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A new journal, especially one with a novel mission, needs to show readers what it is about right from the start. At Science & Practice Perspectives we tackled this challenge in the customary way, by soliciting articles. Relying on the advice of our distinguished Editorial Board, we identified subject areas where conversation between researchers and clinicians seems especially likely to promote rapid advances in the field. We recruited leading experts to author articles on these topics, and asked them to address both the research implications and the practical applications.
A sure sign that a fledgling journal has connected is that readers propose articles that match its aims. Thus we were excited when Katherine Watkins, her team at RAND Corporation, and staff at Behavioral Health Services in Los Angeles contacted us to suggest that an account of their experiences working together might appeal to our readers. We think it will: Their candid and absorbing story of ups, downs, and lessons learned contains much to inspire and prepare others contemplating collaborative research in community clinic settings.
Perspectives is eager to receive article proposals from researchers and practitioners who can contribute to a robust, productive exchange of knowledge and views. The best first step for potential authors is to become familiar with what we publish: mainly, research reviews and clinical perspectives. Our issues to date provide many excellent examples of our requirements for these genres, including the current articles by Eric Nestler, Kathleen Brady, Ira Marion, and Dennis McCarty and their coauthors. A key criterion is that every article’s style and content must be of interest and value to both researchers and practitioners. Our authors’ guidelines, which you can obtain by mail or online, provide more detail, and also cover the journal’s ethical standards.
A brief letter or e-mail that states the main idea of the proposed article and outlines its key points is generally enough for us to determine whether a full draft will likely meet our needs. Final acceptance of a submitted article is contingent upon editorial judgment that it is suitable for publication by NIDA, and the results of peer review.
For peer review, each article is sent to three individuals (researchers for research reviews, clinicians for clinical perspectives) with expertise or extensive experience in the paper’s subject area. Reviewers are blinded as to the authors’ names. Reviewers of research reviews are asked to focus on scientific interest and soundness, and reviewers of clinical perspectives are asked to affirm that the paper discusses highly significant concerns among practitioners and reflects high standards of practice and reasoning. We generally will follow our reviewers’ majority recommendation to publish or decline to publish a paper. However, we may choose to work with the author of a poorly reviewed paper if we find the topic especially attractive and believe the work can be brought up to quality. We also may decline to publish a well-reviewed paper if the material falls outside NIDA’s mission: bringing science to bear on the understanding, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse and addiction.
We hope you will join the conversation that is under way in the pages of Perspectives. Practitioners and researchers working together is the formula for success in the effort to overcome the problems of drug abuse and addiction.