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The NZ Journal of Physiotherapy

Starting a journal was first discussed in 1928, but not pursued because of the cost. As an alternative space was sought first in the British Medical Journal and then in the Nursing Journal, but nothing came of either scheme.

TAGS: journal, physiotherapy, 1938

Starting a journal was first discussed in 1928,  but not pursued because of the cost.  As an alternative space was sought first in the British Medical Journal and then in the Nursing Journal,  but nothing came of either scheme.

Wellington members produced the first journal in September 1938,  with £2.10. given by each branch to start it off.  Five hundred copies were printed and an extra 1/- (increased to 3/- the next year) added to capitation.  Different people in Wellington produced the journal until 1942,  when it was rotated to other branches.  This haphazard procedure worked reasonably well,  though changes of editorship meant loss of information.  Otago Branch drew up a set of rules in 1952,  which made the incoming editor’s job easier.

Two non-practising physiotherapists were editors until 1956 when a professional editor Mr. Smith from Editorial Services was appointed for a fee of 75 guineas a year.  He did much for the Journal putting it on a sound financial basis,  but experienced difficulties over the material.(Because of his lack of knowledge about physiotherapy).  It was decided in 1961 to have an Editorial Committee of physiotherapists living in Wellington,  which operated under the leadership of Glen Park with each branch having a sub-editor.

In its first years the Journal was financed from the Association’s general funds and was financially precarious.  In 1949 a separate account was operated with losses made up by Council.  Because the circulation was so limited advertisements were hard to come by,  but a few firms gave their support[1].

June Gardiner with Christchurch physiotherapists took over the editorship in 1964 until 1973.  The question of a possible third issue was discussed,  perhaps in the form of a post conference issue,  but not pursued.  It was suggested branches could finance this.  June Gardiner and her Editorial Committee had been producing the journal for 9 years in September 1973 and felt it was time for a change[2].  Indexing of the journal was first discussed in June 1976 when B. Millar advised that the librarian at the ATI had offered to index the journal.  It was decided in September 1976 that the journal should be indexed after every 10th publication.  It was also agreed in June 1976 that 300 copies should be sent to WCPT,  and M. Lamont suggested sending journals to the 4 main newspapers should continue [3].  By March 1977 M.Gibson Smith had completed the cumulative index for volumes 3 & 4.  It was resolved that printing costs should come from the Journal Funds of the Society[4].

A new Auckland Committee was appointed in September 1974 - Miss Simmers,  Mrs. P.Barfoot, Mrs.S.Simcock,  Barbara Miller.  Michael Lamont was advertising manager but resigned in March 1975.

New Editor Pen Simmers wrote an editorial to the NZJP for November 1976 pointing out that it was important for members to share their knowledge by writing for the Journal,  in this way staff in larger hospitals could share their knowledge with those in smaller centres.  In the same issue Margaret Gibson Smith (Librarian Auckland Technical Institute) wrote an article about the best way to use a library.  She felt this was important if you did not want 30 years experience to be one year’s experience repeated 30 times [5].  Pen Simmers retired in December 1978.  Finding another editor proved to be a very difficult problem with no offers at all.  Michael Lamont offered to organise a group to look after the Editorship of the journal in December 1978.  This reformed Committee continued in Auckland in 1979 with Michael Lamont as Editor,  Barbara Miller,  Ace Neame and Don McKenzie.

From September 1979 there were 3 issues annually.  Advertising rates in February 1980 were $100 a page.  The lack of an Advertising Manager caused problems until Margaret Jack was appointed in November 1980.

Canterbury Branch suggested changes to the Journal in August 1981[6] - including letters to the editor,  news and views from within the Society,  and formal acknowledgment of articles and book reviews. 

The issue of an editor was still not resolved in December 1981 when Gay Wood’s offer to be Editor, with a Committee of 6 people was accepted. There was a lot of difficulty producing the journal in 1982 and 1983.  In October 1982 the General Secretary reported that he had completely lost touch with the editor,  and there had been no journal in 1982,  with complaints coming in.  By December Mrs. Wood said that the first journal was being proof read with Journal 2 near compilation stage.  M.Lamont offered to take them to Auckland to get the three editions for 1982 published[7].

There were 6 issues of the Journal in 1983,  3 for 1982,  and 3 for 1983.  Much of this was due to the work of Margaret Gibson-Smith,  with Margaret Jack advertising Editor.[8].  Despite one of the objectives for 1983 being to put the Journal on a firm footing problems continued[9].  The debate was whether there should be a paid editor,  something Wellington branch were strongly in favour of. 

Wellington branch set up a working party in October 1983 and felt an Honorary Editor (physiotherapist) should work with a professional firm to take over the technical side of the job.  The editor should have power to co-opt,  and be paid a significant honorarium.  The editor would receive papers and refer papers to referees for examination of physiotherapy content  Advertising Revenue should off set production costs of the Journal.[10].

Michael Lamont with assistance from Margaret Gibson Smith continued to produce the Journal publishing it in Auckland.

It was decided to write to Mr. Lowdon to ask him if he would like to work co-operatively with the editor as a try out of what he might expect.  By November 1983 the journal was with the printer and Mr. Lowdon had taken over from Mrs. M.Gibson Smith.  At the 1984 annual general meeting Mr. Lowdon was confirmed as Editor with Margaret Jack as Advertising Manager.  Rocky Lowdon continued for three years and produced ten issues.  The cost of the News and Views section was queried in September 1984,  and stopped meantime[11].

A Journal Committee of three people to assist the editor in the selection and reading of papers was formed in May 1984,  with one additional person appointed to prepare intra profession public relations material.  Branch representatives were discontinued.  Rocky Lowdon felt this Editorial Committee would broaden the depth of input in future journals[12].  The number of articles and the content standard improved in 1986,  the main headache being contributors’ lack of knowledge of the whole editorial process. 

Rocky Lowdon wrote an editorial in 1986 about problems when authors reacted to criticism of their papers.  These comments were meant to be constructive comment,  not a personal attack[13].  L.M.Davids wrote an article in 1985 calculated to encourage new journal contributions.  “I’m not good enough to write in the Journal”[14].

The whole question of the production and costing of the journal was reviewed in March 1986,  with the Journal Committee being given responsibility to choose the publishing company - a Dunedin firm Rogan Print of Dunedin were chosen in July 1986.  It was agreed to move the news and views from the journal and place them in the Newsletter.

Margaret Jack resigned in Jan 1986,  with a resultant decline in advertising,  showing the importance of a skilled advertising manager.  Increasing the advertising content reduced the Society’s financial contribution to the Journal. 

In October 1986 the printing firm agreed to take over the advertising on a trial basis.  There was very little advertising following this trial,  and an advertisement was placed in the journal seeking applications from interested members,  with some remuneration involved[15].  In 1986 the number of articles and the content standard improved.  The main headache was the contributor’s lack of knowledge of the whole editorial process[16].

When Bryan Paynter sent the National Executive a letter concerning the standard of English in Annual Reports in 1986 he was asked whether because of his interest in this area he would consider being editor of the Journal.  This did happen in 1987 when he was appointed editor after a year on the editorial committee.  The Committee was working well in April 1987,  and the position of Advertising Manager was offered to B. Paynter.  Journal subs in 1987 were $40 Overseas, $35 + GST in NZ.  

As well Bryan held the position of Advertising Manager.  It was agreed to have two advertising rates - professional and commercial[17].  Bryan Paynter was editor for nine years,  with varying numbers of contributions offered.  He had difficulty in 1987 getting enough contributions,  a function of our small population and membership.  Some years (1988) there was an increase in suitable contributions,  other years there were not enough.  Problems with construction and grammar were common. 

In February 1988 the function of the Editorial Committee was discussed and a meeting was held in August to discuss the mechanism of generating papers,  vetting papers to maintain standards,  and indexing was discussed.  In creasing costs of the journal were a concern in July 1988.  Quotes from round NZ were gathered in September and in December 1988 a quotation was accepted from another printer in the Dunedin area.

In several Annual Reports Bryan made a plea for more clinical treatment notes,  and more accounts of unusual professional experiences overseas or in NZ.  Bryan hoped for more letters to the editor,  but despite a policy of printing fairly provocative editorials no great debate arose.

The Committee revised the “Uniform requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals”  which was published annually from August 1988 until 1996.  To encourage general interest contributions as well as full research papers potential contributors were advised of three levels of formality of communication,  according to the nature of subject material.  An editorial requested contributors to write in good plain English.

Contributions and letters to the Editor showed that the Journal was read overseas.  Brief indexes to material published overseas were introduced.[18]  The index feature “In other Journals” created interest in 1989,  with a change of layout in 1990.  A new printer in Dunedin -the NZ Tablet -was chosen in 1989. 

Some contributions came from overseas in 1990,  most were published.  There were no changes in layout apart from the layout of “In other Journals”.  Articles were listed according to the contents page of the particular issue of the particular journal.  The printer continued to be very good.  Advertising was an acceptable volume,  having increased by 20% during 1990[19].

In 1992 the French Journal Kineseitherapie Scientifique requested and were cordially granted permission to reprint in translation two articles first published in the New Zealand Journal.  Advertising also fluctuated,  some long term advertisers left in 1989,  but others took their place.  Grateful thanks were given to Spinal Publications and The New Zealand Back Foundation for their loyal advertising for a number of years.  Advertising of products diminished in 1992,  recruitment agencies offering overseas positions in the United Kingdom,  the United States,  and Saudi Arabia accounted for increasingly more space sold.  This trend continued in subsequent years.  The Committee had occasional meetings,  often by teleconference.  Those helping Bryan in these years were Michael Lamont,  Janet Hanger,  Jane Baker,  Paul Kelly,  Susan Bassett and Robin Grote.  Committee member Mark Steptoe’s death in 1991 was keenly felt as a great loss,  Joy Tedder and Suzanne Georgantis of National Office gave great support.

1993 was a stable and fruitful year.  There was a sudden and heartening increase in contributions in late 1993,  it was particularly encouraging to receive material from SIGs,  and several submissions from overseas.  The committee hoped for more letters to the Editor,  more informally presented treatment notes,  and more accounts of unusual professional experiences overseas or in NZ.  Advertising remained reasonably satisfactory in volume,  again product promotion was secondary to recruitment material.  Rates were increased by 25 %.[20]

1994 was also a stable year for the journal.  Contributions plentiful,  rejection rate low.  A predominance of research and clinical papers offered,  expressions of personal opinion,  whether as articles or letters to the editor,  were few,  as were accounts of experience in overseas countries or unusual fields of endeavour.  Publishers were generous with books for review,  most Bryan did himself.  Advertising was adequate.  Still more recruiting for overseas.

Thanks to Michael Lamont and Sandra Bassett.  Tablet Publishing company still being used[21].

There was a shortage of contributions in 1995,  especially for December.  The membership seemed to think that only full research papers were acceptable,  despite continued plea for clinical notes,  personal professional observations;   personal professional experiences  Advertising steady - mostly overseas recruiting;  last year as editor, Tablet publishing good.[22]


[1] Golden Jubilee Enid Anderson page 72

[2] Executive Minutes September 1973

[3] Executive Minutes June 1976

[4] Executive Minutes March 1977

[5] NZJP November   1976 page 18

[6] Executive Minutes  1-8-81

[7]Executive Minutes December 1982

[8] Annual Report 1983

[9] Annual general meeting 12-2-83

[10] Executive Minutes October 1983

[11] Executive minutes September 1984

[12] Executive minutes  21-7-84

[13] NZJP  April 1986 page 1

[14] NZJP August 1985 page 10

[15] Annual Report 1986 page 5  

[16] Annual Report  1986

[17] Executive minutes  26-6-87

[18] Annual Report  1988 page 5

[19] Annual Report  1990 page 5

[20] Annual Report  1993 page 5

[21] Annual Report  1994 page 6

[22] Annual Report  1995 page 8

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