The ANZASW journal is changing

Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work

A collective approach

Earlier this year the association issued a call for a managing editor of our journal. The call was responded to by a group of New Zealand academics associated with the Re-imagining Social Work (RSW) collective. The RSW proposed to set up an editorial collective for the journal and include those editors currently associated with the publication of Te Komako (the Tangata Whenua themed issue of the journal) and other NZ academics. The editorial collective is now ten strong and has been busy making plans to revitalise and enhance the journal. We believe that a collective approach to managing the journal will enable us to share the workload, develop editorial skills in our academic community, and offer support to new and emerging authors.

A new statement of purpose

In order to give the journal a distinctive contemporary stance we have agreed a new statement of purpose:

 ANZASW logoAotearoa New Zealand Social Work is an international peer-reviewed journal that provides a platform for research, analysis and scholarly debate on social work theory, policy and practice.  Published quarterly, it particularly welcomes work offering critical perspectives on contemporary policy developments, indigenous social work, post-colonialism, anti-racism, feminism, and progressive social work theory, policy and practice.

We believe this statement retains a strong Aotearoa New Zealand identity for the journal, whilst at the same time inviting contributions from the international social work community. For information on publishing in the journal see our new journal web page.

Opening access

Our journal has been freely accessible to members in hard copy format since its inception. Academic libraries can subscribe to an online version of the journal through Informit and EBSCO host. Despite this, our journal does not have the international impact, or citations rate, of other association journals (such as Australian Social Work or the British Journal of Social Work). There are two solutions to this problem: have the journal adopted by a commercial publisher; or make the journal freely available through open access.

The editorial collective are of the view that, at this stage, the first of these solutions is unlikely to be an option. The journal does not have the level of interest to authors or readers that would make it an appealing prospect for a commercial publisher. The second solution, making the journal open access, would require a sustained voluntary effort on the part of the collective, but it has several distinct advantages:

  • For the community: the journal would be easily accessible to the social work community worldwide at no cost.
  • For authors: evidence suggests that open access articles are likely to have many, many more readers. This increases the chances that published work has an impact on practice, as well attracting a higher number of citations.
  • For the editors: open journal systems include online systems for managing the publication process from article submission, through peer review, to publication and dissemination.
  • For social justice and sustainability: ANZASW would be contributing to the worldwide open access movement the values of which concur with our own commitment to social justice and sustainability.

The editorial collective have decided to make the journal available through open access, using the open journal system, from the first issue of 2016: issue 28(1). You can find examples of other journals using the open journal system here.

The journal will continue to be available to libraries through Informit and EBSCO host. This decision does not rule out a move to publication through a commercial publisher at some future date.

The costs of hard copy

The ANZASW journal has been in publication since 1965, half of a century. Throughout this period the journal has been distributed in hard copy to all members at no cost. Whilst ANZASW receives some annual income from the journal in the form of subscription sales and copyright fees (circa $10,700) this does not approach the annual costs of printing and collating the journal (circa $30,000) or mailing it to members (circa $23,000). As part of their recent deliberations on moving the association towards a more financially sustainable future, the ANZASW governance board decided to discontinue printing and distributing hard copies of the journal to members. The printing and distribution of hard copies will cease at the point the journal becomes available through open access.

Notification of new issues

All ANZASW members will be notified in one of our e-newsletters every time a new issue of the journal is published. In addition, members and non-members will also be able to subscribe to automatic announcements directly from the open journal system.

Neil Ballantyne is a member of the ANZASW governance board (co-opted), and a member of the journal editorial collective.


  • Natasha Hofmans

    Kia ora and welcome to the ten strong collective! I celebrate the time, thinking and discussion you have all put into this as well as the collective nature and collaboration. An exciting move and while I will dearly miss the hard copy journals I look forward to what emerges from this move.

  • Jude Douglas

    Thanks and best wishes to the editorial collective for the task ahead. Great to see our journal align with the ideals of the open access movement – social justice and sustainability. Looking forward to the first issue!

  • Thanks for your support of this David. And thanks also to the Editorial collective. Yes you have a big job ahead of you Liz but you have a good team working on this together. Nga Mihi

  • Thanks David- its a big job but we have a fantastic team and plenty of ideas!

  • David McNabb

    Congratulations to the new editorial collective. Going online seems a timely initiative that will help our local and wider social work community publish and learn. Kia kaha!