Categories
Publication research

Call for papers – Towards a new normal in physiotherapy education

By responding to this global disruption, we are placed in a situation where we are having to rethink our approaches to physiotherapy education. All over the world physiotherapy educators are engaged in what is possibly the most extensive programme of pedagogical change in our professional history. We see colleagues responding with creativity, empathy and flexibility, creating a unique opportunity for us to capture and share what may be a series of transformative changes in physiotherapy education at a global scale.

I’m excited to announce that OpenPhysio has put out a call for papers aimed at learning how colleagues from around the world are responding to the changes they’re currently experiencing within their professional programmes. We’re interested in the changes currently underway that have the potential to transform physiotherapy education, both in the short- and long-terms.

Submissions should be short (1500-2000 words) research reports or notes with a clear problem, a maximum of 3-5 citations, early findings (even if only in the form of observations), and provide a single focused recommendation.

You can find out more about the call on the OpenPhysio website.

Categories
research writing

#APAperADay: Twelve tips for getting your manuscript published.

Cook, D. A. (2016). Twelve tips for getting your manuscript published. Medical Teacher, 38(1), 41–50.


I went through this article to present it for discussion at our departmental journal club meeting last week. It’s a useful review paper for anyone interested in academic publishing, especially novice authors who may not have much experience preparing manuscripts for submission.


Getting the manuscript ready

1. Plan early to get it out the door. Write regularly – even if it’s for shorter periods – because it’s hard to find large blocks of time, which means that you don’t write very often. Set clear, concrete goals because otherwise you end up doing lots of reading and editing but don’t put words on the page. Refine in stages, perhaps initially using a rough outline where the argument can be presented and seen all at once, before expanding points into sentences, then paragraphs, and finally into sections.

2. Address authorship and writing group expectations up front. Deciding the order and contributions of each author is important to do early on in the process. See the ICMJE guidelines on defining the role of authors. The main point to take away is that, in order to be listed as an author, an intellectual contribution to the paper (which is different to the project) is necessary.

3. Maintain control of the writing. There needs to be one person who drives the process and ensures that editing of the manuscript is controlled. The author suggests having one master document that only they have access to, with other authors submitting changes on separate documents. This might be less important with the version control and change tracking that’s built into current collaborative writing platforms e.g. Google Docs.

4. Ensure complete reporting. Find out what reporting guidelines exist for your specific type of study design e.g. SR, RCT, qualitative research, etc. Note that the title can be thought of as part of the reporting something to the reader; t’s the one thing that every reader will actually read. The introduction provides context, a conceptual framework, literature review, problem statement and then the question or aim. The Discussion should be focused and informative, leaving out what is not really necessary. It might follow this structure: summary, limitations, integration with prior work, implications for practice or research.

5. Use electronic reference management software. You can do this manually but, after the initial setup of your resource library, using management software is far more efficient. There are two additional reasons to use software; citations can be reformatted into different styles, new citations can be inserted without having to renumber everything else. Don’t capture sources into your library by hand as this can introduce errors; use the software to import from PubMed and journals directly. Mendeley is popular, as is Endnote. I use Zotero, which is an excellent open source programme.

6. Polish carefully before you submit. Make sure that there are as few spelling, grammatical, typographical, punctuation and style errors as possible in the manuscript before you submit. It’s important to be consistent in your editing across all of the above e.g. UK vs US English, different heading styles for first level headings, inconsistent citation formatting, etc. will all suggest to the Editor that you’re not paying attention to the small things.

7. Select the right journal. Who will be reading the journal? There’s no point aiming for a high impact journal if their audience won’t be interested in your work. Review the journal aim and scope, instructions for authors, or even contact the Editor and ask if they think that your topic and question would be of interest to the journal’s audience. Try to evaluate your own work objectively, possibly by comparing it to a few papers from the journal you’re aiming for, and ask if it would fit alongside those articles. All metrics used to evaluate the “quality” of a journal are flawed.

8. Follow journal instructions precisely. Editors may desk reject (i.e. not even send out for review) articles where authors have disregarded the instructions. There are often a variety of other items that need to accompany the article e.g. cover letter (topic, aim, implications), disclosures, conflict of interest statements, authorship, possible reviewers, funding, and ethics clearance. It can take surprisingly long to gather this additional information.

When you are rejected (and you will be rejected)

9. Get it back out the door quickly. There’s no value in delaying it because your feelings are hurt. Try to remember that everyone gets rejected. It may be helpful to have a list of other journals you will submit to if the article is rejected. It is not helpful to argue with the Editor.

10. Take seriously all reviewer and editor suggestions. Even though you are obviously not required to use the feedback, you should at least pay it some attention. The author suggests a rubric for deciding what comments to pay attention to: essential, high-yield, easy and useful, other.

When you are invited to revise and resubmit

It’s unlikely that you will ever have an article accepted without having to make any changes.

11. Respond carefully to every suggestion, even if you disagree. I agree with the first part of this, “respond carefully”. However, the second part seems to suggest that you should make the suggested changes, even if you disagree. The author even says that the “reviewers are always right”. I disagree and will almost always stand my ground on points that I feel don’t need to be changed. I’ll sometimes spend 2-3 times longer arguing for why the change shouldn’t be made, than it would’ve taken to just edit the text. However, I will clarify the writing to ensure that other readers don’t make the same mistake that the reviewer made. You do need to respond to every comment though, ensuring that you’re respectful in your responses. Whatever you think of the actual feedback, someone has taken the time to read and comment on your work. Make sure that you follow the journal instructions for how to edit and resubmit your article.

12. Get input from others as you revise. It’s especially useful to have someone else go over your response to the reviewers. It may also be useful to contact the Editor directly; they have asked you to resubmit so obviously think that your work has merit.

9 (revisited). Get it back out the door quickly. When asked to resubmit, unless the reviewers are suggesting major changes, it might be worthwhile dropping everything else and focusing on making the changes.

There is a little more than a page devoted entirely to a series of tips for effective tables and figures (pg. 5-6).

Table 3 (pg. 8-9) includes examples of different kinds of reviewer comments, with appropriate responses.


Note: I’m the Editor at OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
reading research

#APaperADay – Conceptual frameworks to illuminate and magnify

Bordage, G. (2009). Conceptual frameworks to illuminate and magnify. Medical Education, 43(4), 312–319. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03295.x

Conceptual frameworks represent ways of thinking about a problem or a study, or ways of representing how complex things work the way they do.


A nice position paper that emphasises the value of conceptual frameworks as a tool for thinking, not only more deeply about problems, but more broadly, through the use of multiple frameworks applied to different aspects of the problem. The author uses three examples to develop a set of 13 key points related to the use of conceptual frameworks in education and research. The article is useful for anyone interested in developing a deeper approach to project design and educational research.

Frameworks inform the way we think and the decisions we make. The same task – viewed through different frameworks – will likely have different ways of thinking associated with it.

Frameworks come from:

  • Theories that have been confirmed experimentally;
  • Models derived from theories or observations;
  • Evidence-based practices.

We can combine frameworks in order for our activities to be more holistic. Educational problems can be framed with multiple frameworks, each providing different points of view and leading to different conclusions/solutions.

Like a lighthouse that illuminates only certain sections of the complete field of view, conceptual frameworks also provide only partial views of reality. In other words, there is no “correct” or all-encompassing framework for any given problem. Using a framework only enables us to illuminate and magnify one aspect of a problem, necessarily leaving others in the dark. When we start working on a problem without identifying our frameworks and assumptions (can also be thought of as identifying our biases) we limit the range of possible solutions.

Authors of medical education studies tend not explicitly identify their biases and frameworks.

The author goes on to provide three examples of how conceptual frameworks can be used to frame various educational problems (2 in medical education projects, 1 in research). Each example is followed by key points (13 in total). In each of the examples, the author describes possible pathways through the problem in order to develop different solutions, each informed by different frameworks.

Key points (these points make more sense after working through the examples):

  1. Frameworks can help us to differentiate problems from symptoms by looking at the problem from broader, more comprehensive perspectives. They help us to understand the problem more deeply.
  2. Having an awareness of a variety of a conceptual frameworks makes it more likely that our possible solutions will be wide-ranging because the frameworks emphasise different aspects of the problem and potential solution.
  3. Because each framework is inherently limited, a variety of frameworks can provide more ways to identify the important variables and their interactions/relationships. It is likely that more than one framework is relevant to the situation.
  4. We can use different frameworks within the same problem to analyse different aspects of the problem e.g. one for the problem and one for the solution.
  5. Conceptual frameworks can come from theories, models or evidence-based practices.
  6. Scholars need to apply the principles outlined in the conceptual framework(s) selected.
  7. Conceptual frameworks help identify important variables and their potential relationships; this also means that some variables are disregarded.
  8. Conceptual frameworks are dynamic entities and benefit from being challenged and altered as needed.
  9. Conceptual frameworks allow scholars to build upon one another’s work and allow individuals to develop programmes of research. When researchers don’t use frameworks, there’s an increased chance that the “findings may be superficial and non-cumulative.”
  10. Programmatic, conceptually-based research helps accumulate deeper understanding over time and thus moves the field forward.
  11. Relevant conceptual frameworks can be found outside one’s specialty or field. Medical education scholars shouldn’t expect that all relevant frameworks can be found in the medical education literature.
  12. Considering competing conceptual frameworks can maximise your chances of selecting the most appropriate framework for your problem or situation while guarding against premature, inappropriate or sub-optimal choices.
  13. Scholars are responsible for making explicit in their publications the assumptions and principles contained in the conceptual framework(s) they use.

The third example seems (to me) to be an unnecessarily long diversion into the author’s own research. And while the first two examples are quite practical and relevant, the third is quite abstract, possibly because of the focus on educational research and study design. I wonder how many readers will find relevance in it.

In a research context, conceptual frameworks can help to both frame or formulate the initial questions, identify variables for analysis, and interpret results.

The conclusion of the paper is very nice summary of the main ideas. However, it also introduces some new ideas, which probably should have been included in the main text.

Conceptual frameworks provide different lenses for looking at, and thinking about, problems and conceptualising solutions. Using a variety of frameworks, we open ourselves up to different solutions and potentially avoid falling victim to our own assumptions and biases.

It’s important to remember that frameworks magnify and illuminate only certain aspects of each problem, leaving other aspects in the dark i.e. there is no single framework that does everything.

Novice educators and researchers may find it daunting to work with frameworks, especially when you consider that they may not be aware of the range of possible frameworks.

How do you choose one framework over another? It’s important to discuss your problem and potential solutions with more experienced colleagues and experts in the field. Remember however, that some experts may be experts partly because they’ve spent a long time committed to a framework/way of seeing the world, which may make it difficult for them to give you an unbiased perspective.

Reviewing the relevant literature also helps to identify what frameworks other educators have used in addressing similar problems. The specific question you’re asking is also an important means of identifying a relevant framework.


Note: I’m the Editor at OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
reading research

#APaperADay – It’s Time for Medical Schools to Introduce Climate Change Into Their Curricula

This is my first attempt to share a short summary of a paper that I’ve read as part of my #APaperADay project, where I try to put aside the last 30-60 minutes of every day for reading and summarising an article. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to finish an article a day so these won’t be daily posts.

Also, paper selection is likely to be arbitrary. This isn’t an attempt to find “the best” or “most interesting” articles. It’s probably just me going through my reading list and choosing something based on how much time I have left in the day.

I’m going to try and make these summaries short and may also start adding my own commentary within the main text as part of an attempt to engage more deeply with the subject. Please don’t assume that my summaries are 1) accurate representations of the actual content, 2) substitutes for reading the original, 3) appropriate sources of knowledge in their own right.


Citation: Wellbery, C., Sheffield, P., Timmireddy, K., Sarfaty, M., Teherani, A., & Fallar, R. (2018). It’s Time for Medical Schools to Introduce Climate Change Into Their Curricula. Academic Medicine, 93(12), 1774–1777. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000002368

This is a position piece that begins by describing the impact of human beings on the planet (the Anthropocene).

The effects of climate change will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations (the very old and very young, those who are sick, and whose who are poor).

Current efforts in HPE policy have been directed towards preparing health professionals to help address the effects of climate change. However, medical school curricula have not made much headway in updating their curricula to explicitly include this new content.

Rationale for including climate change in medical education

  1. Today’s generation of HP students are those who have a large stake in developing a strategic response.
  2. The health effects of climate change and getting worse and HP will need to be adequately prepared to meet with challenge.
  3. It is everyone’s responsibility to drive efforts at reducing the environmental footprint of healthcare, which is a non-trivial contributor to global warming.
  4. Climate change will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations, who HP are obliged to help.
  5. The inclusion of climate change will facilitate the development of thinking skills that are (hopefully) transferable to other aspects of the curriculum.

Current curricular interventions

There needs to be a rethinking of the division between public and individual health. Climate change will increasingly affect the environment, which will increasingly affect people. These complex interactions among complex variables will affect political, social, scientific, and economic domains, all of which are currently beyond the scope of medical education.

Climate change as a topic of discussion can be relatively easily integrated into medical curricula, alongside already existing conditions. For example, a discussion on asthma could include the negative effect of global warming on this particular condition. In other words, climate change need not be included as a separate module/subject/topic but could be integrated with the current curriculum.

“Climate-relevant examples and the overarching macrocosmic mechanisms linking them to individual disease processes could broaden discussions of such topics as cardiovascular health (related to changing air quality), sexually transmitted infections (related to displaced populations), and mental health disorders (related both to displaced populations and also to extreme weather).”

The article finishes with a few examples of how some medical schools have incorporated climate change into their curricula. It seems likely that this is something that will need to happen over time i.e. programmes can’t simply dump a load of “global warming/climate change” content into the curriculum overnight.

Comment: This is a short paper that might be interesting for someone who’d like to know why climate change should be a topic of interest in health professions education. Even if this is something that you’re only passingly familiar with, you’re probably not going to get much from it. But it may be useful to pass on to someone who thinks that climate change isn’t relevant in a health professions curriculum.


Note: I’m the Editor at OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
Publication

Article: Predatory journals: No definition, no defense.

Everyone agrees that predatory publishers sow confusion, promote shoddy scholarship and waste resources. What is needed is consensus on a definition of predatory journals. This would provide a reference point for research into their prevalence and influence, and would help in crafting coherent interventions.

Grudniewicz, A. (2019). Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature, 576, 210-212, doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y.
There exist a variety of checklists to determine if a journal is widely recognised as being “predatory” but the challenge is that few lists are consistent and some are overlapping, which is not helpful for authors.

The consensus definition reached by the authors of the paper:

Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.

Further details of the main concepts in the definition are included in the article.


Note: Some parts of this article were cross-posted at OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
Publication research scholarship

Article: Which are the tools available for scholars?

In this study, we explored the availability and characteristics of the assisting tools for the peer-reviewing process. The aim was to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the tools available at this time, and to hint at new trends for further developments…. Considering these categories and their defining traits, a curated list of 220 software tools was completed using a crowdfunded database to identify relevant programs and ongoing trends and perspectives of tools developed and used by scholars.

Israel Martínez-López, J., Barrón-González, S. & Martínez López, A. (2019). Which Are the Tools Available for Scholars? A Review of Assisting Software for Authors during Peer Reviewing Process. Publications, 7(3): 59.

The development of a manuscript is inherently a multi-disciplinary activity that requires a thorough examination and preparation of a specialized document.

This article provides a nice overview of the software tools and services that are available for authors, from the early stages of the writing process, all the way through to dissemination of your research more broadly. Along the way the authors also highlight some of the challenges and concerns with the publication process, including issues around peer review and bias.

This classification of the services is divided into the following nine categories:

  1. Identification and social media: Researcher identity and community building within areas of practice.
  2. Academic search engines: Literature searching, open access, organisation of sources.
  3. Journal-abstract matchmakers: Choosing a journal based on links between their scope and the article you’re writing.
  4. Collaborative text editors: Writing with others and enhancing the writing experience by exploring different ways to think about writing.
  5. Data visualization and analysis tools: Matching data visualisation to purpose, and alternatives to the “2 tables, 1 figure” limitations of print publication.
  6. Reference management: Features beyond simply keeping track of PDFs and folders; export, conversion between citation styles, cross-platform options, collaborating on citation.
  7. Proofreading and plagiarism detection: Increasingly sophisticated writing assistants that identify issues with writing and suggest alternatives.
  8. Data archiving: Persistent digital datasets, metadata, discoverability, DOIs, archival services.
  9. Scientometrics and Altmetrics: Alternatives to citation and impact factor as means of evaluating influence and reach.

There’s an enormous amount of information packed into this article and I found myself with loads of tabs open as I explored different platforms and services. I spend a lot of time thinking about writing, workflow and compatability, and this paper gave me even more to think about. If you’re fine with Word and don’t really get why anyone would need anything else, you probably don’t need to read this paper. But if you’re like me and get irritated because Word doesn’t have a “distraction free mode”, you may find yourself spending a couple of hours exploring options you didn’t know existed.


Note: I’m the editor and founder of OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
research scholarship

OpenPhysio | A new physiotherapy education journal

I’m really excited to announce a new project that I’ve been working on together with the folks at Physiopedia. Today we’re launching an open access, peer reviewed journal with a focus on physiotherapy education, with a few features that we think are pretty innovative in the academic publishing space. The journal is called OpenPhysio and represents what we think is a fundamental shift away from traditional ways of thinking about how we share knowledge.

Here are some of the ways we think the journal is different to more traditional publication channels:

  • Immediate publication. Your article is available to the public almost immediately after submission.
  • Peer review is open and transparent. Authors work together with peer reviewers, and the reviews and author responses are published alongside the final article, together with DOIs that make them citable objects.
  • You retain your intellectual property at no cost. OpenPhysio does not require you to transfer copyright to the journal, and there are no page fees for published articles.
  • Articles are first class internet citizens. Your articles can be enhanced with images, audio, tagging, hyperlinks, and video.

We’re still in the early stages of the project (we have no publications yet) and there’s a lot still to iron out, but we’ve decided to make it public nonetheless. This is in line with our broader thinking about publication, which is to share stuff early and then hash it out in the real world. We have Editorial and Advisory Boards and you can have a look at our policies around open access and peer review.

Now, before you write and tell me that there’s no such thing as physiotherapy education (you’d be right, by the way) we want to be clear that this is a journal aimed at physiotherapists with an emphasis on teaching and learning. it’s not about suggesting that the way physiotherapists learn is somehow different to how nurses, physicians and OTs learn. But we do think that there’s a space to explore our context in ways that may not translate well into other domains.

We want to encourage submissions from physios who are interested in learning more about teaching and learning, whether you’re supervising students or less-experienced colleagues in the clinical and community contexts, or if you’re an academic responsible for teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate classrooms. If you’re interested in teaching and learning in a physiotherapy context, we’d love it if you would consider OpenPhysio as a channel to share your ideas.

If you’d like to know more about the journal, please contact the Editor or visit the website.

Categories
assignments education open access physiotherapy research social media technology

Why open licensing benefits everyone

In 2009 I started an online physiotherapy encyclopaedia called OpenPhysio. It was a space for me to run a few assignments with my 4th year students at the time, as well as a bit of an experiment to see what would happen i.e. would physiotherapists and physiotherapy students automatically create and edit an online physiotherapy encyclopaedia. At the time I was unaware of the excellent Physiopedia that had been started a few months before by a physiotherapist in the UK (@rachaellowe).

Looking back, I think that the two projects had different goals (I stand under correction here. Rachael, feel free to set me straight in the comments). OpenPhysio was always meant to be a bit chaotic and informal, while Physiopedia was more structured and rigorous in who was allowed to edit the content. I was thinking “interesting playground”, while Rachael was probably thinking “evidence-based resource”. Here’s an excerpt from the OpenPhysio About page:

“OpenPhysio is an attempt to create a database of high-quality, physiotherapy specific content that is free for clinicians, students and educators to use, modify and improve……Hopefully, in time, OpenPhysio will become a useful resource, not only for accessing free, high quality content, but also as a teaching tool. For example, by giving students feedback on each contribution they make. The usual concerns about the quality of the content (issues around references and credibility) and plagiarism apply but these obstacles should not be prohibitive and in fact could also be seen as teaching opportunities to educate students with regards improving their academic writing skills.”

A few weeks ago Rachael contacted me to let me know that OpenPhysio was getting heavily spammed and it dawned on me that I haven’t really paid much attention to the wiki over the past few years, besides writing up the experience for publication and as a conference presentation. By coincidence, the domain name renewal came up a few days later and I decided to pull the plug on the project. We’re doing some things with social networks and clinical learning right now and I can always embed a wiki there if we need one. When I told Rachael that I was going to let the domain expire, she asked if she could port some of the content from OpenPhysio to Physiopedia, which I thought was a wonderful offer from her. And, because all content on OpenPhysio was licensed with a creative commons license, I didn’t have to get permission from contributors to “give away” their content.

OpenPhysio will go offline at the end of June, 2011 when the domain name expires but happily the content that has been contributed during the past few years has found a home at Physiopedia. Which is why I think that when we make use of IP licenses that allow and promote openness, we get to more easily share and build on what we know and understand about the world.

Categories
twitter feed

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-06-06

Categories
education physiotherapy social media

Physiopedia: awesome physiotherapy reference site

I came across Physiopedia when the site creator, Rachael Lowe, followed me on Twitter.  Physiopedia is a free (to access, not edit) physiotherapy reference that has a great emphasis on being evidence based.  You must be a registered physiotherapist to get an account that enables you to contribute, which is how the site maintains quality control.  A quick overview of the articles reveals that this is indeed a high quality resource for physiotherapy clinicians, educators and students.  Perhaps the best thing about each article is not only the concise information it presents, but the reference list it provides for each article, pointing the reader to original resources.  It’s a very impressive effort.

You may wonder why I’m mentioning Physiopedia since my own site, OpenPhysio, is an attempt to be the same thing…a free physiotherapy resource for clinicians, educators and students.  There are however, some differences that I think are worth pointing out, the main one of which is the issue of licensing.  All the content published on OpenPhysio is specifically released under this Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to take that content and share, distribute and adapt the work, so long as they provide attribution to the original source, don’t make any money from it, and agree to share it under the same conditions.  I think this is an important distinction that in itself, is enough to differentiate the two projects.  Not that Physiopedia is using some heinous license, it’s just that it’s not specifically open.  The other thing that stands out immediately is the clean aesthetic and writing style of Physiopedia.

I think that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on OpenPhysio if it’s going to participate in a field with such high quality content, but that’s the whole point isn’t it?  As long as there are people pushing this agenda, the future of free and open content is looking good.  At the end of the day, the more information that’s available for physiotherapists and students, the stronger we’ll become as a profession.

Note (06/04/09): I just received an email from Rachael stating that Physiopedia used the GFDL, a great license for promoting open content.