On the Demise of the Backlog and Other Reflections on the State of RQES
Fischman, Mark, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
In this, my last editorial as editor-in-chief of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (RQES), it is a good time to reflect on the past 3-plus years, which have been challenging, academically stimulating, and, for the most part, very gratifying. A number of developments have taken place with RQES since I began my term in September, 2009, and I will use this space to summarize them. Some alterations have been cosmetic, and others have made a significant difference in the journal's content and editorial operation.
* We reduced the number of RQES sections from 10 to 8, thereby sharpening the journal's focus. Along with this came a change in the "section editor" title to "associate editor," to reflect current industry standards.
* Research Notes now require abstracts. I believe this will improve access to these articles in major online databases, thus increasing their visibility and the likelihood that they will be cited. This revision was first implemented in the June 2012 issue, which contained two research notes with abstracts.
* Staying with the abstract theme, RQES now requires "structured" abstracts of up to 250 words with the following headings: Purpose, Method, Results, and Conclusion(s). The use of structured abstracts, while a significant departure from APA format, provides more information about the paper at a glance and is common among many of our peer research journals. The new format is required for both regular articles and research notes. This issue of RQES contains the first articles with a structured abstract (e.g., see pages 485 and 587 in this issue).
* We now require authors to include a brief section, up to 250 words, tided "What Does This Paper Add?" at the end of their manuscripts. This section is also conventional in many of our peer journals; its intent is to provide a key statement about the true impact of the work, whether theoretical or applied. Similar to the structured abstract, this section should help readers make an informed decision about the applicability of a paper to their interests. For example, see pages 496 and 590 in this issue.
* How many reference citations are absolutely essential for readers to understand the background and context of a study? Is it possible to "over cite" the literature? The RQES editorial board approved a cap of 35 primary references for empirical studies, with more allowed for reviews and meta-analyses.
By far, the biggest accomplishment in my term as editor-in-chief has been to reduce the backlog of accepted manuscripts awaiting publication. This issue has been the topic of previous editorials (Fischman, 2011, 2012; Williams, 2009) and has been problematic in various areas of journal production. When I became editor-in-chief, the backlog was over 80 manuscripts. As of this writing (December 3, 2012), it is down to 27, which includes 15 articles already scheduled for publication in the March 2013 issue. With the March issue, we will have achieved our goal of a 6-9 month publication lag from acceptance to publication.
While I would like to take credit for this remarkable progress, it is actually due to a number of factors. AAHPERD, our publisher, generously provided funds to produce several large-size issues to help reduce the backlog. …