When Cliff Harvey, founder of the Holistic Performance Institute, decided to start the Journal of Holistic Performance, his plan was to create an in-house publication for academic staff and students. But the idea for the journal soon bloomed into more. “The idea grew into a journal focused on providing evidence-based information for holistic health care and performance enhancement,” said Harvey.
Making research in holism and healthcare accessible to not only members of the Institute but also the wider academic community and mainstream readers became a primary goal of the publication. Harvey and his team set out to publish JHP as a fully open access (OA) journal at no cost to authors or readers. As one of the only journals focused on the nexus of holism and complementary health practice, Harvey said JHP fills a unique publishing need.
JHP is now an international peer-reviewed journal publishing medical case studies, reviews, and original research. In a recent interview, Harvey shared how the publication got started and why they chose to use Scholastica’s peer review and OA publishing software.
From the early days of JHP, Harvey said open access was at the center of the conversation. “I had become somewhat disillusioned with academic publishing, where the burden was either on the reader or the author (and by extension, the taxpayer in many countries) to pay exorbitant fees to bolster the profits of academic publishers,” Harvey explained.
As a Ph.D. candidate at Auckland University of Technology, Harvey began to see how subscription costs were preventing readers from accessing research and how high article processing fees to make research OA were putting a strain on many authors. Recognizing the need for a peer-reviewed research outlet in JHP’s niche, Harvey and his team decided JHP should be fully OA so that anyone could read or publish in the journal.
“Our goals are to provide a legitimate and consummate academic publishing option for allied and complementary health researchers and to encourage the publication of case studies and reviews in allied and complementary health, where they are commonly lacking,” said Harvey. “There are few journals that focus on the marriage of holism and complementary health practice with a sound, scientific evidence-basis and there are even fewer that enable ‘diamond open-access’ publishing with no fees to either submit or read.”
In order to keep JHP fully OA and maintain professional publishing standards, Harvey and his team knew they needed a journal platform that would enable them to manage peer review and publish in one place with the ability to easily create, host, and maintain a modern journal website. After trying to use an in-house bespoke publishing system for a while, they decided they needed a more streamlined solution and found Scholastica to be the best fit.
“Scholastica offered a very cost-effective option when compared to other publishing platforms,” said Harvey. “We also enjoyed the approach, similar to ours of having a streamlined and simplified interface, submissions process, and journal website, rather than over-complication. Finally, we enjoyed the disruptive nature of the software and felt that meshed well with our ethos!”
As JHP builds out its publishing operations, Harvey said Scholastica is helping them to move towards their aim of becoming a leading holism and contemporary healthcare publication. “We are only at the beginning of our publishing journey but compared to our earlier models of creating a bespoke platform in-house, Scholastica has simplified and streamlined the entire process, from submission, through editorial and review, to publication,” said Harvey. “Scholastica have also been very responsive to feature requests and that has helped us to continue to improve our offering.”
As JHP continues to grow and evolve, Harvey said he and his team are focused on serving the needs of the holism and contemporary healthcare research community and improving publishing standards in the field. “Because the Journal is funded by our institute and we do not have commercial goals for the journal, we are in the enviable position of being able to really focus on simply trying to provide a great experience for authors and to improve the standard of publishing in the complementary and alternative health field,” said Harvey.
So far JHP has taken a soft approach to promotion and outreach, but Harvey said they plan to ramp up their efforts throughout the year. “In the coming year our priorities are to activate social media marketing to increase our visibility. We do not have targets for numbers of articles or any vanity metrics, instead we want to focus simply on letting people know that we are here and then providing both a consummate peer-review process, along with a simple, effective, and most of all, enjoyable process for authors,” said Harvey.
With solid editorial processes in place and now a strong focus on promotion, Harvey said he and his team feel that JHP will continue to develop a reputation in its field and make a difference. “We believe that we will begin to be able to really be of service to both researchers and practitioner-researchers and by doing so, help to increase the overall body of knowledge in the area.”