Staff at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) were excited this year to receive the news that the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) now has a 2-yr impact factor (IF) of 2.493 and a 5-yr impact factor of 3.325, according to the 2018 Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2018), placing it 3rd of the 69 rehabilitation journals ranked. The stellar leadership of Editor-in-Chief Lorie Gage Richards and her insistence that the journal adhere to the highest reporting standards and research are significant drivers of this continued growth in AJOT’s impact factor. AJOT continues to be a popular venue for occupational therapy research, as indicated by a high number of submissions each year and the ability to fill our issues many months in advance.
Two Associate Editors—Michael Pizzi and Karen Jacobs—completed terms this year; we appreciate their service to AJOT. They are replaced by Yael Goverover, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, New York University, and Alicia Sanchez Perez, Associate Dean of Occupational Therapy, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche, Spain. By ensuring that our Editorial Board is internationally diverse, we hope to expand AJOT’s global presence. We also thank the 284 reviewers from the United States and around the world who continue to take the time to provide authors with helpful feedback on their submitted manuscripts.
Growing International Presence
Along with the IF, the journal’s readership continues to increase, and researchers around the world submit manuscripts to AJOT. As this article went to press, authors from 27 countries other than the United States had submitted manuscripts. The average days from submission to acceptance decreased again this year, from 132 to 95, and the average number of days from submission to first decision was 57. Our goal is to continue to speed the review, decision, and publication process, which is contingent on several factors: the need for revision prior to peer review (i.e., whether the author adequately followed author guidelines, or whether issues surfaced in the initial editorial review); the ease of finding two peer reviewers willing to review the paper; and the extent of revisions needed after review and the speed with which authors revise and resubmit their manuscript.
Visitors to the AJOT website have been steady; the majority of visitors to the site, unsurprisingly, are from the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, particularly because the journal has a reciprocal delivery relationship with the British Journal of Occupational Therapy (as well as with the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy). A list of our Top 10 articles for the past year can be found in Table 1.
Clinical Trial Registration
In response to increasing alarm among researchers about problems with research reproducibility, AJOT has implemented new requirements for intervention trials. The journal continues to require registration of clinical trials and continues to work with authors on careful use of words, such as “effective,” so that language and recommendations match the level of evidence of the trial and the size of the effect.
Structured Abstracts and More
In addition, we will be requiring structured abstracts from our authors as we accept new manuscripts, which we hope will more precisely distill research findings for our readers. Details on these and other safeguards to ensure that we publish high-quality research are provided in Lorie Richards’ “State of the Journal” column in this issue (Richards, 2018) and in the AJOT “Guidelines for Contributors,” which are updated every year and published in Supplement 2 to this volume.
All In on Digital
AOTA is pleased to announce that AJOT will be distributed exclusively online beginning with the January/February 2019 issue. This decision was made with great deliberation over a period of years, and we understand that some AOTA members will miss their print issues. However, by eliminating the costs of printing, paper stock, mailing, and storage, the journal will be able to reinvest in new digital opportunities, such as color pages and video supplements to articles.
Even with online-only distribution of AJOT, we will continue to typeset articles and make them available for download as PDFs from the AJOT website for AOTA members and AJOT subscribers. Moreover, we are upgrading the look of the PDFs to improve on-screen readability. These changes will include the ability for authors to submit color tables and figures with their articles.
Printed Annual Review
In addition to expanding the publication of original research, AOTA is developing new knowledge translation (KT) content that further explains why this research is important and how to apply it in practice. To help showcase this change, AOTA is testing an annual review—a yearly printed issue of the journal’s best papers, as determined by the AJOT Editorial Board. This publication, which will be automatically mailed to all AOTA members at the end of each year, will include original research articles and KT commentaries as well as the Presidential speeches and Slagle Lectures from the year’s AOTA Annual Conference & Expo.
More Changes Coming
We will use the savings from online delivery to enhance AJOT and make it ever more useful for translating research into practice. Changes we are contemplating include adding archival AJOT content from before 1980, providing new connections to platforms that promote sharing of research, and implementing innovative ways to notify members of newly published content. We welcome suggestions from AOTA members; simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AJOT is so important to AOTA because it furthers evidence-based practice and serves to solidify the role of occupational therapy in health care. In all cases, the overarching goal is to provide a positive experience for our readers as well as for our authors. We appreciate the hard work of the researchers who choose to publish with us, and we want to do all we can to ensure that AJOT is their first choice for publishing their research.