I am sure you recall my message in the September-October issue where I announced that JSHAP was conducting a survey, and I asked readers to visit and complete the questionnaire on-line.1 Well, the survey closed late 2012 and I have had the opportunity to tabulate the responses. First of all, I would like to sincerely thank all of the respondents who took the time to complete the survey. We came just shy of matching the readership survey response rate in 2003 at ~39%. While I had hoped the response rate would have been better, we received some valuable information and suggestions. One recurring comment was the hope that the results be published. I do not have enough room in this editorial to share all the information, but I have selected some information that I hope you will find interesting.
Ninety-two percent of the respondents were members of the AASV, resulting in approximately 8% of responses being from non-members. I just want to remind you, however, that even though this is a high percentage of AASV members, the overall response rate was low. Please keep in mind that the opinions and responses reported here do not necessarily reflect the entire AASV membership or JSHAP readership. Regardless, I feel that the information is valuable.
Most respondents indicated that the journal or journal articles were accessed on-line but that they also enjoyed reading the journal in print form.
I was eager to see the responses for how often a reader read certain types of articles. Within this category, however, I am pleased to report that the different genres of peer-reviewed articles (literature review, original research, brief communication, case reports, diagnostic notes, commentary, production tool, and practice tips) were all well read and were felt to be valuable. Of the respondents, 100% (95% CI, 89.4%-100%) and 93.8% (95% CI, 79.2%-99.2%) reported they always or usually read original research articles and case reports, respectively. Similarly, 81.8% (95% CI, 67.1%-93.0%) and 78.7% (95% CI, 61.1%-91.0%) reported they always or usually read brief communications and literature reviews. But then I was dismayed to see that the articles that the largest number of readers indicated they “never read” were the messages from executives. Nine percent of respondents (95% CI, 2.0%-25.0%) reported they never read messages from executives – my messages are included in this section….how could this be? All joking aside, I hope that I can be creative, interesting, and thought provoking in my messages and contribute to the improvement of readership of these articles. Some interesting additional comments many readers provided in this area suggested that it is more the topic of the article that dictated if they read the section versus the genre itself. Results and comments were conflicting in the area of scientific appropriateness of manuscripts to the readership. Responses were split between keeping the journal articles very applied to that of seeking more science-based original research articles and demanding higher scientific rigor. I think the variability in these comments is a reflection of how diverse the readership population is and also a reflection of how challenging it can be to strike a balance between the different styles and types of information that the journal offers. Another recurring theme in this area was the suggestion to continually strive to expand JSHAP’s indexing to improve the overall impact factor of the journal.
We conducted a reviewer survey simultaneously, and again, I would like to thank those who took the time to respond. I will briefly share some information obtained from these slightly different surveys. For the reviewer survey, 65.5% of the respondents were AASV members, with low to moderate response rate. All reviewers indicated that the requested 3-week turn-around time was ample. However, most reviewers did comment that this can change from time to time depending on circumstances. I think this is an important issue to keep in mind when submitting manuscripts and waiting for reviews to return. Many factors are involved in receiving a review in a timely manner. Another constructive suggestion made by reviewers was to consider an on-line submission process, with the possible inclusion of on-line manuscript tracking. Most reviewers commented that they appreciated the opportunity to review and felt it was an important contribution to the body of knowledge.
The AASV and editorial board and staff of JSHAP value your input. Thank you to all who completed a survey. The journal editorial board and staff will be discussing the survey results in detail and will continue to strive for excellence.