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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

versão On-line ISSN 2310-3833
versão impressa ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.49 no.1 Pretoria Abr. 2019 



Editorial Comment



According to the latest figures, South African research publications in the Medical and Life Sciences field, constitute 0.6% of the global publication output, 6.8% of the top 10% cited worldwide, and 0.7% of the top 1% cited worldwide1.

In an attempt to determine the SAJOT's relative contribution to this output, a rather superficial look at our Journal Website statistics was taken to start this process. The initial analysis revealed some figures which our readers might find interesting. Figures for the last 5 years (February 2014-January 2019) were extracted from the website statistics and revealed the following:

Hits represent the total number of requests made to our website during a specific time period. Figure 1 above shows an increase in requests of 66.82% from 2014/15 to 2018/19.



Files represent the total number of hits (requests) that actually resulted in something being sent back to the user. Not all hits will send data, e.g. 'Not Found' requests and requests for pages that are already in the browser's cache. Based on the metrics in Figure 1, one can give a rough indication that 24.4% of people who requested our website, didn't find what they were looking for in 2018/19, as opposed to the 17.67% in 2014/15.

Pages are those URLs that would be considered the actual page being requested, and not all of the individual items that make it up. Some people refer to this metric as page views, which in our case, increased by an encouraging 73.56% over the last 5 years.

Visits occur when some remote site makes a request for a page on the server for the first time. As long as the same site keeps making requests within a given timeout period, they will all be considered part of the same visit. If the site makes a request to your server, and the length of time since the last request is greater than the specified timeout period (default = 30 minutes), a new visit is started and counted. Since only pages (see above) will trigger a visit, remote sites that link to graphic and other non-page URLs will not be counted in the visit totals, which reduces the number of false visits recorded3.

Another metric that some might find interesting, is the amount of data (measured in Kb) that was transferred between the server and the remote machine. In 2014/15, based on the data found in the server log, 37705236Kb of data were transferred to users, as opposed to the 98490508Kb in 2018/19, and increase of 61.71%.

Although I fully acknowledge that there are many variables that affect these figures, it is encouraging to note the huge increase in readership of our Journal. We will also only be able to feel proud when our statistics are compared to other journal sites, to gain a better perspective of where we stand in the bigger scheme of things.

To determine our Journal's contribution to science depends solely on available information sources. One way of determining our contribution is to look at trends in our publication output, i.e., what is drawing users to our site?

Over the last 5 years, the SAJOT published a total of 119 scientific articles in 15 issues, averaging 8 articles per issue. Figures exclude commentaries, opinion pieces, book reviews and position papers. On analysing the content, two rather broad categories emerged (based purely on frequency), namely research related to practice (Figure 2), and those related to education (Figure 3).





Occupational Therapy Practice

Articles were classified into each category based on firstly the specific 'setting' (i.e. community-based vs. institution-based), secondly, the institution-based group was further divided according to fields of practice.

In Figure 2, two areas constitute approximately 50% of the total number of practice-based publications: Community-based research and research targeted at the field of Paediatrics. Is there a way that we can determine - based on the most common search strings that connect people to our site - that these two categories are what primarily draws researchers to our site?



The second category revealed that teaching strategies and fieldwork education are the two most researched fields in education. The use of technology to augment our teaching featured rather prominently in the latter time period (2017-19), which is encouraging, considering the changing needs of our student population.

Further analysis of the statistics available for our website is required to determine exactly what people are requesting when directed to our site, whether they found what they are searching for, who they are, and where they are from. This could (amongst other factors) indicate to us what the global trends are, i.e. which fields are featuring more in our profession's scientific research endeavours, so that we can ensure that we stay abreast of these trends and publish accordingly. This in turn, could have a positive effect on increasing our readership and impact.

Further analysis could also assist us to 'select' the most appropriate key words for our articles, so as to ensure that the most frequent or 'common' keywords contained in search strings will direct users directly to our site.

Lastly - and probably most importantly - a deeper investigation into the 24.4% searches for which a 'Not found' result was recorded, is required to help us put out a call for papers pertaining to those fields.

I am not suggesting that our primary focus should be on the needs of our readers rather than that of our country and our continent as a whole, but we need to also contribute to the global domain if we are to further increase our impact and readership.

Taking a superficial look at our statistics has however, has generated more questions than answers.

Maybe the newly appointed SAJOT advisory committee could become more involved in the development of SAJOT. We call upon the chairperson of Publications committee to help generate enthusiasm for this important function and to commission and fund a deeper and more detailed investigation into our Journal's metrics. It would also be useful if they could guide our future efforts in the scientific production of knowledge for our profession.


Blanche Pretorius

Editor in Chief




1. The changing face of South African Science. Scistip Indicator Report No. 1. 2016.


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