Readers will quickly notice that this issue of the Journal introduces some major changes in appearance and format. We hope they will make the Journal easier to read and more visually appealing. Readers who like the Journal the most may find it the hardest to adjust to the new format, since the most important change has been to move sections around and rename them. Please be patient! It took me nearly a year to get used to the New York Times in color, but now I would never go back! I hope you will also feel the same way, eventually.
The Journal is now grouped into three main sections, which are color-coded. The color coding is used in the headers for the various sections, so this should make things easier to find when quickly thumbing through the Journal.
The first section, called Perspectives and coded green, groups together the various parts that are designed for continuing education and especially interesting reading—beginning with "In This Issue," and including Editorials, Review and Overview Articles, Clinical Case Conferences, Images in Psychiatry, and Images in Neuroscience.
We think it is important for psychiatry to stay in touch with the human and personal aspects of clinical practice, as our scientific and empirical foundations continue to grow stronger. Therefore, we have added a new type of article in this section, called "Introspections." These will consist of brief personal vignettes, usually only a page in length, in which clinicians or teachers or students describe experiences that have been particularly important—moments of insight or inspiration. We welcome submissions for Introspections from all of our readers. They, like all our contents, will be peer-reviewed. We will publish only one per issue, so competition is likely to be keen. I suspect that these will eventually become a favorite for many people.
In the second section, called New Research and coded purple, we will continue to publish a wide variety of research, including clinical studies of nosology, outcome, and treatment. We particularly encourage submissions of research on psychotherapy, which we receive far too infrequently. Other topics or areas of special interest for which we would like to have more submissions include child and geriatric psychiatry, substance abuse, normality and normal adaptive mechanisms, and molecular neuroscience. We will continue to publish articles of two types—longer articles that present data from a relatively large body of work and brief reports that are based on smaller samples, are preliminary in nature, or have negative results.
The third section, called Communications and Updates, is coded burgundy. This section contains the Book Forum and Letters to the Editor.
We would like all of our potential authors to think about whether they can add graphics that will enhance the readability and educational value of their submissions. This is particularly important for the Reviews and Overviews, where illustrations can often help readers understand complex topics.
We hope that the Journal continues to be useful to both readers and authors. We offer authors relatively rapid peer review and publication. The average time from submission to initial decision is now 9 weeks, and publication is almost always within less than 1 year. Our submission rates have continued to rise each year, suggesting a healthy interest among authors and a generally healthy research enterprise. Unfortunately, the high rate of submissions means that our rejection rate hovers in the 80% range or even higher. Inevitably, we have to turn down many very worthy articles, which we are usually pleased to see later published in some other Journal. Although we are called The American Journal of Psychiatry, we are also pleased that we receive and publish excellent submissions from all over the world.