Lorie Gage Richards; State of the Journal, 2017. Am J Occup Ther 2017;71(6):7106070010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.716002
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© 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) has had another successful year, with increases in its journal impact factor and its ranking among rehabilitation journals indexed by Journal Citation Reports. The number of submissions has increased, with manuscripts received from 28 countries. Readership has also increased. AJOT remains the top-ranked occupational therapy journal in the world. In addition to its usual focus on publishing research broadly related to occupational therapy, AJOT created a Centennial section in each issue to celebrate the Centennial of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Centennial section topics were determined on the basis of their relevance to occupational therapy history and to future or emerging or increasing practice areas in occupational therapy. In her presidential address at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s 2017 Annual Conference & Centennial Celebration, Amy Lamb honored occupational therapy’s past and embraced its future. Occupational therapy practitioners have the power to serve as change agents, demonstrating their value during everyday opportunities as they design the future of occupational therapy.
Effectiveness studies: Research ranging from N-of-1 studies to randomized clinical trials that examined the effect, efficacy, or effectiveness of a therapy intervention or educational pedagogy
Instrument development and testing studies: Research involving assessment or therapy tool development
Basic studies: Research that establishes relationships between conditions and occupational limitations, reports the prevalence or incidence of conditions or client factors within a condition, identifies predictors of outcomes, outlines the development of taxonomies, describes the testing and building of theories, explicates occupational science, or describes results of work with animals
Professional issues studies: Research dealing with occupational therapy practitioners’ knowledge or skills or that investigates practices in therapy provision
Health services studies: Research describing health care practice or utilization of occupational therapy services or that discusses health care utilization disparities
Systematic reviews: Research including scoping reviews and reviews of intervention effectiveness and basic research.
AJOT welcomed new reviewers again this year. Currently, reviewers come from around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and India. The Editorial Board continues to recognize that reviewers are very busy so that the editorial board continues to attempt to make requests for reviews manageable.
The AJOT Editorial Board held a workshop in collaboration with the editorial board of OTJR: Occupational, Participation, Health at the 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference and Expo to provide reviewers and potential reviewers with information about the publishing process and offer tips for higher quality reviewing to foster higher quality and timely peer reviews.
AJOT continues to be part of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation journal group, which copublished two manuscripts describing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agenda for rehabilitation research: “Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health: Moving the Field Forward (Executive Summary) ” (Frontera et al., 2017) and “National Institutes of Health Research Plan on Rehabilitation” (NIH Medical Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee, 2017).
The Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award was awarded to Sophia Vardaki, Anne E. Dickerson, Ion Beratis, George Yannis, and Sokratis G. Papageorgiou (2016) for their article “Simulator Measures and Identification of Older Drivers With Mild Cognitive Impairment.” This award goes to the article that is considered as best meeting the following criteria: a high-impact article that describes high-quality research, is timely and highly relevant, and addresses an urgent need for information in the field (at least one author must be an occupational therapist). To select the award-winning article, a committee first selects one to two articles from each issue that meet these criteria. Then, a second committee votes for the final awardee.
AJOT published four special issues in 2017. These were on occupational therapy in musculoskeletal conditions; neurorehabilitation; health, well-being, and quality of life; and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The special issues on musculoskeletal conditions and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias were in collaboration with AOTA’s Evidence-Based Practice Project (Lieberman & Scheer, 2002).
The AJOT Editorial Board created a special section for each 2017 issue in celebration of AOTA’s Centennial. The topics for each issue were as follows:
The AJOT Editor-in-Chief attended the WHO Rehabilitation 2030 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, at the request of the WHO. This was a meeting of stakeholders (e.g., ministers of health from various countries; representatives from professional organizations for rehabilitation, health professionals, and populations with disabilities; rehabilitation researchers; journal editors of rehabilitation-related journals; individuals with disabilities) to assist the WHO in determining goals and plans for implementing its new emphasis on rehabilitation around the world. The editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy and a representative from the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy also attended.
The AJOT Editor-in-Chief attended a research reproducibility conference held at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, that was attended by many journal editors. This conference highlighted the significant issue of the lack of reproducibility across all branches of science and applied science, often because of lack of detail in reporting research methods. The conference started the dialogue of how to address this issue in the current era of journal page limitations as a result of publication costs and entrepreneurship. Because of increased concern about research reproducibility, AJOT is instituting additional requirements for clinical trials to more precisely present research findings.
The Editorial Board will continue to implement policies and make acceptance decisions based on the probability of increasing the journal’s impact factor while continuing to attempt to represent the breadth of occupational therapy research. Strategies include
Authors of any discipline may submit occupational therapy–related manuscripts to AJOT. These authors may ask for assistance from the managing editor on an appropriate “Implications for Occupational Therapy Practice” section.
Special issues on critical topics in occupational therapy and occupational science continue to be very popular, thus AJOT plans to continue having special issues. These issues are created in collaboration with AOTA’s Evidence-Based Practice Project (Lieberman & Scheer, 2002) or are suggested by AJOT authors. Special issues can include articles describing original research, various types of systematic reviews of quantitative research, and metasyntheses of qualitative research.
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