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OpenPhysio The Open-est Journal Of All

OpenPhysio Journal: Open Access, Immediacy, Transparency

In academia, the traditional publication model works something like this: academics conduct research and then write and review papers; librarians pay subscription fees to allow the same academics to get access to those papers; and governments and universities fund the research, pay the academics, and subsidise the cost of publication.

Finally, journals restrict access to those who who can afford to pay for it - so a lot of important information isn’t always available to those who can make the best use of it. Perhaps the worst example of this is when scientific advances are withheld from researchers in the developing world.

“It’s no wonder people are starting to ask why we’re paying the publishers anything at all,” says Michael Rowe, Associate Professor in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). “There is enough freely available, open source technology that means we can do things now with platform development and distribution that previously would have been technically challenging or prohibitively expensive.”

But Prof Rowe did more than just ask questions about the system - he joined in an effort to fix it, and make high-quality academic research freely available to all with as few barriers to access and dissemination as possible. As founding Editor of OpenPhysio, a new international open access, peer-reviewed academic journal with an emphasis on innovative approaches to teaching and learning in physiotherapy, he’s championing a new vision of academic publication.

OpenPhysio offers a unique opportunity to immediately share your findings with the world, without having to wait months (sometimes even years) before publication. The journal is financially and technically supported by Physiopedia, who cover the basic hosting and platform development costs. However, as with almost all journals, most of the heavy lifting is done for free by academics and researchers see their journal work as a scholarly contribution to the community.

There are four main things that OpenPhysio does differently than other journals:

  • Immediate publications: Articles are available almost immediately after submission, before peer review.
  • Peer review is open and transparent: Authors work together with peer reviewers, and reviews and author responses are published alongside the final article, together with digital object identifiers (DOIs) that make them citable objects.
  • You retain your intellectual property at no cost: OpenPhysio does not require authors to transfer copyright to the journal, and there are no page fees for published articles.
  • Internet first: Articles are downloadable as PDFs, but they are prioritised on the web with images, audio, tagging, hyperlinks and more.

“This represents what we think is a fundamental shift away from traditional ways of thinking about how we share knowledge,” Prof Rowe notes. “We’re looking for articles that deal broadly with issues of physiotherapy education at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, in either the classroom, or clinical or community context, and which make use of theory to support claims. We’d like to encourage critical and innovative positions that challenge current pedagogical practice.”

An Educational Journey

It’s been a long time coming.

“I’ve been thinking about starting a journal with an emphasis on physiotherapy education for a few years now - but I knew that I didn’t want to do anything that just reproduced what was already out there,” Prof Rowe comments. “In the last year or two we’ve seen a few changes in the professional community, as well as in the academic publishing space that made us think that now might be the right time to try something different in how we share research.”

Three other UWC professors are on the journal’s Editorial Board and Advisory Board. The team is excited to really push the boundaries of academic publication and do interesting things - while still making sure that they don’t lose the trust of the community by being too radical.

“It feels like the physiotherapy profession is coming around to the idea that teaching and learning is A Thing - and we’d like to encourage more clinicians to engage with pedagogical in the classroom, clinical and community contexts. So if you’re a physiotherapist interested in teaching and learning, we’d love it if you would consider OpenPhysio as a channel to share your ideas.”

Want to try your hand at a journal that truly thinks differently? OpenPhysio is now open for the submission of articles related to physiotherapy education. See the Author’s Guidelines and Submission Procedures for detailed information on the writing and submission processes.