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Every April the CACAP Executive Board meets in Ottawa for its biannual meeting (the other meeting taking place during the annual CACAP conference). It’s not easy to assemble Board members from the far flung corners of this vast country of ours and then conduct all of the Academy’s business in a day. CACAP President, Dr. Wade Junek and the Board need to make sound policy decisions to satisfy the grass roots membership while juggling important agenda items that will affect training, credentials etc… in short the future of our specialty. A similar logic applies to the functioning of the Journal, the editors, its editorial board and the reading membership. We are a virtual group who’s reality or «raison d’etre» is legitimated with each issue.
Much has been accomplished in the first few months. Since the new editorial team has been in place there has been a substantial increase in the number of articles submitted in both official languages. As such, our panel of peer reviewers has expanded, and is becoming multidisciplinary and international. We are officially listed with the electronic journal publisher and search engine EBSCO. We have clarified the Journal’s mandate (open access, multi-disciplinary, international) and revised the Instruction to Authors. We have added new sections (Clinical Interview, Information Management for the Busy Practitioner) while seeking to re-invigorate pre-existing ones (Case Studies, Psychopharm Column). We are ahead in our planning for theme issues well into 2010–2011.
Drs. Carandang, Gagnon and myself are currently working on revising the Instructions to Reviewers portal so that it becomes more of an educational and shared learning experience. We are also in discussion with Dr. Dorian Deshauer, an assistant editor with the CMAJ about how to establish our impact factor rating. We are also looking at how to re-invigorate our editorial board so that it represents regional diversity but also has the experts the editors need to consult with on occasion for technical or methodological matters.
Yet many challenges remain ahead. The vision for the Journal, while guided by previous editors and mandates, still remains the efforts of a small group of people. We worry that the Journal is not representative of the membership that so generously supports it. We still receive very few Letters to the Editor or Commentaries (opinion pieces). In addition no CACAP member responded to our recent advertisement for the vacant position of Book Review Section Editor.
As such, we are hesitant to introduce new columns such as the Res/Med Corner (a proposed column for students and residents with their mentors) or the Debate Column (such as seen in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry), as these new columns will require section editors with vision, energy, and enthusiasm to lead them. But judging from the timbre of our annual meeting, it is not because of a lack of conviction or passion from the participants.
And finally the gauntlet was thrown down by the current president (Dr. Junek) and president-elect (Dr. Ickowicz) to the Journal staff about finding ways to be financially self sustainable. Any means of increasing income and reducing expenses while keeping the excellent quality is always a challenge for any Editor. With that in mind, there are potential long term options such as increasing advertising or special publication revenue, creating a trust fund to look after Journal publication or publishing on line and letting people print out what ever they wish. The latter would require careful assessment of the membership since their needs are paramount.
In the end, this Journal belongs to all CACAP members, and it is up to the membership to help guide and foster the development of the Journal. After all, our knowledge base, expertise, and Canadian perspective are showcased to the world via the Journal. Please do not hesitate to contact us to offer your opinions about how to improve your Journal.