Well, I have done it again. I woke up one morning with the “been there, done that” itch. I was near the end of my allotted business cards, because of my handing them out on the street corners, and I used that as a signal that it was time to change jobs. Because I could not find any open positions in rural Maine for a rocket scientist, and when my inquiries about the opportunity to become a financial advisor were received with chuckles (actually, outright laughter) when I had to admit to employers that I have not balanced my checkbook for more than 20 years, I had to take a few minutes to do some contemplation of what I want to be when I grow up (or, given my age, as I grow down). On further analysis, I realized that it was not my career that needed to change, but it was the physical setting that required new light. My introspection revealed that I do really enjoy the combination of the science of healing and the art of caring (I have a T-shirt that reminds me that is what physical therapy is all about), and so I decided to enter the world of home care physical therapy. I can help patients/clients become more able in their own home environment, while at the same time making use of the subwoofer and tweeter in my car while enjoying the scenery of my environment, and hopefully I will be able to get a picture of a moose by the side of the road. Every time I have changed jobs, and I have quite a few business cards, I have always felt as though my move was a move forward (I have seen that on T-shirts as well, although I do not own one).
As part of the theme of moving forward, Diane Borello-France, senior editor, and I have had several discussions regarding strategies to move the Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy (JWHPT) forward. Our ultimate goal is to bring the JWHPT to the level of science excellence that is required to submit an application for the JWHPT to be included in PubMed, which is the online version of Index Medicus. Because of the dedication of Diane, the associate editors, and the volunteer peer-reviewers, we have made progress toward that goal. However, we are not there yet.
Several of our immediate goals were derived from a document written by members of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, titled “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.”1 The stated purpose is of the document is “to review best practice and ethical standards in the conduct and reporting of research and other material published in medical journals, and to help authors, editors, and others involved in peer review and biomedical publishing create and distribute accurate, clear, unbiased medical journal articles.”
When a journal follows the outlined recommendations, an application can be made to be included on the list of journals that meet the guidelines. Toward that end, we will soon be instituting the following guidelines:
- The contributions of each author to each manuscript submitted will have to meet the 4 criteria outlined by the recommendations.
- All authors will receive correspondence regarding the submitted manuscript. Currently, we communicate only with the primary author.
- If an acknowledgement is published in the manuscript, permission to publish the name(s) will have to be documented in the acknowledgement.
- For each manuscript, the peer reviewers, editor, and members of the editorial board will define relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest.
- The author guidelines will state that all investigators keep their primary data and analytic processes for the published manuscript for at least 10 years.
- If the submitted manuscript includes information/data that has been previously published, the author(s) will have to provide a copy of the other work. According to the American Medical Association Manual of Style, one measure of nonacceptable duplication is that one article may not duplicate by 10% or more of the content of the other article.2
We discussed the steps to take to ensure that our journal meets the rigorous standards required for inclusion in PubMed. The process for application is outlined on the Web site for the National Library of Medicine (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/jsel.html). The application is reviewed by the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee and the decision is made by the Director of the National Library of Medicine. The Literature Selection Technical Review Committee meets 3 times per year and approximately 140 journals are reviewed for each meeting. Only approximately 15% are accepted. If the application is rejected, it must be 2 years before another application is submitted. It is my preference that we not apply until we are fairly confident about acceptance.
We have identified one major priority that we believe will help us on the journey toward PubMed indexing. We need more reviewers for the manuscripts submitted to the journal. We are relying on the same reviewers, and we are burning them out. With an increase in the number of reviewers, we may be able to increase JWHPT to 4 issues per year. Also, having more reviewers will allow us to get reviews back to authors with a faster turn-around time.
So, please consider this a callout for reviewers. Contact me and tell me about someone that you think would be a good reviewer. Contact me and tell me about your desire to become a reviewer. Please know that we have a statistician for the journal and so reviewers do not have to be statistically astute. We need individuals who have a good understanding of the content areas of women's health, as well as an understanding of the research process. We will train reviewers in what is expected for a good manuscript review. We need the assistance of many as we commit to providing practitioners with research evidence to guide efficient and effective treatments that will lead us to inclusion into the wonderful world of PubMed (no, I did not mean to say Club Med—although perhaps we can celebrate there in a couple years). I conclude by saying that sometimes it takes a village to be able to move forward. Please consider becoming a member of the village people so we can sing, “been there, done that” as we dance and wave our arms around.
Nancy C. Donovan, PT, PhD
1. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing and publication of scholarly work in medical journals. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine. http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/
. Accessed September 15, 2014.
2. American Medical Association. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 10th ed. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press; 2007:148.