The Journal of Athletic Training (JAT) continues to grow and evolve in a changing landscape of health care, athletic training education, informatics, and scientific publishing. Much like the weather, change is a constant. As a National Athletic Trainers' Association member-supported publication, JAT provides this report to inform the members, readers, and authors and guide improvement.
As the Table indicates, the number of submissions to the JAT has grown substantially since 2013. However, these numbers do not reflect the total picture. The editorial processes for the Athletic Training Education Journal were folded into those of the JAT to form a publications office in 2013. The total number of submissions for the combined journals has grown from 484 in 2013 to 688 in 2016, a 42% increase! This growth attests to the amazing expansion of research and scholarship in athletic training that reflects a rapidly advancing profession.
Still, financial realities mean that the capacity to publish is not unlimited, and thus, the JAT editorial team has become more selective, as reflected by the declining acceptance rate. The JAT is now published monthly and online only. The move to monthly electronic-only publication has allowed a 50% increase in the number of pages published and increases JAT's influence on the care of athletes and patients around the world. The increase in page count also requires substantially more resources for postacceptance production. The greater speed and volume of production have reduced the backlog of accepted papers and accelerated the time to electronic publication. We will continue to focus on expediting the release of the work of our contributing authors, which will, we hope, be reflected in future reports.
The Table also reflects the time from submission to the return of reviews to the authors. Like our editorial colleagues at peer publications, we at JAT strive to minimize the time needed to provide authors with helpful feedback that strengthens their work. Because peer review is central to the selection and development of scholarly manuscripts, we depend on our experts in research methods, instrumentation, practice, and data management and analysis to provide the reviews that form the foundation of successful publications, yet generating a constructive review that guides the authors to the optimal reporting of their work takes talent and time. Many scholars and clinicians are invited to review manuscripts by multiple journals, and we appreciate their willingness to voluntarily juggle these requests with their own writing, research, practice, and other professional responsibilities. We are always searching for additional scholars who are available to assist JAT in this capacity. If you know of a researcher or clinician with expertise in any of these areas who is not currently reviewing for JAT, please share that information with us (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Finally, the work of our authors and reviewers is being recognized. The impact factor of JAT, which is a measure of the number of times a paper published in JAT is cited in subsequent scholarly publications during the year, is rising. Perhaps more important is the number of times people from around the world are accessing JAT. This number changes monthly and increased from 476 837 to 573 871 between 2015 and 2016 alone. Our journals are the world's window to the athletic training profession, and we will continue to strive to extend our reach. I hope you find this report informative and welcome your questions, concerns, submissions, and support.