Dear reader, Welcome to our first issue of 2017. In case you missed the news, in 2016 we took the decision to publish quarterly issues instead of six bi-monthly issues. As always we welcome your suggestions for improvement and contributions to upcoming issues. Thanks to those who have provided suggestions for a more readable layout; I hope that our larger and darker font makes the Journal easier on the eyes.
As I write this, it has been five days since I completed my very first marathon. This entailed 42.2km and five and a half hours of running (oh, and lots of walking). During the race, I had to come to terms with the fact that I might not qualify with a sub five-hour time for my first Comrades marathon. It was only in September last year that I decided to enter South Africa’s craziest ultra-marathon, despite countless utterances that I would never consider running 87-odd kilometres between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. I set out to do the miles and the time on the legs, and figure out how not to run to like a tortoise through mud. It was a long, slow morning with lots of encouragement from my more experienced running partners. There were moments of sheer anguish and self-doubt, but I persevered.
Coming into the finish with fellow (and faster) club members cheering me in, I was thrilled just to have completed it. And there will be other opportunities to qualify. There are always more opportunities and ways to improve, which brings me to matters closer to TAPPSA.
As you may know we applied for inclusion in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) approved list of accredited journals last year. It has been a two-year process – the first attempt in mid-2015 saw our submission being mislaid and never making it to the right people. We could only reapply in June 2016. We waited patiently until December 2016 for the outcome, only to receive official notification in February 2017. DHET informed us that the TAPPSA Journal was rejected for inclusion, citing the reason as ‘there is only one original research article in the latest volume(s). Therefore the journal does not meet the policy requirement of having at least 75% of the subsidised contributions published in the journal emanating from multiple institutions’.
A list of metaphors and idioms spring to mind. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? How do we attract the requisite research submissions without having the reciprocity of accreditation that would benefit the researcher? It’s a tough nut to crack, and wedges us right between a rock and a hard place. You get my drift. There are other avenues we will pursue but in the meantime, we invite your thoughts on the matter. Drop an email to Iain Kerr, our TAPPSA chairman, on kerr@ukzn [dot] ac [dot] za or to me, Samantha Choles, on editor[at]tappsa [dot] co [dot] za.