New Clinical Psychological Science Editor Vows to Reflect “Incredibly Diverse Field”

In January, APS Fellow Jennifer Tackett will begin her tenure as editor of Clinical Psychological Science. A professor and director of clinical training at Northwestern University, she also leads the Personality Across Development lab, which investigates how the personalities of children and adolescents relate to behaviors and outcomes. APS Publications Director Amy Drew recently asked Tackett a few questions about her plans for the journal.

What topics are you most interested in seeing represented in the pages of Clinical Psychological Science? What would you like to see more of?

The unique nature of CPS is the foundation of my interest and enthusiasm in accepting this new position. If psychological science is a “hub science,” clinical psychological science is and should be the hub of the hub. Indeed, the core mission of CPS is to occupy that central space—within and outside of psychology, broadly—and to provide a home for truly intersectional and interdisciplinary discoveries across psychological science, all finding their intersection in the pages of CPS. Clinical psychological science bridges application and theory, integrates multiple subdomains within psychological science (cognitive, personality, neuroscience, social, community, developmental, psychometrics, and beyond), and integrates with many disciplines outside of psychology. Yet, I also think more can be done to fully realize this mission. Under my editorship, I hope to bring this core focus of CPS to the forefront, concentrating on broad, consilient, methodologically rigorous, and provocative work that showcases clinical psychological science as the hub discipline in psychology—an outlet for work that has no other home in the field, establishing the unique identity of CPS within the world of clinical psychology, but also within the world of psychological science, broadly conceived. Science is increasingly multidisciplinary and collaborative, an evolution which I fully embrace. Innovation happens at the intersections of otherwise disconnected spaces. CPS should be the outlet where this innovation is happening.

How will your interdisciplinary background and approach help you achieve your goal of expanding CPS’s core mission of serving as a uniquely integrative outlet for work that connects and cuts across disciplines?

This cross-cutting and integrative perspective parallels my own eclectic training (PhD in clinical psychology with minors in statistics, behavior genetics, and personality) and my identity as a multi-faceted psychological scientist with connections across the field, including areas of clinical, personality, statistics and methods, development, behavior genetics, assessment, social, educational, and industrial-organizational psychology. These connections across many areas position me well to maintain and expand the broad, intersectional, cross-cutting core of a journal like CPS, with a strong home base in clinical science; I will leverage my existing network and actively reach out to areas outside my expertise to maximize the reach of CPS. I regularly and increasingly engage in large-scale collaborative efforts with researchers across different psychological subdisciplines, and outside of psychology, as well. I believe fully in the scope and mission of the journal, and truly believe that my own interdisciplinary background and approach can be leveraged to make a real impact on the field through this specific outlet. The integrative and wide-ranging expertise of the associate editorial team reflects this goal, as well.

Science is increasingly multidisciplinary and collaborative, an evolution which I fully embrace. Innovation happens at the intersections of otherwise disconnected spaces. CPS should be the outlet where this innovation is happening.

In assembling your editorial board, what steps have you taken to ensure diverse representation across demographic and geographic categories, content domains, and methodologies, as well as among underrepresented or marginalized groups? Why is this diverse representation important for the journal?

Commitment to diversity and representativeness are core values in my work as a psychological scientist, and I integrate these values explicitly into my work as an adviser, a teacher, and the director of our clinical psychology training program at Northwestern University, in the expansion of my own research program to recruit more diverse samples and explore relevant empirical questions; and in my service to the field more broadly. My editorial work will be no exception. Specifically, in assembling my associate editorial team I aimed to incorporate diversity across many domains, including demographic, geographic, cultural, and intellectual diversity. The associate editors reflect expertise that is wide-ranging across psychopathological constructs, methodological approaches, and specific populations (e.g., child vs adult).

Clinical psychology is an incredibly diverse field, but this diversity has been remarkably absent in the editorial teams leading our top outlets. This results in a highly restricted pipeline influencing which papers are ultimately published and subsequently shape the field in consequential ways. It is long overdue for our top outlets to better reflect the wide diversity existing in the field itself, which will in turn result in greater diversity and intellectual expansion in the papers appearing in our journals. These goals were top of mind as I invited associate editors who will lead the journal over the coming years, and all of us will be similarly prioritizing these goals as we jointly create the broader team of consulting editors and ad hoc reviewers.

A final point is that clinical psychology, like other areas in psychology, has been long dominated by very senior scholars, often clustering at elite institutions. This, too, results in a stifled and biased academic pipeline, missing the amazing scientific contributions to the publication process that we might find with broader institutional participation and the explicit prioritization of younger scholars. These were additional considerations as I contemplated the associate editor team, and the associate editors and I will be attending to this once again when assembling the consulting editorial board.

Considering this task in its entirety, it is intimidating in its breadth and depth, and clinical psychology has failed on many fronts. I hope that the next phase of CPS begins the long process of opening up our science to many new voices.

It is long overdue for our top outlets to better reflect the wide diversity existing in the field itself, which will in turn result in greater diversity and intellectual expansion in the papers appearing in our journals.

What are some things authors should keep in mind when considering whether to submit their articles to CPS? Are there particular questions or issues their papers should address to increase their chances of having their article accepted?

In our review and evaluation of manuscripts, the associate editors and I will be attending to the priority areas at the core of the vision for the next phase of the journal. These three priority areas are (1) scientific interdisciplinarity and innovative collaboration, (2) diversity and representation, and (3) best practices regarding scientific openness and transparency. The associate editors and I will view submissions tackling one or more of these priority areas as particularly relevant to the core mission of the journal, and we hope to see many strong submissions from authors that incorporate these priorities.

What do you see as the role of Clinical Psychological Science in open science and reproducibility efforts?

I have been an active participant in the open science and reproducibility efforts in psychological science, primarily from the perspective of clinical psychological science. Through these experiences, I have highlighted the need to balance multiple viewpoints—including those already immersed in reform efforts and those potentially unaware or even opposed to them, as well as the many diverse research topics and methodologies employed across the range of psychological science. Much of my own writing on these topics has been from the perspective of integrating open science and replication topics with the broader clinical psychological community, which has been largely uninvolved to date.

As I have written in a number of articles on this topic and otherwise demonstrated in my various open-science activities, I believe there are many relevant practices and issues that need much more focused attention and consideration—too many to fully delineate here. Although clinical psychological science has lagged behind other areas of psychology in this movement, CPS has nonetheless been at the forefront of institutional change in this regard. I hope to build on the foundation that Scott Lilienfeld has built and bring a fresh perspective to advancing these issues at CPS, alongside my associate and consulting editor teams.

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