Welcome to the seventh volume of the International Journal of Orientation & Mobility (IJOM). When asked to write this welcoming statement I thought it presented a good opportunity to take a look at what has been published in the first six volumes and see how the journal has developed. In their call for papers, the editors state that the journal publishes research articles, essays, conceptual papers, case studies, policy analyses, and innovative practice reports and evaluations on a wide variety of issues and topics related to orientation and mobility (O&M) including guide dog O&M. I looked to see just how many of each type of article has been published over the years and the proportion of articles which do, in fact, relate to the topic of O&M. I found that over the last six volumes 52 articles have been published constituting 419 pages of print. Nineteen (37%) of those have been research articles, 20 (38%) practice reports, 8 (15%) position or concept papers and 5 (10%) other (i.e., essays, case studies and policy analyses). While the number of research and practice papers were almost equal, the average length of a research article was nearly double that of practice reports (i.e., 11 versus 5.6 pages). As a result, the research papers accounted for nearly twice as many published pages as the practice reports and 50% of all the pages printed over the last six volumes, with practice reports accounting for 27% and the remaining 23% being devoted to position, concept or other types of papers (Table 1).

Table 1.

Type and number of papers published in IJOM to date.

While topics varied, the majority (88%) did focus on topics directly related to O&M (O&M in general and O&M including guide dog mobility) as the name of the journal suggests. The surprising finding was the number of articles devoted to guide dog mobility (12). It is also interesting to note that the majority of the papers focusing on guide dog mobility (9) reported the findings from research studies. This, I believe would make IJOM the leading peer reviewed forum for reporting research related to dog guide mobility in the world (Table 2).

Table 2.

Topics related to O&M.

Although published in Australia, the name of the journal suggests that its intent was to be an international forum for literature in this profession. A review of the affiliation of the published authors suggest that this intention has, in fact, been realised with 44 % of all papers published in the first six volumes having first authors from outside of Australia, and more than a third (34%) from outside of Australasia. The majority of the research papers (74%) came from sources outside of Australia compared to 50% of the position/concept papers, 20% of practice papers and 25% of papers in the ‘other’ category (Table 3).

Table 3.

Nation of affiliation of the first author of each of the 52 papers published in IJOM to date.

This short review of the papers published in IJOM to date suggests that the journal has realised its goal to become an international forum for research and other papers on O&M. It also suggests that it has uniquely established itself as the first choice for publishing papers on guide dog mobility. It is heartening to see the steady production of intellectual content in this specialist profession . I look forward to seeing what Volume 7 holds in store for the profession of O&M.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine