Quality and impact of occupational therapy journals: Authors' perspectives

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With increasing pressure for academic accountability, there is a need for the profession to consider the quality and impact of its journals. This seems even more pressing because few occupational therapy journals have an impact factor, which has become synonymous with quality. By surveying authors of papers in occupational therapy journals, this study aimed to determine their perceptions of indicators of journal quality and ratings of 19 occupational therapy journals on these indicators and to have them provide a global rating for non-occupational therapy journals.


Authors of papers in peer-reviewed occupational therapy journals between 2003 and 2005 were invited to complete an online survey. Of 554 authors, 184 (33%) responded. Most respondents were female (91%); over 40 years of age (78%); from the USA (29%), Canada (17%), Australia (16%), UK (16%) or Sweden (10%); had PhDs or professional doctorates (55%); and were academics (53%). The majority (63%) had published between 0 and two papers per year over the previous 3 years.


The top five quality indicators rated as very important were reputation/prestige of the journal, availability, rigour and quality of the manuscript review process, timeliness of review and publication, and impact on policy/practice. Six journals were rated high by respondents across most quality indicators (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, and Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy).


The results are discussed in terms of promoting research and scholarship within academic institutions that are influenced by measures of research productivity and quality. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are included.

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