Fifty years of the CASS/CSEP flagship journal: reminiscences from the editors

October 5, 2016


A look back: Exercise Physiology and CSEP's first 50 years 

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017.

A signature initiative is a celebration of the contributions of Canadian researchers to exercise physiology over the past 50 years. The objective is to highlight significant Canadian contributors and their contributions to exercise physiology, health and fitness, nutrition and gold standard publications globally as well as provide insights on future research directions in these areas. These achievements have been organized into a series of short historical communiqués on prominent Canadian contributors and will be published on a monthly basis.

The first article features the establishment and evolution of the CSEP Journal from the Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences CJASS in 1976 to the current Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (APNM).

Fifty years of the CASS/CSEP flagship journal: reminiscences from the editors 

Cunningham, D.12*,Gardiner, P.2*, Graham, T.3, Hermiston, R.4, Péronnet, F.5, Shephard, R.6, Taylor, A.W.7

1 Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Health Science and Department of Physiology, The University of Western Ontario
2 Faculty of Kinesiology & Recreation Management, University of Manitoba
3 Human Health & Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph
4 Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Windsor
5 Professeur émérite, Département de kinésiologie, Université de Montréal
6 Professor Emeritus of Applied Physiology, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto

7 Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario

* To whom correspondence should be addressed:

Phillip Gardiner, PhD,
SpinalCord Research Center,
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, MB R3C 2N2
Tel:(204) 977-5622




A brief history of the flagship journal of CSEP could take many forms, but we believe it is made much more interesting by including the reminiscences of Editors regarding the issues of the time when they were at the helm. In this short article, we have done just that, by trying to capture “snapshots” of the growth of the journal, at crucial periods in its evolution. 

In January 1976, a dream of creating a Canadian-born journal of sport and exercise sciences began with the first issue (Volume 1, issue 1) of the Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences/ Journal canadien des sciences appliquées au sport.  The four issues per year, with up to 312 pages annually, were published by M.O.M. Printing in Windsor Ontario.  The original Editor in Chief (EIC) and Assistant Editors were Drs Albert Taylor and Ray Hermiston respectively, who served until 1980, at which time Drs Eric Bannister and Ron Wallingford, then Don Paterson, took over the helm until March 1984.  During this initial growth period, the printer changed from M.O.M. Printing to Border Press Inc., in Windsor. 

Dr. Albert Taylor and Dr. Ray Hermiston
“In late 1974, the incoming President of CASS, Dr. A.W. Bert Taylor, then of the Université de Montreal, and the Treasurer, Dr. Ray Hermiston, of The University of Windsor, met to discuss any potential opportunities and resources that were available to fund the establishment of a research journal that emphasized sport, fitness, and exercise as a substantive and causative positive modality. At that time CASS was comprised of most of the autonomous organizations that emphasized exercise and included, in addition to exercise physiologists and exercise biochemists, biomechanicians, motor learning specialists, social scientists, and several physiotherapists, athletic therapists, physicians, orthopedic surgeons, and qualified fitness and physical education experts. The obvious first roadblock would be to find a way to integrate the research of all of these specialists into one journal. At that time most of the Canadian researchers were publishing in Newsletters, The Journal of Applied Physiology, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (MSSE), and applied journals for the individual groups.

We met in Windsor to discuss the lack of possibilities, and after one, OK several, bottles of light beer-OK the good Canadian stuff - we made the educated decision to approach an old friend, Dr. Roger Jackson the new Director of Sport and Fitness Canada. The three of us met in Roger’s office in Ottawa, and after a lengthy discussion we were pleased to learn that Roger was heavily in favour of the concept, but expected us (Bert and Ray) to do all of the preliminary leg work, other than approaching Treasury Board (their reputations as money gatherers had obviously preceded them).

Dr. Jackson approached another old friend of Sport and Fitness Canada, Dr. Sam Kalinowski, who was assigned by Treasury Board to the negotiations for the concept and the complete project. The discussions and negotiations lasted nearly six months, and resulted in the following settlement issues: the journal had to be inclusive of all the groups; Treasury Board would support the journal for a period of five years to the tune of $26,000.00 per year starting in 1975 (this was a miraculously short negotiation time and start up payment time for Treasury Board-accolades to Roger and Sam, and as Roger stated “the 1976 Olympic year would be a most appropriate time to start such a Canadian applied journal”); the Board of Directors would have to consist of the primary interested organizations: CASS/ACSS, SMG of CPA, CATA, CAHPER, CASM, and CAC; the financing and maintenance and editorship of the journal would be the responsibility of CASS.

Ray Hermiston was commissioned to find a publisher and publishing house, and a managing editor, which turned out to be MOM of Ottawa, with Mrs. Pat Rutt of CAHPER’s office staff acting as the first managing editor. Bert Taylor was appointed as the first editor-in-chief, setting up an International Board, as well as section editors. Ray Hermiston served as the first treasurer, secretary, assistant editor, and chief glass pourer and washer after each negotiation session. The journal back issues were stored in his basement in Windsor for several years. After Pat left as managing director, Shirley Marino, and later Elliot Dunlop served as managing editors in Windsor.”

Dr. Roy Shepard assumed the responsibilities of Editor during the period 1989 to 1992. Page numbers published per year had remained about the same. During this period, the publisher was changed from U of T Press to Human Kinetics (1991).

Dr. Roy Shephard
Picture of Roy Shephard“In the 1970s, we were more on a par with ACSM, and I was able to organize a joint meeting with ACSM in Toronto, with Canada providing 200 of the 500 registrants at the conference held at Inn on the Park. My original idea was to edit a joint US/Canadian journal, and I met with Bruno Balke in Chicago to try and organize this. However, John Naughton said rather brashly, "we don't need the Canadians," so Bruno gave me a 5-year associate editorship, and MSSE was launched as an American journal.

There was still a demand for a Canadian journal, so CJASS was launched a couple of years later. CSEP was still trying to be a big tent organization at that time, although the volume of submissions did not really reflect the broad range of fields that the journal covered Nevertheless, quality articles came in, and I don't think during my mandate that there was ever an issue when we had to make an emergency appeal to authors for publishable material.  As you also will know, there was no Editorial Manager. CSEP paid me a little for secretarial help, but the person who was my secretary at that time couldn't seem to get their head around a tight schedule of reviewer responses, and it seems it was mostly left to me to find reviewers and to keep after them. However, I don't think any articles were left in limbo for too long.

One innovation of this period was to invite accompanying editorials, usually from reviewers. I thought this might set the journal apart from its peers. I think the idea was good, but for whatever reason it was not pursued by the new publishers.

During the period 1984 to 1989, Dr. David Cunningham, assisted by Drs Don Paterson and then Francois Péronnet, took over the helm of the Journal. Number of issues per year, pages published per year, and journal name, remained the same. Also during this period, the publisher was changed to U of T Press.


Dr. David Cunningham
 Cunninghamphoto“When I took over as the editor of our relatively new journal the article submissions were beginning to increase and the numbers did begin to fill the pages without much concern. I know that I felt that some streamlining of paper review was needed so that their flow through the editor’s office was seamless and as quick as possible. I did have the assistance of a part time secretary who was good at prioritising the articles to be reviewed so that I was able to devote my time to selecting the most appropriate reviewers. Of equal importance to me was that my opinions be kept out of the process, thus all articles were done blind to the reviewers. I only took part in the decisions when needed.

In the first period of review, we did seek to change the publishers and went with the University of Toronto Press. They were very helpful in making needed design changes. I attempted to format the pages and general look to be more like other major international journals. In particular, I wanted to emulate that evident in such journals as the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology or Journal of Applied Physiology. Most of these changes were a success.” 

David Cunningham repeated a stint as EIC from 1992 to 1994, and it was during this time that the name of the journal, and thus its focus, was changed to Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. This name change was accompanied by a noticeable increase in the number of pages published per year (up to 447 in 1993). The Society itself underwent a major change in scope as well, becoming the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and leaving the diversity that was the Canadian Association of Sport Sciences behind.

 “In the second session that I was editor my major recollection of change was the name. I remember the society meeting when the name was changed to the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. I must admit that I applauded this move. I felt that the name was important to bring the journal to the fore in international publishing. I think this aim was accomplished with many new and excellent articles submitted by international authors.

Of course during this time, a devoted secretary as assistant was appreciated and necessary. I also had an excellent copy editor who was brilliant at finding small problems with grammar and syntax, pointing out and correcting errors that I would never have found.”

In 1995, Drs Phillip Gardiner and Francois Péronnet took over the editorship of the journal. During this period, number of issues per year increased from 4 to 6, with a corresponding increase in the number of published pages per year (up to 608 in 1997).


Dr. Phillip Gardiner and Dr. François Péronnet
gardinerpicturePeronnet“When asked to take over as EIC in 1995, I (PG) accepted on condition that Francois Péronnet serve as co-EIC with me. Francois is a physiologist with expertise in an area different from my own, is francophone, and provided interesting international contacts. We were in the same building, our offices separated by about 100 ft, so we interacted on a daily basis. Together we reinstated the “invited reviews”, believing that this would elevate the reputation of the journal, and had great fun inviting several well-known scientists to contribute – surprisingly, we were very rarely refused. Also during this time we created a “Point-counterpoint” section in the journal, the format for which involved a moderator and two scientists with opposing points of view, who had a chance to rebut each other. Our first (and I believe only!) point-counterpoint was in 1997 on the topic of O2 deficit as a measure of anaerobic energy cost, with Bangbo and Medbo arguing, and Terry Graham as the moderator. Francois and I also initiated (I believe) the “Brief Communication”, which promised rapid publication of short articles. Although we did not publish many of these, I remember one article in particular from Arend Bonen on fatty acid transporters, that he wished to be published ASAP for fear of being scooped – we obliged by publishing the article in a matter of days, as I remember. All-in-all, this period of growth of the journal was great fun for both of us.” 

In 2000, Dr. Terry Graham became EIC. During the period 2000 to 2005, page numbers published per year increased further to a high of 926 in 2003. In 2006, publication of the journal was turned over to National Research Council (NRC) Press, and the journal name was changed to Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. Since 2006, published page numbers have increased to a high of over 1400 pages annually, and demand to publish in the journal has never been higher.
Dr. Terry Graham
TerryGraham.jpg “The decision to move to NRC Press was a difficult decision as it meant that CSEP would ‘officially’ give up control of the Journal. However, under the guidance of the CSEP president, Larry Wolfe, the executive resolved that there were significant advantages to moving to NRC and passed CJAP to the publisher for $1 and also recommended that the name would change to Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. While this initially appeared to be a radical, perhaps crazy decision, keep in mind that the Journal had been led by Phil Gardiner/François Péronnet and now Terry Graham! Hence there was a history of ‘crazy’. The name was proposed by Arend Bonen who stressed that this would reflect broader, integrated interests and by not having ‘Canadian’ in the title, it would signal that the Journal was international.

The decisions immediately produced remarkable benefits both financially and in scholarship, although the price paid was to have no impact factor for two years and to have to promote the journal under the new title. Circulation and submissions have climbed annually, very soon it was published electronically and in 2013 it expanded from 6 to 12 issues per year. In 2010 NRC Research Press was transferred from the National Research Council (i.e. the federal government) to an employee-led spin-off company, Canadian Science Publishing (CSP). The new CSP remains a not-for-profit corporate firm and is free from the increasingly restrictive government setting.

The history of the names of the journal reflects the evolution of both CSEP and the field of exercise physiology. The field of exercise physiology certainly still includes a focus on elite athletes and also physical education, but in the last four decades it has also expanded and become very involved in metabolic control as well as lifestyle and health, and there is a large interest in how exercise and the metabolites associated with exercise alter gene expression.

Another important development for APNM came when the Canadian Society for Clinical Nutrition (CSCN) elected to sponsor APNM in 2007. A second Canadian nutrition society, the Canadian Society for Nutritional Science (CSNS) merged with CSCN in 2010. The latter group had been associated with the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (also published by NRC Research Press/CSP) but the new Canadian Nutrition Society elected to remain as a society sponsor of APNM.

This hybrid combination of disciplines has resulted in a very strong journal that is also unique. APNM publishes original research articles, reviews, and commentaries, focusing on the application of physiology, nutrition, and metabolism to the study of human health, physical activity, and fitness. The published research, reviews, and symposia are and will continue to be of interest to exercise physiologists, physical fitness and exercise rehabilitation specialists, public health and health care professionals, as well as basic and applied physiologists, dieticians and nutritionists, and biochemists.

I am not aware of any other journal that is the official voice of national societies of exercise physiology and of nutrition. This has also resulted in a journal that has a large representation of Canadian scientists and it is noteworthy that both sponsoring societies have both ‘academic’ members as well as large numbers of practitioners. APNM consistently ranks in the top 20% of journals for applied sport sciences and in the top 50% for both nutritional sciences and for physiology.

Our flagship journal continues to make history as a result of the incremental steps taken by its champions, the Editors and their supports.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed:

Phillip Gardiner, PhD,
Spinal Cord Research Center,
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, MB R3C 2N2
Tel: (204) 977-5622

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