In the three years since I became editor of the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy (NZJOT), I have been on a valuable learning curve albeit more challenging than required at times. In coming to terms with the role of editor, my goal has been to ensure that the criterion set by previous editors is being maintained and improved. To this end, I try to keep up with the changes that occur in standards of publishing and in the technology used by authors, editors and publishers. Because written language also changes, so too does the form of presenting manuscripts. For this reason the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists (NZAOT) will review the Journal protocols in respect of the standard required for publications. The aim is to ensure that my goals are aligned to those of NZAOT, and the content of the journal is aligned to that of Journals published internationally while maintaining our unique identity.
When considering style requirements for the Journal in 1991, the editor Clare Hocking, adopted those contained in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Consistency of presentation and format within and across journal articles is an aspect of publishing that enables readers to judge the quality of the material presented. Similarly, standardization facilitates clear communication of new ideas and research, and allows linkages across articles and across publishers (APA, 2001). This is why authors submitting manuscripts for publication in NZJOT are expected to conform to APA format.
Specifically with reference to research, one of the issues that often occurs is manuscripts are submitted as research without the standard headings for research as outlined in APA (2001, p.7). Headings for a research article should include an introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, and discussion. Alternatives are sometimes acceptable, but unusual, as the research design helps to establish the rigour of the research process. For all things there is a reason and in this instance the rigor of the study design informs the reader of the reliability and validity of the research findings. No amount of writing skill will disguise poor research.
In contrast to scientific research and other categories which require academic knowledge, the Journal will publish a new category for articles grounded in practice. Articles in this category: Practice Reality will not require the same exacting academic standard. Rather the style of writing will facilitate clear communication of practice based knowledge. The rules for preparation of manuscripts will remain the same i.e. APA format because the style is used by other professional journals and is therefore familiar to a wider audience.
To assist authors in the preparation and submission of manuscripts the Guidelines to Authors is published in every edition of NZJOT. …