As 2015 ends, the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) continues to head in exciting directions under Editor-in-Chief Lorie Gage Richards. According to Journal Citation Reports (JCR), the journal ranks 22nd of 65 journals indexed in the Rehabilitation subsection of the Social Science Division of JCR, based on the 2-yr impact factor (1.532), and is the most highly ranked occupational therapy journal. Manuscript submissions to AJOT continue to increase, with manuscripts received from countries as far away as Argentina, Pakistan, Singapore, and South Africa. The roster of reviewers continues to grow as well.
Changes to the AJOT Editorial Board included Susan Murphy, MJ Mulcahey, and Ashwini Rao stepping down as Associate Editors and the addition of Stephen Page, Lisa Daunhauer, and Tracey Jirikowic in those roles. AOTA staff are grateful to them and to the entire editorial board for the hours of dedicated service they have devoted to AJOT. We also appreciate the work of the many reviewers who have taken the time to provide their valuable feedback on manuscripts submitted to the journal.
The current publishing environment continues to present many challenges to academic journals like AJOT. In addition to increased expenses in the face of declining ad revenue, the publishing industry is faced with readers who expect to receive information ever more quickly. In response, most journals have moved to continuous publishing or publish-ahead-of-print models. Many have done away with paper entirely.
AJOT is no different from other journals, and to adapt to the changing needs of readers, we instituted continuous publishing at the start of 2015. Most articles are now available online well before the print edition lands in subscribers’ mailboxes. In addition, as this issue was going to press, a “pay-per-view” option was being implemented, enabling nonsubscribers to pay to access content as needed, a particularly important function that will allow other health professionals to better discover occupational therapy research.
In 2014, AJOT joined an important initiative among leading rehabilitation journals in adopting the EQUATOR Network Reporting Guidelines (Chan, Heinemann, & Roberts, 2014). These guidelines serve to increase the transparency of clinical research reporting and will further boost the quality of research published in the journal. In 2015, AJOT joined a similar collaborative initiative requiring authors to adhere to additional reporting guidelines, including requiring those reporting on clinical trials to register trials with ClinicalTrials.gov or a similar non-U.S. registries. Registering trials increases the transparency of trial design and results in higher quality evidence. Additional information is available in the most recent AJOT author guidelines (AOTA, 2015), available at http://ajot.submit2aota.org/journals/ajot/forms/Ajot_guidelines.pdf.
Another innovation launched this year is advance open access, whereby authors can pay a fee to designate their articles to be available without a subscription.
Exciting projects are in the works for AJOT. AOTA Press has launched an online textbook initiative, which will integrate AJOT with other AOTA Press publications, such as practice guidelines, textbooks, and reference works, as well as other related association content.
AJOT continues to provide a print edition to all subscribers, but the costs outweigh the benefits, particularly now that the majority of readers access the journal primarily online. In response to these exigencies, AJOT will be testing online only for student members in the next few months. Although many other health research journals made the leap to online-only delivery years ago, the association will be taking a deliberate approach to determine how to proceed over the next few years.
To celebrate the centennial founding of the occupational therapy profession, AJOT will be publishing a series of articles on emerging areas of interest. Readers are encouraged to contact Editor-in-Chief Lorie Richards, at email@example.com, with their suggestions.
AJOT continues to play a vital role in making the profession “powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based,” as stated in AOTA’s Centennial Vision (AOTA, 2007), and the goal is for it to remain the premier occupational therapy research journal. An additional goal is to increase the relevance of occupational therapy research for related professions. Accordingly, AJOT will continue to publish high-quality studies that are more likely to be cited by other authors both within and outside occupational therapy.
We encourage researchers in other disciplines of relevance to occupational therapy to submit to AJOT. In addition, submission of manuscripts describing research in new and underrepresented areas of practice is encouraged.