Many journals establish and publish the criteria surrounding the scope of their journal. As an editor, I have a good understanding of what scope means in reference to the scope of a journal, but I wondered what the dictionary would say, so I dusted off my dictionary and looked it up. According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, scope is derived from the Italian word “scopo,” which means aim or purpose.1 There is also the Latin root “skopeo, which means “to look out for.” I consider the scope of a journal to be the extent of coverage of a subject area that the journal choses to focus on. The scope of the Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP) has always been to have an applied focus as it relates to commercial swine health and production. Having an applied focus is what makes our publication accessible to the busy veterinary swine practitioner. Earlier this year the journal updated our Web site and included a more detailed description of the scope of JSHAP. If you haven’t had a chance to see this description (available at https://www.aasv.org/shap.html), I have provided it here (emphasis added):
The Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP) is an open-access and peer-reviewed journal published by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) since 1993. The aim of the journal is the timely publication of peer-reviewed papers with a scope that encompasses the many domains of applied swine health and production, including the diagnosis, treatment, management, prevention, and eradication of swine diseases, welfare and behavior, nutrition, public health, epidemiology, food safety, biosecurity, pharmaceuticals, antimicrobial use and resistance, reproduction, growth, systems flow, economics, and facility design. The journal provides a platform for researchers, veterinary practitioners, academics, and students to share their work with an international audience. The journal publishes information that contains an applied and practical focus and presents scientific information that is accessible to the busy veterinary practitioner, as well as to the research and academic community. Hence, manuscripts with an applied focus are considered for publication, and the journal publishes original research, brief communications, case reports/series, literature reviews, commentaries, diagnostic notes, production tools, and practice tips. All manuscripts published in JSHAP are peer-reviewed.
I occasionally have an author contact me to see if their work (and manuscript) is within the scope of our journal. Sometimes a brief description of the topic area and the general message in the manuscript is all that is needed for confirmation. But if it is still unclear whether their manuscript is within our scope, I usually encourage them to send it to the journal office for pre-screening. This pre-screen can save considerable time and effort that is appreciated by both the authors and potential reviewers. If the work is not applicable to our journal scope, then this saves the author time in waiting for a full review and allows them to instead send their work to a journal with a better fit. If the manuscript is within the scope of JSHAP, then the manuscript goes on for full peer review.
The description above of the scope of JSHAP also includes the terms “open access” and “peer-reviewed.” The term open access, in reference to JSHAP, means that you do not need to buy a subscription to have access to the online scientific publications and that anyone can freely access our publications online. As members of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) know, the print subscription is included with AASV membership or, alternatively, it can be purchased separately. To freely access JSHAP online follow the link https://www.aasv.org/shap/issues/. The JSHAP also does not charge author publications fees. For some journals, publication fees can be quite high, in the area of thousands of dollars, but the strength of the AASV membership and Industry Support Council allows us to keep publication fees transferred to authors at $0. In a previous editorial, I have described the peer-review process for manuscripts submitted to JSHAP.2 The peer-review process at JSHAP is a thorough procedure that requires input from many individuals, such as numerous reviewers, editorial board members, and journal staff. As I have highlighted in another editorial,2 this detailed oriented process is critical in order to maintain the integrity of peer-reviewed publications. For questions regarding the scope of JSHAP or to ask if your work is within our journal scope, please do not hesitate to contact the journal office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Mish F, editor in chief. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2003:1113.
2. O’Sullivan T. The peer-review process [editorial]. J Swine Health Prod. 2013;21:299.