences, early school dropouts, promotion of reading, education for sustainable development).

Likewise, the need to integrate the views of international organisations involved in education is strongly present in the history and current affairs of the Journal. In particular, it is a platform for the dissemination of external evaluations that are part of international studies, which allow for a broad comparison of the quality of education, the improvement of school efficiency, and teaching and learning processes or the teaching practice. This has provided a valuable contrast on what it means to put education at the core of the concerns of societies and governments. This is particularly useful for educational administrators and managers. At the same time, it has also fostered debate in the scientific community and the transparency of Spanish educational research on issues that are part of the body of ideas and methods of scientific disciplines (development of competences, tutoring and guidance, specific teaching methods, use of ICTs), thus underlining the need for research as a cornerstone of education.

As a result, the Education Journal, being a scientific publication, has been and continues to be an invaluable channel of communication between academics and policy makers, and this is one of its main distinctive features.

In this 400th issue, we must remember that the aim of promoting the proven quality of knowledge in the field of education has been shared by the editors and publishers who have been at the helm of the journal. This has been the case from the 1990s onwards, when the assessment of scientific activity in all fields of knowledge based on the impact factor was established, and when the number of scientific journals in education in Spain increased significantly.

In this context, the link between the Education Journal and the units established by the Ministry's organisational structure at any given time has enabled the editors to play a role that goes beyond the purely administrative functions and has contributed to the progressive professionalisation of the management of the editorial process. Its editors, who are renowned in the scientific field of Education, have been able to attract the best papers and engage the best reviewers in the review process in line with the ethical principles and criteria for the assessment of scientific production established both nationally and internationally.

Undoubtedly, the work carried out by all of them has gradually consolidated the current reputation of the Journal, ensuring the quality it has achieved in light of today's metrics and laying a solid foundation to play the role that is expected of scientific, periodical and peer-reviewed journals in the digital era.

Finally, it is important to note that the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, in its role as publisher, will continue to ensure the development and quality of the Education Journal. Education needs to describe, explain and predict the phenomena that are taking place, and to this end it is essential to produce, publish and disseminate the results of educational research. To sustain the scientific communication that the Education Journal allows is still necessary not only to reflect on the experience acquired and the achievements made by Spanish education, but also to be able to face future challenges with as much information as possible.

Spanish education is undergoing a moment of major transformation due to the development of Organic Laws that are set to transform the education and vocational training system in our country. Research spaces such as the Education Journal can contribute to generating critical mass around the improvement in the implementation of policies and programmes that will make Spain a benchmark in education, overcoming the barriers that have hindered large sections of the population in the past from developing the necessary skills throughout their lives in order to make progress in a changing world and ensure individual and social wellbeing.

In short, education needs to describe, explain and predict the phenomena that are taking place, and to this end it is essential to produce, publish and disseminate the results of educational research. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure access to this knowledge to the scientific and academic community, to public education policy makers and, in general, to anyone interested in accredited and useful knowledge in the field of education and for the advancement of society through Education. For this purpose, the Education Review is oriented.

Pilar Alegría Continente
Minister of Education and Vocational Training