Lorie Gage Richards; State of the Journal, 2015. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(6):6906070010p1-6906070010p4. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.696003.
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© 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) had a successful 2015. From September 2014 to September 2015, the number of manuscripts submitted had increased by 35%. Manuscripts were received from 23 countries, compared with 17 countries in 2014. AJOT continues to have the highest impact factor and to be the highest ranked of the occupational therapy journals listed in Journal Citation Reports. AJOT continues to focus on publishing research articles on aspects of occupational therapy among varied populations with diverse acute and chronic conditions. Additional changes for 2015 include new associate editors, a significantly enlarged pool of reviewers from across the globe, continuous publishing, pay-per-view, updated author guidelines, and the adoption of clinical trial registration requirements effective January 1, 2016.
Effectiveness studies examine the effects, efficacy, or effectiveness of a therapy intervention or educational pedagogy and range from case studies or other N-of-1 trials to large randomized controlled trials.
Instrument development studies are those that involve the development of assessment tools or therapy tools (e.g., new technology) and include studies about tool construction, psychometric properties, and ease of use.
Basic research studies establish relationships between conditions and occupational limitations, determine the prevalence or incidence of conditions or client factors within a condition, determine predictors of outcomes, develop taxonomies, and test and build theories. They also include occupational science and research with animal models.
Professional issues studies assess therapist knowledge or skills and examine practices that affect therapy delivery.
Health services studies describe health care practice and utilization of occupational therapy services, disparities in utilization of health care services, and access to health care services.
Systematic reviews include literature reviews, meta-analyses, and scoping reviews that use systematic methods to locate and select appropriate literature and critique the literature.
Sixty-nine reviewers were added to the roster of AJOT reviewers, including reviewers from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and several Asian countries. In general, this increase has eased reviewer workload and shortened the review process.
The AJOT Editorial Board held a workshop at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference & Expo in Nashville to provide potential authors with information about the publishing process and tips for higher quality writing. The goal was to foster the submission of manuscripts that need less revision before publication.
The AJOT Editorial Board agreed to adopt additional publishing guidelines: STROBE (von Elm et al., 2007) for cohort and case-controlled studies and STARD (Bossuyt et al., 2003) for diagnostic accuracy.
AJOT has joined other major rehabilitation and disability journals in a collaborative initiative to enhance clinical research reporting standards through adoption of mandatory reporting guidelines (Chan, Heinemann, & Roberts, 2014). As a result, effective January 1, 2016, authors of manuscripts reporting on clinical trials must register those trials with ClinicalTrials.gov or a similar non-U.S. registry for the manuscript to be considered for publication. Registering trials on such sites increases the transparency of trial design and implementation, resulting in less risk of bias and higher quality evidence. The editorial collaborative believes that the adoption of such requirements will hasten an increase in the quality of rehabilitation and related research. Additional information is available in the most recent AJOT author guidelines (AOTA, 2015), available at http://ajot.aota.org/article.aspx?articleid=2442689.
AJOT moved to continuous publishing this year. Articles are now published online as soon as production activities are completed, which is typically months sooner than the article is available in print format.
As this article went to press, AJOT was implementing a pay-per-article option so that people without a subscription can still access articles. Increased access to AJOT articles is intended to widen the scope of readership and facilitate increased citations.
AJOT introduced an immediate open access option whereby authors may pay a fee to publish their articles in an open-access format. Most AJOT articles are available only to subscribers and AOTA members for the first 5 years after publication.
AJOT published three special issues in 2015: one on occupational therapy and stroke, one on autism, and a special issue honoring the legacy of Jane Case-Smith. Two of these special issues were a collaboration between AJOT and AOTA’s Evidence-Based Practice Project (Lieberman & Scheer, 2002). In addition, AJOT published three online supplements. Supplement 1 contains the research abstracts from the 2015 AOTA Annual Conference & Expo, a new feature that is intended to further disseminate the research presented at the conference and help increase the research profile of the profession. Supplement 2 is the second edition of the special issue on occupational therapy education, and Supplement 3 is the annual AOTA official documents supplement.
Continue to focus on high-quality studies that are more likely to be cited by other authors, including systematic reviews on topics relevant to occupational therapy
Encourage submission of manuscripts describing research in new and underrepresented areas of practice in the literature, such as primary care and mental health
Solicit manuscripts from studies with a low risk of bias (Level I evidence methodology) from researchers known to be conducting such studies
Publish a greater number of articles. Because the number of articles that can be published in AJOT is limited by the costs of print publication, this will be accomplished by placing more articles online and requiring shorter articles.
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