OpenPhysio is published by Physiopedia in London, UK.
We started OpenPhysio because we saw a need for a new kind of publishing mechanism for physiotherapy education and because we thought that we had something to offer our community. This page is where we highlight some of the ideas that have influenced our process and design choices in creating OpenPhysio.
OpenPhysio is a developmental journal, aimed at novice authors who don’t have much publishing experience, and physiotherapy educators who are passionate about teaching and learning but don’t have a background in educational research. We think it’s important to provide a space for educators to share their ideas, no matter what their p value is. We also welcome novice reviewers who may not be familiar with peer review in general but especially those who have not had their reviews published. There’s safety in anonymity and to have your critical feedback published alongside the article is not an easy thing to do. We are committed to ensuring that all authors and reviewers who would like to contribute to the journal will find it to be a safe and welcoming community, regardless of their level of experience.
Bespoke publication platform
We’re using WordPress, an open source blogging platform, to build a bespoke publication system rather than something like Open Journal Systems or Editorial Manager. Traditional publishing systems are built around a traditional workflow that makes certain assumptions about how academic research is reviewed and published. We wanted to make sure that those assumptions didn’t influence our process and so we opted for an open system that we can modify in order to ensure that our workflow reflects our values and beliefs. For example, traditional publication platforms don’t allow reviews to be made public and published alongside the final article. Since we think that this is an essential component of our journal, we needed a system that would enable it.
OpenPhysio works on a rolling publication model, which means that articles are published when they are ready and not as editions that are based on an arbitrary cycle. This has several implications for authors:
- It is more efficient because articles are published more
quickly,since we do not have to wait for the edition to be ready.
- Altmetrics, a collection of emerging indicators of relevance and influence are focused at the level of the article, not the journal. This means that it is the unit of the article that matters, rather than the journal or edition.
- Academics care about articles, not journals. Few readers browse through entire journals looking for something specific. Databases and keyword searches have largely eliminated the need to go to the journal first.
- The Editorial Board do not have deadlines to meet so there is less pressure on the Editor and reviewers to get articles ready on time. We prefer to release articles when they are ready, rather than rush to publish by a certain date.
While this approach brings a host of benefits it also makes some things more difficult. For example, the ability to present additional information about an article (the metadata) is something that readers expect, but which requires us to build customised layouts that are not readily built into a blogging platform. Because we don’t charge anyone anything to publish or read articles in OpenPhysio, it means that all of these developments are essentially labours of love. We won’t compromise on our principles so we need to find other compromises that we can live with. Taking more time to develop our technical infrastructure is one of those compromises.