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Terms of Reference for the Journal

The first terms of reference for the Journal were written in 1995.

Terms of Reference were written in 1995 - it was agreed to:-

  1. Provide triennially a Journal which was the official publication pertaining to professional and education aspects of the physiotherapy profession.
  2. The position of advertising manager could be held concurrently with that of editor or committee members.
  3. Appointments to the committee were to be made by the National Executive,  taking into account the academic and literary background and the general professional experience of nominees and volunteers.  The term of office for a volunteer to be 3 years with a maximum of 6 years.
  4. The Committee could communicate by meeting,  correspondence or teleconference.
  5. Duties of the Editor,  Committee and Advertising Manager were laid down.[1].

In line with modern methods it was agreed in July 1995 that the names of Society Officials published in the Journal should show first names in full rather than Mr. A or Mrs B for ease of communication.

Bryan Paynter stood down as Editor in February 1996,  to be succeeded by Sandra Bassett.  Lee Gardiner wrote a tribute to Bryan Paynter in 1996 mentioning his subtle wit hidden amongst superb prose.  This often contained an appropriate barb intended to remind readers of the necessities of the profession and professional relationships.  Some felt the literary style of the editorials were the best parts of the Journal.[2]

When Sandra Bassett was appointed Editor in 1996,  she also had the problem of finding suitable contributions,  not only from clinical practitioners,  but also with research and academic papers.  Sandra made the point that the New Zealand population is different to other countries,  and wondered how this affected physiotherapy treatments.[3].  A major problem in 1996 had been lack of suitable papers for publication,  though more were submitted later in the year.  There were also more papers written by overseas authors and physiotherapists being submitted,  which gave a broader perspective.  While Sandra was editor there was a trend towards review papers,  reflecting the increasing  numbers of people undertaking post-graduate study.  Many papers submitted had a professional practice bias towards them,  which demonstrated increasing awareness of the importance of this aspect of physiotherapy practice.  The clinical treatment notes were considered to be of value by practising physiotherapists.

Assistance from Wendy Cross of Australia was gratefully received in the form of guidelines used by paper reviewers and the Editorial Committee there.  National Office took over the role of advertising management when Sandra became editor.  Sandra continued to advertise for papers hoping to build up a bank of papers.  Poor grammar and construction of papers continued to be a problem.  During Sandra’s term as editor the Polish Physiotherapy Journal asked permission to reprint several articles in translated form,  in particular two by Sally Lockwood.

Following Sandra’s suggestion the Editorial Committee was enlarged in 1997.  New policies were implemented in 1997,  with the enlarged Committee meeting three times a year to coincide with the publication of the Journal.  The Terms of Reference were reformulated,  goals set and fulfilled.[4].  Individual responsibilities for Committee members in 1997 led to improvements in the presentation and dissemination of information.  A panel of independent paper reviewers was established;  a higher standard of reviewing led to a higher standard of papers being published.  Guidelines were developed for this review process so that it could be more consistent.  A list of reviewers was published in the Journal from August 1998.  In her 1997 editorials Sandra said in the April issue that the journal must publish single case reports and in August she stated that the format of the journal would not change.  Committee members took on individual responsibilities,  which led to improvement in the presentation of papers and the dissemination of information. 

1997 was a busy year,  with new policies implemented.  Since the start of 1997 the Committee met 3 times a year,  scheduled to coincide with the publication of the Journal.  Two were teleconferences and one face to face.  Terms of Reference have been reformulated,  goals set and fulfilled.  Committee members took on individual responsibilities,  which led to improvement in the presentation papers and the dissemination of information.  Tablet print continued[5].

The method of referencing changed in 1997 from the Vancouver method to American Psychological Association (APA)  This was commonly used by academic institutions with the guidelines readily available.  Since then the manuscript requirements have been printed in every issue of the Journal.  Though there was an increase in the number of papers presented for publication in 1997,  the editorial committee were still hoping for more contributions to build up a bank of papers.

With help from some SIGs the panel of reviewers was enlarged in 1997 and a policy was established for reviewers required - two for most types of paper submitted,  with the authors and reviewers remaining anonymous.  This higher standard of reviewing led to a higher standard of papers being published.  Guidelines were developed for this review process so that it could be more consistent.  A list of reviewers was published in the Journal from August 1998,  from this date no papers were accepted which did not conform to these requirements.  The Journal issue for August 1998 focused almost entirely on Paediatric Physiotherapy.  Abstracts of papers published were on the internet from 1998.

The increase in activity meant the workload for the editor increased,  which resulted in the role of the Editorial Committee becoming distinct from that of the editor.  From July 1998 the editor became responsible for the processing of papers submitted for consideration for publication,  and was therefore a Scientific Editor.  The Editorial Committee became responsible for the structure and content of the journal.  National Office took over more of the administrative duties of the Editor.

The role of Journal Editor was now more like a Scientific Editor (Sandra Bassett),  which allowed more time to be spent on the contents of the Journal.  Tablet print continued to print the Journal[6].  Sandra Bassett resigned in November 1998,  to be replaced as Scientific Editor by Sue Lord. 

Sue Lord recorded the strength of the editorial committee in April 1999 and the high skill level of paper reviewers.  Once again more papers were sought from members for submission to the Journal.

In her editorial to the April 1999 issue Sue Lord reported that she had skimmed issues of the Journal from 1940 until the present day to identify relevant articles for the Cochrane Collaboration,  and in doing so noted the evolvement of the profession over time.  She wrote:  “what was a courtly,  medically dominated profession is now one whose procedures are based on a selective,  physiotherapy led body of knowledge which has at its source both inductive and deductive practice”.  Sue Lord is keen to publish more clinical case reports in the journal and to assist and support first time authors who have vast clinical experience but often lack the confidence to write academically.

The Editorial Committee proposed in February 1999 that from the year 2000 the months of publication should be March,  July and November.  In 1999 the Journal would be published in April, July or August,  and November. Editors for a number of years have commented on material received from overseas which is not up to standard either in content or language,  and has therefore had to be rejected.

For many years an over-riding problem has been the low number of acceptable contributions.  Physiotherapy researchers in New Zealand prefer to submit their work to high profile journals abroad which command an extensive readership.  Whilst this is perfectly understandable,  it results in a catch 22 situation for the journal,  which relies on contributions from highly reputable authors.  This ongoing conflict renders the task of improving the standard of the journal somewhat challenging.

[1] Executive Minutes 17/19 - 2 - 95

[2] Newsletter July 1996 page 3

[3] Editorial April 1996

[4] Annual Report  1996 page 6

[5] Annual Report  1997 page 6

[6] Annual Report  1997 page 6

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