O'Sullivan, Grace, New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy
Since taking over the role of Editor last year I have listened to various opinions regarding the purpose of the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy. It seems fitting as a new Editor to address that topic now. What is the role of our professional Journal? What content and professional standard is required?
The role of the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy is to represent our professional identity at national and international levels. In that context, it is about whatever you feel is important enough to share with others, be you practising clinician, academic or adult learner. Looking back over publications from the last four years I found a wide variety of topics covering various fields of practice. Included were articles on paediatrics, special education, community rehabilitation, mental health, geriatrics, evidence based practice, cultural and social issues. This diversity of topics symbolises the purpose of the Journal. That is, to offer the most up to date information, from national and international sources, by sharing knowledge, experience and reflections on occupational therapy practice.
To achieve its goal of extending the knowledge of occupational therapists the Journal is dependent on those people who take the time to write about practice and contribute to the professional development of others. There are many topics of professional interest that are in keeping with the Journal's principle of being grounded in practice. For example, reflective practice, innovative practice, theory in practice, research projects, current trends or emerging trends. When the Journal was re-published in March 2002, Editor Dr Samson Tse advocated that the three principles in the nations founding document--the Treaty of Waitangi--should guide the future direction of the Journal. They are the principles of Partnership, Participation, and Protection. As Samson said at that time,
there is a need for partnership among clinicians and members of the profession from academic and research fields. Partnership also extends across professional communities in New Zealand and overseas. To sustain the publication and quality of the Journal it is important to have full and active participation from individual members of the profession. To protect the credibility and advancement of occupational therapy as a profession in the new millennium, publication of good quality articles is a necessity not a luxury (p. 3).
The majority of articles published in the Journal come from academics in universities and post-graduate students. This is understandable if you keep in mind that lecturers are working towards creating an evidence base to inform their teaching. In addition, the New Zealand government identifies academics as having a responsibility to contribute to the knowledge base and has prioritized research involvement in tertiary sector funding. Thus the profession's need to generate knowledge to inform practice is supported at governmental level. To ensure the knowledge provided to students and therapists is of good quality, articles published in the New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy and other professional journals are peer reviewed. This means they are evaluated by experts in the field before being accepted for publication. Added to that, various organisations, including New Zealand's Ministry of Education, publish a list of journals endorsed as being of high scientific standard. The New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy appears on the Ministry of Education's annual list, thus acknowledging its quality. …