A new era for The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association starts on Jan. 1, 2021. Next month, the journal will transition to an online-only, open access publication and change its name to Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (JOM, or “JOMed”). The journal is also now partnered with de Gruyter, a major academic publisher of journals and books.
“In making these changes, the journal is aiming to continue its mission of providing a home for all research conducted about the osteopathic medical profession,” says Melissa Schmidt, MEd, director of JOM.
In this edited Q&A, Schmidt explains how the improvements to the journal will impact its accessibility and publishing procedures, and what authors and readers can expect from the revamped journal.
What does the new name, Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, represent?
We wanted to ensure that both the material published in the official journal of osteopathic medicine and the name carried by the journal accurately reflected the full breadth of the distinctive practice of osteopathic medicine. DOs practice in all specialties, from primary care to surgical subspecialties, and the new name signals that broad scope.
It also more accurately and readily communicates to our authors, our readers, and the general public what type of research we publish, with “osteopathic medicine” proudly noted in the title.
What does open access publishing mean, and what are the benefits of it for JOM, researchers and authors?
Open access means that everything we publish will be publicly available. This format is at the forefront of publishing in the world of medical journals, especially those that feature NIH-funded research. We are looking to the future and providing equitable, free, and expansive public access to the literature which speaks to the value of osteopathic medicine.
Open access allows us to promote and protect the profession by more widely distributing the best of what DOs do and getting the word out about the most cutting-edge research happening in the profession.
Authors benefit because they’ll be able to send a link to their non-DO health care colleagues or family who could not necessarily access their work previously, when the JAOA was restricted only to members and subscribers. Now, there will be a much broader audience because of the AOA’s commitment to making the journal more accessible. In that way, authors can expect their research and publications to have greater impact.
What went into the decision to go online-only, and what are the benefits for JOM?
Most AOA members have expressed that they preferred reading the journal online, where there’s more interactive content, like videos and links; fewer than 4% of AOA members were still receiving print copies in 2020, most having opted out of receiving the print version.
Eventually, we’d love for more authors to submit procedural or technical videos when they submit an article that describes any kind of procedure, technique or clinical intervention. We hope to publish more raw research data appendices as well, which isn’t always possible with print constraints. Now, if authors have large tables or data sets they want to share with readers, we’d easily be able to publish those alongside the article.
Perhaps most importantly for both authors and readers, we will be able to publish research much faster as a result of going online-only, coupled with our improved peer review processes and procedures. You can now get a first decision on a manuscript within 30 days, and we aim for more expeditious “online first” and preprint publishing options.
JOM also has DO Section Editors to do peer review for a variety of topic categories. What are those new categories, and how has this changed the journal?
We now have 10 Section Editors specializing in the following areas: Behavioral Health, Cardiopulmonary Medicine, Innovations, Medical Education, Musculoskeletal Medicine, Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Primary Care and Public Health.
Each of these Section Editors is a DO who works in the “domain area” they are assigned to oversee, which means they can and will select the most relevant and high-quality material to publish. For authors, that will mean more valid and efficient reviews. DOs can be assured that when they submit their manuscript, an expert in their specific field will review it.
Overall, these changes will make the journal more relevant and meaningful to readers because they’ll be able to easily find content that is applicable to their clinical interests, which is another benefit of digital publication. Even if you’re not searching for something specific, there’s a topic section on the website where you can easily find everything we’ve published in the last 50 years on that particular topic.
For comments or questions, contact Melissa Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.