Reflecting on the Future

Field-Fote, Edelle C. (Edee) PT, PhD; Editor-in-Chief

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: March 2012 - Volume 36 - Issue 1 - p 1–2
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e3182489a58
Editor's Note

Article Outline

Each year at the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), the JNPT Editors and Editorial Board host a session titled “Getting Published in JNPT.” The session is an opportunity for exchange among authors, reviewers, and the editors and editorial board members; the discussion is always lively and intriguing. Over the years, I have been impressed by the increasingly sophisticated questions posed by authors and potential authors. Accordingly, the quality and sophistication of manuscripts submitted to JNPT have increased as well. While the printed Instructions for Authors, by necessity, must focus on the more technical and administrative aspects of the article, the “Getting Published” session at CSM provides an opportunity to share information that will assist authors in developing a quality manuscript (and for the future, a quality study). If you did not have the opportunity to attend this year's session, I thought I would share with you some of the information from our review of the state of the journal.

No doubt you are already aware that JNPT has high standards of quality. Beyond peer review, quality is maintained through numerous other mechanisms, including adherence to standards recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. As an example of adherence to these standards, JNPT's Conflict of Interest Disclosure process has recently been updated based on recommendations of this group.1 The assessment of potential conflicts of interest is a complicated and, at times, controversial issue; we expect that the use of this standardized format will provide for more comprehensive reporting of real and apparent conflicts.

Perhaps the most important mechanism for maintaining journal quality is a rigorous, double-blinded, peer-review process. The JNPT community of readers, authors, reviewers, editorial board members, and editors comprises neurologic physical therapist clinicians and movement science research experts—a highly dedicated community that takes pride in the fact that JNPT is their journal. For this reason the reviewers have a strong dedication to the quality of journal content as evidenced by the consistently outstanding and detailed reviews intended to maximize the impact of the journal content. Please be sure to see, in this issue, the “Thank You” listing the more than 100 JNPT reviewers and editorial board members whose contribution of time and expertise was critical to the quality of the 2011 JNPT articles.

In the past 3 years, JNPT has published 67 articles, including 8 systematic reviews, 41 original research studies, 13 case studies, and 5 special interest articles. The systematic reviews and research articles represent a mix of randomized trials and pilot studies varying in strength from Level I to Level IV, and case studies representing Level V evidence (according to the Sackett scale2). The randomized trials represent studies of varying quality according to Physiotherapy Evidence Database Scale.3 While these days many journals decline to accept even well-executed case studies, the JNPT editorial board recognizes that these often contain details that are of value to clinical practice and can represent an important first step in answering a research question. In addition to the core article content, JNPT also offers digital media in the form of online videos, audio podcasts, journal clubs, and blogs intended to further the goal of translating knowledge from the bench to the bedside.

There are some noteworthy items on the JNPT docket for 2012 and beyond. The June issue will present a Special Issue on the use of cutting-edge technology in rehabilitation. In the current issue, there are 2 articles that serve as savory “appetizers” for that special issue, namely a research article by King et al, and a special interest article by Bowden et al, both of which highlight rehabilitation technology. Also in the coming year, JNPT will offer a new feature “Did You Know...?” that will provide a tidbit of information to briefly highlight an aspect of study design or research methodology that we hope will be of value to readers and future authors. As always we encourage you to visit the journal Web site, where, in addition to our standard features such as the special collections, journal archives (going back to 1992), and CSM abstracts, you can participate in the JNPT blog. Future blogs will be accompanied by a “quick poll,” wherein readers can respond to a short survey and learn how their opinions and practices compare with those of other readers. Please also remember that JNPT has multiple online resources available to assist authors in writing a strong manuscript, and these resources can also be helpful for readers who are interested in understanding the characteristics of a strong research article. In addition to the Instructions for Authors, and the Guidelines for Writing a Systematic Review, authors may find it valuable to read the Guidelines for Reviewers to better understand critical elements of a publishable manuscript.

We look forward to having you join us online. On behalf of the JNPT Editors and Editorial Board Members, I wish you a joyful and productive 2012!

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1. Drazen JM, de Leeuw PW, Laine C, et al. The Updated ICMJE conflict of interest reporting form. 7-1-2010. Int Committee Med J Ed. 2011:11–22.
2. Sackett DL, Strauss SE, Richardson WS, Rosenberg W, Haynes RB. Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone; 2000.
3. Maher CG, Sherrington C, Herbert RD, Moseley AM, Elkins M. Reliability of the PEDro scale for rating quality of randomized controlled trials. Phys Ther. 2003;83:713–721.
© 2012 Neurology Section, APTA