Clinical Psychological Science Submission Guidelines

Submission of Manuscripts

Before submitting a manuscript to Clinical Psychological Science, please read the journal’s Aims and Scope and Alan E. Kazdin’s January 2014 editorial.

Manuscripts must be submitted through Clinical Psychological Science‘s submission website at

The journal does not require masked review, i.e., that the authors names be omitted from the submitted manuscript. Thus, authors’ names and affiliations should be listed on the manuscript title page.

The manuscript will be evaluated in relation to the advancement of and contribution to clinical psychological science. To facilitate this evaluation, authors are asked to answer the following questions during the “Details & Comments” stage of the online submission process:

1) What is the increment in knowledge that this work provides to the literature?
2) How do this increment and any conclusions or recommendations contribute to clinical psychological science?

To wit, authors should indicate precisely what in the submitted manuscript makes an important scientific contribution to clinical psychology and related fields. The answers to these questions will help editorial staff and reviewers attend to the issues the authors see as the salient contribution. As importantly, the questions are designed to help authors to include the thrust of the question in the storyline of the manuscript itself and to decide whether the journal is the most appropriate outlet.

Please see the Submission FAQs for more information about the preparation of your manuscript.

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Manuscript Review Process

The review process is slightly different from that of many other journals in keeping with the overall mission. Two features are noteworthy. First, the review process has two tiers. The submission will be evaluated by the editors to determine whether the manuscript will be sent out for review. If one of two editors (Editor and an Associate Editor) views the submission as constituting a potentially important contribution, the manuscript will be sent out for further review. Yet, if two editors independently indicate reservations about the contribution, the manuscript will be returned to the author without further review or consideration. Authors may submit a list of preferred (and non-preferred) reviewers. Authors often are familiar with experts in their area of research, and editors appreciate the suggestions. Editors take these suggestions under advisement and may or may not in any given instance select reviewers whose names have been recommended.

Second, when a manuscript is sent out for further review, the review process also differs from many other journals. If the manuscript is recommended to be accepted, reviewers and the editor will make comments about how to present the manuscript in its optimal light. If the manuscript is rejected, reviewers are asked to convey the rationale for their recommendation. Yet, they are not asked to provide a detailed, incisive, methodological critique and evaluation of the study. The educational function of the usual review process in which these detailed reviews are provided is critically important in mentoring and journal publication. The journal serves a unique niche, seeking the contribution of any discipline that can contribute research to enhance our understanding of clinical dysfunction. Thus, the primary focus of the review process and criterion for publication are whether the submission is a substantive contribution that advances clinical psychological science. In light of this review process, every effort will be made to minimize the delay between submission and editorial decision for all manuscripts.

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Types of Articles

The primary focus of the journal is on empirical investigations that make an advance in theory, methodology, or application related to topics within clinical psychological science. The journal seeks cutting-edge research and extensions of prior findings worth bringing to the broad audience of clinical researchers. Empirical contributions from all areas of clinical psychological science are welcome. Interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary contributions that connect with clinical psychology, novel methods that reveal phenomena in a different light, and integration of conceptual models in new ways are all well within the scope of the journal.

Empirical Articles. Empirical Articles should aim for a 12,000-word maximum, inclusive of front (title page) and back matter (references, footnotes, appendices). Articles are limited to a total combination of 4 tables and figures (e.g., 2 tables and 2 figures) that are not part of the word limit. Each table or figure should occupy no more than one printed page. Reporting of multiple investigations within a single manuscript is encouraged, and length adjustments can be discussed if and as needed. An abstract (maximum of 150 words) is included in the word limit.

Brief Empirical Reports. Brief empirical reports will have a 5,000-word limit, inclusive of front (title page) and back matter (references, footnotes). Articles are limited to a total combination of 2 tables and figures (e.g., 1 table and 1 figure) that are not part of the word limit. Each table or figure should occupy no more than one printed page. An abstract (maximum of 150 words) is included in the word limit.

Theoretical and Review Articles. The journal welcomes theoretical, review, or methodological articles that clearly provide an advance beyond encapsulating the current status of a given literature, that are likely to have broad appeal, and that are not readily accommodated by review journals. Narrative and meta-analytic reviews are appropriate. These types of articles will be evaluated to ensure they are accessible to a broad range of researchers in ways that could be adopted to make important advances (e.g., new and altered directions for a given line of work).

As a guideline, theoretical and review articles should aim for a 17,000-word maximum, inclusive of front (title page) and back matter (references, appendices). Articles are limited to a total combination of 5 tables and figures (e.g., 3 tables and 2 figures) that are not part of the word limit. An abstract (maximum of 150 words) is included in the word limit.

Short Communications and Commentaries. Short communications and commentaries occasionally will be solicited to cast multiple perspectives and conceptual views that might advance research or recast findings in a given area of clinical research. Although most of these will be invited, they can be submitted in response to an article. As a guideline, these communications should aim for a 3,500-word maximum, inclusive of front (title page) and back matter (references). One table or figure (one-page limit) may be included. An abstract of 100 words is included in the total word limit.

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APS Journals

Clinical Psychological Science does not compete with other journals of the Association, including Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and Current Directions in Psychological Science. The journals vary in terms of domain and manuscript formats. Conceivably a given manuscript might fall into more than one journal depending on its emphasis and thrust. The author can raise this matter with one of the editors in advance of submission. The editors will communicate among themselves to consider the suitable focus of the article. Manuscripts that might fall into two journal spheres will be considered by only one of the journals. Manuscripts rejected by another APS journal on the grounds of quality (e.g., flaws in methodology, data, or concept) are not eligible for consideration by Clinical Psychological Science.

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Supplemental Online Material

Authors are free to submit certain types of supplemental material for online-only publication. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, such material will be published online on the publisher’s web site, linked to the article.

Clinical Psychological Science allows for the online publication of two types of supplemental online material (SOM). One type, referred to as SOM-R, includes material that has undergone both an initial review (by two members of the editorial team) and an extended review (by external referees). The other type, SOM-U, includes unreviewed material, or information that has not been vetted by either the editors or the external referees. Neither type of supplemental material will be copyedited or formatted; it will be posted online exactly as submitted.

Before discussing this distinction, it is important to note that the editors take the adjective “supplemental” seriously. Both SOM-R and SOM-U should include the sort of material that enhances the reader’s understanding of an article but is not essential for understanding the article.

One intuitive way to understand the SOM-R/SOM-U distinction is that the SOM-R would be the kind of information that you might include in a rebuttal letter to reviewers who want to see more explanation of methods or supplemental analyses, whereas SOM-U would be the kind of information you might post on your own lab’s website to make available background information or provide stimuli.

Thus, under SOM-R, authors may wish to provide more details on their methods and procedures–details of particular interest to specialists in the area (e.g., ERP measurement: Piton et al., 2000; fMRI: Poldrack et al., 2008; structural equation modeling: Raykov, Tomer, & Nesselroade, 1991); to readers concerned with the reliability, generality, and robustness of the results (e.g., Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011); or to researchers who endeavor to replicate the results for themselves. If authors have carried out conceptual or methodological replications of their own, they may wish to summarize such complementary studies under SOM-R. Empirical evidence that attests to the replicability of the principal results is welcomed by editors, reviewers, and readers alike. SOM-R material is generally limited to 1,000 words (including text, notes, and captions for tables or figures), 10 references, and 3 tables or figures (combined); requests to exceed these limits must be approved in advance by the Editor-in-Chief.

Common examples of SOM-U include research stimuli, audio or video recordings, and ancillary citations; for example, authors may wish to cite additional sources as “Recommended Readings” within the SOM-U.

If you intend to upload SOM-R or SOM-U material, please read the Guidelines for Publication of Supplemental Online Material, which describes conventions for naming files and for citing supplemental materials in the manuscript. Files containing SOM-R or SOM-U material should be uploaded when the manuscript proper is submitted.

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Preparation of Manuscripts

The style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, must be followed with respect to handling of references, tables, figures, abbreviations, and symbols. Permission from the copyright owner must be obtained for use of any figure previously published elsewhere. Descriptions of methods and results should be prepared with special attention to readability. Please submit manuscripts in an editable text format (e.g., Word document or RTF file); do not submit manuscripts in PDF format. Tables should be in an editable format, not inserted as graphics. Each manuscript should include a cover page with title, author names and affiliations, full contact information for the corresponding author, and key words.

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Authorship implies significant participation in the research or writing of a manuscript, including participation in the design and/or interpretation of reported experiments or results, participation in the acquisition and/or analysis of data, and participation in the drafting and/or revising of the manuscript. All authors must agree to the order of the author listing and must have read and approved submission of the final manuscript. They must also agree to take responsibility for the work in the event that its integrity or veracity is questioned.

Each submitted manuscript must include a paragraph after the body of the main text and before the acknowledgments that states each author’s contribution:

Example: “D.P.L. developed the study concept. All authors contributed to the study design. Testing and data collection were performed by D.P.L. D.P.L. and A.C.B. performed the data analysis and interpretation under the supervision of H.L.R. D.P.L. drafted the paper, and A.C.B. and H.L.R. provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the paper for submission.”

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When evaluation of the data involves statistical significance testing, effect sizes and confidence intervals should also accompany the major results where possible. When relevant, bar and line graphs should include distributional information, usually confidence intervals or standard errors of the mean.

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Demographic Data

Please include data on participants’ ethnicity/culture, sex, and either a measure of income or socioeconomic status or note explicitly within the manuscript that such data were not collected.

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Preparation of Graphics

We ask that authors submit graphs and diagrams in their native file format, which is the format of the program in which the figures were originally created. Please do not save the image in a different file format, as this makes it harder to resize and make other adjustments to the image during production. For example, if you created a graph in Excel, supply the original Excel file rather than an Excel file embedded in a Word document. Photographic images such as brain scans, unless incorporated into a larger graph or display, may still be submitted in standard image formats like EPS or JPEG. To avoid appearing blurry or pixilated in print, all figures must have a minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch (PPI; more information about pixel density can be found here). Please do not submit images in TIF format. Please adhere to the following format when naming figure files: AuthorLastNameFigX.fileformat (e.g. SmithFig1.xls, SmithFig2.jpg, etc.).

Authors who wish to reproduce figures in color should bear in mind that color work is expensive. Authors are allowed one free color figure per article; subsequent color figures cost $250 each. Authors of accepted manuscripts that include color figures who opt not to pay for color reproduction are responsible for providing both figures and captions that are clearly understandable both in color and in black and white OR new black-and-white versions of the figures along with appropriate captions.

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Funder Mandates/Open Access

The APS journals offer both green and gold open-access options that enable authors to comply with mandates from funders such as the National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust, and RCUK.

APS and SAGE can help fulfill many funders’ mandates to archive your accepted manuscript by making your article open access and depositing your manuscript files in PubMed Central. Authors who wish to pay to make an article/manuscript publicly available immediately upon publication in order to comply with NIH or similar requirements may use the SAGE Choice option (gold open access).

Note that authors who do not choose to participate in SAGE Choice must choose a 12-month embargo for manuscripts submitted to PubMed Central.

Authors may share the version of their manuscript that was submitted to the journal at any time. Upon acceptance, authors may post the final, accepted version of the article on their personal or their departmental Web site(s) or in their departmental or institutional repository(ies) (green open access). One year after publication, authors may make the final, accepted version available in other repositories. Authors may not post the final published PDF anywhere without permission.

For more information on open-access options and compliance at SAGE, including author self-archiving deposits (green open access) or SAGE Choice (gold open access), visit SAGE Publishing Policies on the Journal Author Gateway

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Ethical Considerations

Authors reporting research involving human subjects should indicate whether the protocol was approved by an institutional review board or similar committee and whether it was carried out in accordance with the provisions of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki available here. Authors reporting research involving nonhuman animal subjects should indicate whether institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Identifying information of participants will not be published unless the information is necessary and written, informed consent is obtained.

Any potential conflicts of interest should be reported in the online submission process and in the article. The Declaration of Conflicting Interests section that appears in every article will state any reported conflicts; if there are no conflicts, the Declaration will read “The author(s) declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship or the publication of this article.”

Manuscripts should conform to the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, which can be found in full at In particular, authors should reference the following sections:

  • II.A. Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors
  • II.B. Author Responsibilities—Conflicts of Interest
  • I.E. Protection of Research Participants
  • III.B. Scientific Misconduct, Expressions of Concern, and Retraction
  • III.K. Clinical Trial Registration (if applicable)

The journals of the Association for Psychological Science follow the code of conduct of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and pursue COPE guidelines when misconduct is suspected or alleged.

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English Language Help

Authors who would like to refine the use of English in their manuscripts might consider using the services of a professional English-language editing company. A listing of some of these companies follows. Please be aware that the journal makes no endorsement of any of these companies. An author’s use of these services in no way guarantees that his or her submission will ultimately be accepted. Any arrangement an author enters into will be exclusively between the author and the particular company, and any costs incurred are the sole responsibility of the author.


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Submission FAQs

Contributors are encouraged to consult the Submission FAQs before submitting manuscripts to Clinical Psychological Science.

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