The future of the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy.
From January 2010 the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy (AJP) changed its name to the Journal of Physiotherapy. This change was intended to move the AJP from being perceived as a regional journal of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) to an international journal. The owners of the NZJP and the AJP, i.e. the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists (NZSP) and the APA, have suggested to the Editorial Committees of their respective journals that the NZJP consider merging to join the AJP in its new format, the JoP.
The aim of this Editorial is to discuss the pros and cons of such a merger: what would be the benefits, costs and risks to readers; what would members gain, and what would we lose?
At the conclusion of this Editorial, I will propose what are essentially the three options open to the NZSP for the future of the NZJP. Members attending the NZSP Biennial Conference will have the opportunity to discuss these options at a NZJP-sponsored breakfast session on the Saturday morning of the conference, 15 May 2010. I invite you to attend that breakfast at Waipuna prior to the NZSP Conference programming, and/or to share your thoughts directly to me via email: editor.nzjp@ mac.com.
The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy
The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy was first published in 1954. It is owned by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, and currently publishes four issues per year.
The AJP, now the JoP, was already effectively functioning as an international journal: it receives and publishes a large number of international submissions, and has collaborative arrangements with four non-English language physiotherapy journals (Dutch, Norwegian, German, French). It is indexed in Medline and the ISI Web of Science, and has a presence on the APTA (1) ([dagger]) "Atrium" website. In the latest figures (2008) the AJP was ranked 9th among 28 journals in the rehabilitation field, and 14th among 71 journals in Sports Sciences according to impact factor (IF) statistics (Journal Citation Reports[R], ISI Web of Knowledge[TM]). These statistics put the AJP (IF 1.95) a close second behind the highest ranked physiotherapy journal by impact factor: Physical Therapy (IF 2.19); ahead of JOSPT, the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (10th, IF 1.90) and medical journals such as the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (13th, IF 1.70); and significantly higher than Physiotherapy (23rd, IF 0.56).
The move to rebrand the AJP as the Journal of Physiotherapy is intended to increase the prestige and international reach of the Journal. Removing identification with one nation in the title is intended to move the AJP from being perceived as one country's national journal, to an international journal (Bennell & Hodges 2010).
Like the NZJP, the AJP largely fails to receive submissions from the best local authors, who prefer to publish in international journals for reasons of perception with regard to career progression, promotion, and external funding pressures. By becoming an international, rather than regional/ national journal, the JoP hopes to receive a greater number of submissions from not only the best Australian authors, but from all of the best researchers and authors from around the world.
A merger would mean that the Journal of Physiotherapy would become the "Official journal of the APA and NZSP".
The JoP will function as a scholarly, international peer-reviewed journal: submissions will be screened by the Editorial team to ensure that they meet the aims and standards of the journal; peer-review will be blind to national origin. The JoP aims to attract high quality original research, guidelines for authors states that it does not accept pilot studies or clinical practice guidelines, and that survey research and reliability studies are a low priority for publication. Acceptance will be based strictly and entirely on academic merit. There will be no consideration to 'quota' of content from any given geographic region or national association.
'Merger' implies bringing two together to make one: i.e. the implication is that the NZJP would discontinue, as the AJP has. However this is not a necessary assumption. The AJP has not 'discontinued'; it has changed its name. It continues on with a new name, but the same owners and stakeholders. 'Merger' also implies that the newly created entity would have shared ownership and stakeholders. However the arrangements under a proposed merger is far from clear. Who would be the 'owners' of the new JoP in the event of merger?
How would the interests of the stakeholders of the NZJP/NZSP be ensured and protected? The issues of ownership, cost and/or profit sharing, governance, Editorial Board representation and executive control have not been discussed in any detail between the respective national associations. This presents NZSP with major risks, and major question marks.
Benefits of merging with the JoP
Such a move would bring a number of benefits to NZSP members and other New Zealand physiotherapists: four issues per year of the JoP would be delivered to members, bringing greater access to international research.
As a reader, a NZSP member, and as a physiotherapist clinician, I am in full agreement that receiving the JoP would be an outstanding benefit. As a professional, scientific journal, the JoP maintains very high standards of quality (Elkins & Ada 2009). It receives and publishes more research reports than the NZJP (Bennell & Hodges 2010), and publishes a large number and range of 'Critically Appraised Papers', 'Clinimetrics' commentaries, and summaries of international 'Clinical Practice Guidelines' (AJP 2009a,b,c), contributed by authors around the world.
The merger may also encourage our leading New Zealand researchers to publish in the JoP, rather than sending their research reports overseas to publish in other international journals, as is often the case currently. Thus, if NZSP adopts the JoP as its official journal, and the JoP is successful in attracting such high quality international submissions, New Zealand readers will be able to read more of the research generated locally than is currently the case.
In the 'pros' column of Table 1, I have summarised the potential benefits to New Zealand readers of merging with the JoP. I have also summarised the 'cons' of such a move, given the assumption that merging with would result in discontinuation of the NZJP. However, that assumption is not a necessary one: adopting the JoP does not necessarily have to result in the death of the NZJP.
Risks of merging with the JoP
Merger with the JoP does present NZSP with some risks. To our knowledge, details of the proposed merger, with respect to ownership, cost and/or profit sharing, governance, Editorial Board representation and executive control have not been discussed in any detail between the respective national associations.
Ownership, governance, and executive control
As a minority partner with a larger organization, NZSP would lose control of a key asset and service to its members. APA has been approached several times to either sell ownership or license content of the AJP to a multi-national publishing house (e.g. Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Maney or Blackwell), however to date APA has considered this option to be financially unfavourable. Nonetheless, this does represent a potential future threat. Sale or licensing the JoP to an independent publishing house could result in significantly increased costs to NZSP, loss of control of costs and revenues, and potentially discontinuation of the title altogether.
It will be necessary for NZSP to have clear contractual arrangements with APA with respect to JoP ownership, governance and executive control. Respondents to our consultation recommended merger should not proceed without securing equal 'right of veto' be vested with both NZSP and APA with regard to sale or licensing of the JoP title and content.
Retention of the NZJP, either in addition to or instead of the JoP, mitigates those risks.
Cost and/or profit sharing
In order to present members with clear and transparent projections of the financial consequences of each option, NZSP should have clear facts about the contractual arrangements it would undertake in joining APA in the JoP, with regards
cost liabilities and with regards allocation of profits from sales of advertising, royalties and subscriptions.
Again, retention of the NZJP, either in addition to or instead of the JoP, mitigates those risks, as the NZSP has a fallback option in the event of unfavourable cost liabilities in the future.
Editorial Board representation
Currently, the NZJP has an Editorial Committee of five members, the AJP/JoP nine members. On the basis of both the relative populations of NZ (4.3 million) to Australia (22 million), and the number of manuscripts submitted to the NZJP (22-25) compared with the AJP (100-110), proportional Editorial Board representation in the event of merger should be no less than 1:5 NZSP:APA. That would imply two members of the NZJP Editorial Committee join a ten member Editorial Board of the JoP,
Deficits of discontinuing the NZJP
The NZJP publishes a significant number of articles dealing with NZ-specific issues, for example examining the healthcare funding environment, the local labour market, regulatory issues, assessing New Zealand practice patterns in light of international best evidence, and Maori health issues (Taylor 2008, Reid & Larmer 2007; Stewart & Haswell 2007; Nicholls, Reid & Larmer 2009; Reeve, Davies, Freeman & O'Donovan 2007; Godbold 2008; Ratima, Waetford & Wikaire 2006). In the past five years, 17 of the 74 full-length articles the NZJP has published (i.e. 23%) have been of an explicitly New Zealand-specific nature (Table 2).
Analysis of the content of the NZJP over the past five years indicates that approximately 0 (0%) of the full-length articles published in NZJP would have met the aims and inclusion criteria for the AJP/JoP. This does not necessarily mean that the content of the NZJP differed in terms of quality criteria (although the quality of research reports in the AJP is generally higher); mostly it means that the focus of the journals' aims, scope, and categories of articles published were different (Table 3).
Clearly, one of the key deficits in any scenario that results in discontinuation of the NZJP is loss of a medium for scholarly, peer-reviewed New Zealand-specific content. This would have a potential impact on discussion and dissemination of key issues affecting the New Zealand professional practice environment, and may impact progress in addressing indigenous Maori and Pacific Island immigrant health issues.
Another significant loss would be the NZJP's role in helping develop novice authors, whether they be researchers and/or scholarly clinicians. There is also an intangible and invaluable benefit to the profession in seeing ones peers aspiring to the confidence and excellence of peer-reviewed publication. These have been explicit aims and values of NZJP, that I think we have been successful in contributing. (Some novice authors have gone on to do very well. Of note, in this regard: the new Chair of the JoP Editorial Board, Professor Kim Bennell, published her very first article in the NZJP.)
It is also worth considering that one of the key roles and attributes of a professional journal is editorial independence in publishing critical analysis and dissenting views, including on non-clinical topics relating to the professional (Tobin 2004, Davis 2002). A journal can serve a professional group well if it has the freedom to do so with impartiality, open-mindedness, and intellectual integrity (Kassirer 1999). Editorial independence therefore requires journal owners who understand that the role of the journal differs from the role of the national organisation, and who "believe unequivocally and irrevocably" that complete editorial freedom is essential to maintain a vigorous, dynamic, intellectually free profession (Kassirer 1999). It requires that the owner organisation understands that the journal may, from time to time, publish content that expresses views that differ from the position(s) of that organisation (Kassirer 1999), because those positions are formed by the considered, critical opinions of its members, who require a forum for the debate of differing views (Abbott 2009).
So, while it can be acknowledged that gaining the JoP would be a plus, losing the NZPJ would be a minus. The NZJP is a different animal from the JoP, with different aims, content and audiences (Table 3): it is difficult to place a value on the service the NZJP offers the profession, that the JoP does not. The question is: is the gain worth the sacrifice, or is there a win-win alternative?
One proposed option would see the NZJP continue, while at the same time adopting the JoP as the "official journal of the NZSP". This option would see members gain the advantages of the JoP (more high quality, international research evidence and evidence-based summaries; potentially more of the higher-quality local content reaching local readers), while at the same time retaining what the NZJP offers (addressing New Zealand-specific issues, clinical and non-clinical; helping develop early-career New Zealand authors). To do so would require one of two scenarios for the NZJP:
1. the NZJP revert to its former role as the newsletter and magazine of the NZSP, as well as its role as a peer-reviewed journal. This is what existed before we had a separate newsletter, and indeed was what many association-owned journals started out as (and some continue to be). In this scenario, Physio Matters (the newsletter of the NZSP) would either discontinue, its content moving to the retained NZJP; or the two would coexist --for example back-to-back in the same stapled product: on the front is Physio Matters, but flip it over and, presto, on the other 'front' is the NZJP.
2. if necessary, transfer ownership to a separate entity, such as the New Zealand College of Physiotherapy (NZCP), so that the NZSP did not have two 'official journals'. The NZJP would then become the "official journal of the NZCP" or the "official journal of the combined special interest groups of the NZSP", while the JoP would be the "official journal of the NZSP". In this scenario, the NZJP would continue in its current format and content, with perhaps some efficiency measures to reduce costs.
In either event, the exact format and editorial focus, aims and scope of the NZJP post-adoption of the JoP could be subsequently decided by a Working Party consisting of the Editorial Committee and a small number of SIG representatives and/or clinician members..
One potential compromise solution, that would achieve a time-limited and risk-limiting way forward, would be a trial period of adopting the JoP from 2011 while continuing publication of the NZJP through 2013--in which year the 75th anniversary of the Journal coincides with the 100th anniversary of the physiotherapy profession in New Zealand. This would provide sufficient time for due consideration by members not only of what we gain, but also what it is we would be losing--from the viewpoint of comparing both, side-by-side, in the forms they each must take in their changed roles: the JoP in its new international format; the NZJP in whatever revised format it may evolve toward. The membership could then be properly consulted toward the end of 2013, and make a considered and informed decision, perhaps leading up to discussion at the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM).
At this stage, NZSP has conducted only a very limited consultation of stakeholders in the NZJP, including only one of the thirteen Special Interest Groups (SIGs), the two schools of physiotherapy (University of Otago and AUT University), and the NZJP Editorial Committee. NZSP has not consulted the remaining twelve SIGs, Tae Ora Tinana, the College (NZCP), the Academic Committee of the NZCP, nor has it consulted members directly in a structured process. NZSP has not provided any options or details of financial cost, risk, ownership, governance or representation in its limited consultation to date.
As a part of my deliberations as Chair of the NZJP Editorial Committee, I consulted the NZJP International Editorial Advisory Board, reporting back to the NZJP Editorial Committee. The Editorial Committee has considered the submissions received. The majority of these submissions acknowledged and supported the benefits of merger with NZJP, with most also emphasising and acknowledging the importance of, and need for, a local outlet for region-specific issues. A minority were against merger with the JoP, on the basis of risk, relevance and cost, and the assumption of losing the benefits of the NZJP.
The future of the NZJP: three options
1. Status quo: The NZJP be retained; NZSP rejects the merger with JoP
2. Merger: NZSP adopt the JoP as the "official journal"; discontinues NZJP
3. Merger Plus: NZSP adopt the JoP as the
"official journal"; supports continuation of NZJP--perhaps as the 'official journal of the NZCP" or the "official journal of the combined special interest groups of the NZSP"; perhaps as the combined newsletter and peer-reviewed journal of the NZSP.
Members attending the NZSP Biennial Conference will have the opportunity to discuss these options, or suggest others, at a NZJP-sponsored breakfast session on the opening morning of the conference, 8:00AM Saturday 15 May 2010 at Waipuna, prior to the NZSP Conference programming. The Editor and a member of the National Executive will co-chair that breakfast to answer your questions. You are also very welcome to share your thoughts directly with the Editorial Committee via email: editor.nzjp@ mac.com.
Whatever the outcome of the current deliberations, it will mark a turning point in the history of the Journal. I am proud of the progress the Journal has made in the last 72 years, and of the contribution I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to make in recent years. After nine years on the Editorial Committee--six as Editor I feel it is time to hand the torch over to the next watch. I wish the Editorial Committee well for the future, as they steer our small craft into new waters.
* NZJP has significantly different focus from AJP/ JoP:
1. NZJP is a regional-focussed journal, with a mission to serve local members by delivering relevant content, and stimulating the profession locally by mentoring novice authors, early-career academics, and providing a forum for discussing local issues and dissemination of local content to peers,
2. AJP/JoP is focussed on being a leading international journal of physiotherapy, It is not intended to serve or inform local members on geographically-specific professional issues, However delivering leading international research/theory content to members is, of course, a very valuable service,
* The merger/adoption proposal with JoP presents both benefits and risks to NZSP members,
* The future of the NZJP is inherently related to the merger/adoption proposal with JoP, but is an important issue carrying its own benefits and risks to the profession in New Zealand that can and should be considered independently, The membership should be thoroughly consulted prior to any decision regarding the future of the NZJP,
* There are three options for the future of the NZJP:
1. Status quo: The NZJP be retained; NZSP rejects the merger with JoP
2. Merger: NZSP adopt the JoP as the "official journal"; discontinues NZJP
3. Merger Plus: NZSP adopt the JoP as the "official journal"; supports continuation of NZJP--perhaps as the 'official journal of the NZCP" or the "official journal of the combined special interest groups of the NZSP"; perhaps as the combined newsletter as well as the peer-reviewed journal of local content for the NZSP,
* NZSP must present clear and transparent projections of the risks and costs of any proposal(s), in the process of thorough consultation with members.
AJP--Australian Journal of Physiotherapy APA--Australian Physiotherapy Association JoP--Journal of Physiotherapy (formerly the AJP) NZJP--New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy NZSP--New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists NZCP--New Zealand College of Physiotherapy SIGs--Special Interest Groups of the NZSP
Abbott JH (2009): 70 Anniversary Issue: After braving the waves and troughs of seven decades, where is our small craft now? New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy; 3 (1):1-7
Australian Journal of Physiotherapy (AJP) (2009a): Critically Appraised Papers. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; 55(4):61-64. http://ajp.physiotherapy.asn.au/AJP/ vol_55/1/AustJPhysiotherv55i1CAPs.pdf (accessed 8 April, 2010)
Australian Journal of Physiotherapy (AJP) (2009b): Clinimetrics. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; 55(4):65-66. http://ajp.physiotherapy.asn.au/AJP/vol_55/1/ AustJPhysiotherv55i1Clinimetrics.pdf (accessed 8 April, 2010)
Australian Journal of Physiotherapy (AJP) (2009c): Clinical Practice Guidelines. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; 55(4):67. http://ajp.physiotherapy.asn.au/AJP/vol_55/1 / AustJPhysiotherv55i1CPG.pdf (accessed 8 April, 2010)
Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) (2010): Journal of Physiotherapy; http://physiotherapy.asn.au/index.php/ quality-practice/ajp/author-guidelines (accessed 8 April, 2010)
Bennell K, Hodges P (2010): A new journal name for a new decade. Journal of Physiotherapy. 56(1):5
Davis RM, Mullner M (2002): Editorial Independence at Medical Journals Owned by Professional Associations: A Survey of Editors. Science and Engineering Ethics. 8:513-528.
Elkins M, Ada L (2009): Quality of trials in Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; 55(4):233-234
Godbold R (2008): Physiotherapy and the new disciplinary process. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 36(3): 131137
Kassirer JP (1999): Editorial independence. New England Journal of Medicine. 340:1671-1672.
Nicholls DA, Reid DA, Larmer PJ (2009): Crisis, what crisis? Revisiting 'possible futures for physiotherapy'. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 37(3):105-114
Ratima M, Waetford C, Wikaire E (2006): Cultural competence for physiotherapists: reducing inequalities in health between Maori and non-Maori. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 34(3):153-159
Reeve JC, Davies N, Freeman J, O'Donovan B (2007): The use of normal saline instillation in the intensive care unit by physiotherapists: a survey of practice in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 35(3):119-125
Reid DA, Larmer PJ (2007): The New Zealand Health Priorities: where do New Zealand private practice physiotherapists fit? New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 35(2):42-47
Stewart J, Haswell K (2007): Primary health care in Aotearoa, New Zealand: challenges and opportunities for physiotherapists. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 35(2):48-53
Taylor L (2008): An audit of physiotherapy vacancies over 2006: analysis of current workforce needs. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy. 36(1):1-6
Tobin MJ (2004): Assessing the performance of a medical journal. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 169:1268-1272.
J. Haxby Abbott, MScPT, PhD, FNZCP retiring Editor
(1) ([dagger]) American Physical Therapy Association
Table 1: Pros and cons of adopting the Journal of Physiotherapy, assuming discontinuation of the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy * Considerations Pros Cons NZSP member readers Greater quantity and Loss of a local quality of more journal, for NZ- international content specific issues. Loss of the intangible stimulation to the profession of seeing one's 'peers' (e.g. other clinicians) publishing case reports and studies conducted in their own NZ practices NZ Professional Benefits to the Lose our own Journal issues profession in terms of with a 70+ year evidence-based best history (one of the practice dissemination oldest in the world), providing content on NZ-specific professional issues. Threat: may be powerless to stop changes we don't agree with (e.g. change to online-only format, without print issues, discontinuation of the title, etc) Threat: should the APA wish to sell ownership or license content of the title to a publisher (e.g. Elsevier or Blackwell), NZJP may share a significant cost and/or lose ownership stake in the journal. The new owner may discontinue the title. NZ authors JoP provides an Loss of a local international', high- journal, for NZ- impact journal for NZ specific issues (e.g. authors to publish local market, high quality research, regulatory, Maori that reaches local health issues) readers. Loss of a 'training ground' for new authors. NZ Academic impact Greater contact Loss of a local between Australian and journal in which to NZ academics, through publish NZ-specific reading and via issues (e.g. Editorial Committee indigenous Maori and service, that may lead Pacific Island to more collaboration immigrant health issues, local regulatory and healthcare policy, funding or environment issues) Costs to NZSP Depending on Greater printing/ profit/loss of NZJP postage costs (more and annual issues, probably costs-per-member of mailed from NZJP vs. profit/loss Australia), however of JoP and annual AJP currently earns a costs-per- member, it profit for the APA. could cost less to NZ Local advertising may members (if JoP decline. remains profitable and Editorial Committee: NZ shares profit/cost Probably not much on a per-member basis) different--fewer or more (see right Committee members column). travel to Australia once per year for 2 days, plus 4x teleconferences per year. Threat: Loss of control over potential future cost structure changes (e.g. move to international publishing house) * NB: Adopting the JoP does not necessarily require discontinuation of the NZJP. Possible scenarios include both adopting the JoP and continuing publication of the NZJP. NZSP = New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists; NZJP = New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy; AJP = Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; JoP = Journal of Physiotherapy (formerly Australian Journal of Physiotherapy) Table 2: Full-length articles in the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy 2005-2009 * New Zealand- General content by International specific New Zealand authors submissions content * 17 (23%) 40 (54%) 17 (23%) * Note: Totals do not include editorials, an additional n=10, Table 3: Comparison table of the aims and content of the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy and the Journal of Physiotherapy (formerly the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy) New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Aims ([dagger]): to serve the members of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists by publishing content that reflects excellence in research and professional issues relevant to the New Zealand or international physiotherapy communities. Content: NZJP will accept manuscripts in the following categories: ** Invited clinical commentaries ** Clinical perspective papers ** Professional perspective papers ** Research reports ** Anatomy in practice ** Literature reviews (narrative reviews or systematic reviews) ** Case studies ** Case reports, case series ** Clinically Applicable Paper summaries Journal of Physiotherapy (formerly AJP *) Aims ([double dagger]): Journal of Physiotherapy welcomes contributions that are relevant to the science or practice of physiotherapy, The Editorial Board is committed to publishing excellent research. Content ([double dagger]): JoP will consider the following types of papers: ** Systematic reviews ** Clinical trials ** Economic analyses ** Experimental studies ** Qualitative studies ** Epidemiological studies ** Observational studies ** Case studies ** Narrative reviews The following types of studies are low priority: ** Studies of the reliability or validity of clinical measurement procedures ** Surveys of physiotherapy students ** Surveys of physiotherapy practice ** Any survey with low response rates (< 70%) The following types of studies are not accepted: ** Cochrane reviews ** Clinical practice guidelines ** Pilot studies * Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; ([dagger]) Mission of the New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy (revised 2005)(Abbott 2009); ([double dagger]) Journal of Physiotherapy website (APA 2010);
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|Author:||Abbott, J. Haxby|
|Publication:||New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2010|
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