Clinical Psychological Science Submission FAQs


Are there any guidelines regarding article format?

Can you give me more information on the two questions that must be completed during the submission process?

Are the word limits real?

Does Clinical Psychological Science have special requirements regarding style?

If I send an abstract of an article, can you tell me if it is a likely candidate for Clinical Psychological Science?

How should I prepare graphics for submission?

It is possible to include color in figures?

Is a cover letter necessary?

Is it really okay to suggest preferred reviewers?

How quickly are manuscripts reviewed?

Why are manuscripts declined after initial review?

What kinds of manuscripts are most likely to be accepted for publication?

I have addressed some of the problems identified by the reviewers and want to resubmit. May I?

I have had a manuscript accepted for publication in Clinical Psychological Science. Can I place a version on my web site and with my university’s research article repository?

Does Clinical Psychological Science accept supplemental materials?

I have a question that’s not listed here. How can I get an answer?

I cannot decide which format—Empirical Article or Brief Empirical Report—is the best one to use to describe my study. Are there any guidelines?

Yes, one good rule is to use the briefest format that allows a compelling account of your work. Empirical Articles and Brief Empirical Reports are limited to 12,000 and 5,000 words, respectively. If, for example, your first draft has 6,000 words, try to eliminate 1,000 words so that the manuscript can be submitted as a Brief Empirical Report. And, if you find that your first draft is a few hundred words under the limit (e.g., 11,500 words for an Empirical Article) and covers all the necessary points, please resist the temptation to add words. Editors, reviewers, and readers all prefer manuscripts that are to the point.

Generally speaking, a Brief Empirical Report is the preferred format for a manuscript describing a single study with straightforward methods and analyses. The Empirical Article is the appropriate format for a manuscript that requires description of unfamiliar methods or procedures; complex screening and diagnostic criteria; procedures to maintain treatment integrity; findings from multiple studies; or complex and novel methods of data analyses.

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Authors are asked to answer two questions about their work when they submit a manuscript. Why are these questions being asked? Also, what weight will the answers carry in the review process?

The journal is devoted to research that makes a clear-cut and substantial contribution to knowledge in an area relevant to clinical science. This is more than research that is a first (which may or may not be important) or that fills a relatively small gap in knowledge. Of course, what constitutes an important research step, an important first, or gap-filling is inherently a judgment call. The journal makes these calls—in a sense all journals do in some way. But in making these calls, we want the authors’ input at the outset. If the editorial staff similarly believes that the study is both important and well-conducted, the manuscript will go out for review in the usual way and reviewers too will be involved in that process. In contrast, we will typically refer well-done studies that may not be of this ilk back to the author for potential publication elsewhere. In the case of conceptual or review manuscripts, the manuscript must make more than an incremental or piecemeal contribution to knowledge; it must advance the field of clinical psychological science in substantial ways.  In addition, the manuscript must be of broad interest to scholars across multiple domains of psychological science.

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Are the word limits real or simply suggestions? What counts in the word limit and what is ignored?

They are real. Articles published in Clinical Psychological Science are intended to communicate groundbreaking findings or less commonly, conceptual or methodological contributions, in straightforward, economical prose; consequently, authors are expected to adhere to the word limit for each format. Manuscripts that exceed limits without prior consultation with the editor will almost always be returned.

The word count includes everything except the body of tables and figures. Front matter (title page) and back matter (references, footnotes, appendices, table and figure captions) are included. Abstracts are included in the word limits, but also have their own limits: 150 words for Empirical Articles, Brief Empirical Articles, and Theoretical/Review/Methodological Articles; 100 words for Short Communications and Commentaries.

Empirical Articles are limited to a total combination of 4 tables and figures (e.g., 2 tables and 2 figures). Brief Empirical Reports are limited to a total combination of 2 tables and figures (e.g., 1 table and 1 figure). Theoretical/Review/Methodological Articles are limited to a total combination of 5 tables and figures (e.g., 3 tables and 2 figures). Short Communications and Commentaries may include 1 table or figure. In all cases, each table or figure should occupy no more than a single printed page.

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Does Clinical Psychological Science have special requirements regarding style?

Clinical Psychological Science generally follows the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. You are encouraged to consult that manual for guidelines. Several stylistic elements are particularly noteworthy:

  1. Description of participants—this should include how participants were selected, and major demographic information.
  2. References—these should be done in APA (6th edition) style.
  3. Figures and tables—these should appear at the end of the manuscript, not embedded in the main text.
  4. Figure captions—these should be brief but descriptive. Paragraph-length (or longer) figure captions are not appropriate; key details regarding methods or results should appear in the main text, not the figure caption.

For additional information regarding style and other submission requirements, please read the Submission Guidelines.

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I have a manuscript that I am thinking about submitting to Clinical Psychological Science. If I send an abstract, will you read it and tell me if it is a likely candidate for Clinical Psychological Science?

The journal has a very a high rate of submissions. Consequently, as much as we would like to, we cannot conduct pre-reviews of Abstracts or drafts of responses. Colleagues whose works have been cited, individuals doing programmatic work in the area, and others not affiliated with the journal can always be sought informally for such purposes. It is in all of our interests to receive a finished product for consideration.

We believe that the domain of the journal is clear (see Alan Kazdin’s editorial). It is conceivable that an author will have a question about whether a topic, type of study, or thrust of an empirical or conceptual/methodological paper falls within the domain of the journal. We are pleased to engage in that exchange to determine the appropriateness of a topic, without any implication, of course, about how the manuscript on that topic will ultimately be received or reviewed.

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How should I prepare graphics for submission?

We ask that authors supply the original versions of graphs and diagrams they create. 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, please supply the original Excel file. 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). Please see the APS Figure Format and Style Guidelines for more information.

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It is possible to include color in figures?

Yes. Articles that are published can include color in their figures. However, the use of color is very expensive—printing color images requires expensive inks and a complex manufacturing process. These incur costs several times greater than those of black-and-white images. Consequently, authors are allowed one free color figure per article; subsequent color figures cost $250 each.

We also allow authors to use color images in the version of the manuscript that is published online but black-and-white images in the print version. There is no charge for this option. However, because this increases workload during production, we (a) strongly discourage gratuitous use of color in figures (e.g., presenting bar graphs in blue, where the color provides no unique information), and (b) require that authors provide only one version of every figure—one that will be suitable in color and when gray-scaled for print (e.g., in bar and line graphs, this means that color alone cannot be used to distinguish different graphic elements; texture, shape, or pattern should be used as well). Please see the Submission Guidelines and APS Figure Format and Style Guidelines for additional information.

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Is a cover letter necessary?

For revised submissions, a cover letter is expected and strongly recommended, as it assists the editors in evaluating how, and how well, an author has addressed concerns that were raised by the editor and by reviewers. However, for new submissions, a cover letter is not needed. All of the necessary information that an author might include in a cover letter (e.g., that the research complies with ethical guidelines and that the manuscript is not under review elsewhere, suggestions for reviewers) is requested by the submission system (SAGEtrack) when an author uploads a manuscript.

Sometimes authors include long descriptions about why their submission is ideal for Clinical Psychological Science. Frankly, editors do not pay much attention to this material because it’s the manuscript that needs to make a compelling case, not the cover letter.

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I see that the web site allows authors to suggest preferred reviewers. Is it really okay to list people here?

Yes, definitely. Authors often are familiar with experts in their area of research, and editors almost always appreciate their suggestions. We should emphasize, however, that the suggestions are entirely advisory and that including suggested reviewers does not mean each or any request will be honored; this decision is up to the discretion of the action editor for the manuscript. This latter situation could occur because the suggested reviewers have reviewed for the journal recently, they are unavailable, their previous reviews have not been sufficiently helpful, or they appear to have a conflict of interest. Regarding the last point, authors should abstain from recommending any of their recent mentors or students, recent close collaborators, or colleagues from the same department or university as preferred reviewers.

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How quickly are manuscripts reviewed?

Two editors initially review each new submission to decide whether it is likely to be competitive for publication. Within 2-3 weeks of submission, you will be notified by email that your manuscript either (a) has been declined after initial review or (b) has been sent to external referees for extended review. For manuscripts in the latter category, you can typically expect a decision within 60 days of manuscript submission.

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Why are manuscripts declined after initial review?

In general, manuscripts are declined after initial review because they do not meet the editorial goals of Clinical Psychological Science. Specifically, two editors have evaluated the manuscript and believed the manuscript did not make a substantial scientific contribution to knowledge sufficient for inclusion in the journal. It is often difficult to convey to authors (or to be on the receiving end) that the study was well designed and answered the questions fairly well, but that the manuscript was nevertheless not accepted. The context is relevant and usually includes a plethora of submitted manuscripts, most of which might well meet those criteria. As noted earlier, Clinical Psychological Science seeks to publish manuscripts that substantially advance knowledge and thinking in a given area, will have broad readership, cut across two or more traditional levels of analysis (e.g., biological, personological, social, cultural), and will stimulate further work that makes an advance.

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What kinds of manuscripts are most likely to be accepted for publication?

The answer to the previous question is useful in response to this question as well. The journal covers all of the topics within clinical psychological science and is open to multiple disciplines, methodologies, and approaches that shed light on the etiology, description, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of psychopathology. Novel perspectives and methods of addressing a question are likely to yield novel views or uncover different facets of a problem. We are not seeking a journal of all novel papers, which in time would be self-contradictory as the novel becomes routine. We are seeking advances, and advances often come from collaborative, integrative, and multidisciplinary approaches. All of that said, we seek contributions to knowledge that are clear and will be of broad interest. Aside from that, it is in the best interests of the journal not to go beyond those criteria to specify method, content, or foci.

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I have addressed some of the problems identified by the reviewers and want to resubmit. May I?

Resubmission is by invitation only. You should submit a revised version only when the action editor’s decision letter explicitly indicates that he or she would like to consider a revised manuscript. Uninvited revisions are usually declined immediately.

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I have had a manuscript accepted for publication in Clinical Psychological Science. Can I place a version on my web site and with my university’s research article repository?

The version that was submitted may be placed on your personal or department website or with the university repository at any time. Upon acceptance, you may post the final, accepted version of the article on your personal or departmental Web site(s) or in your departmental or institutional repository(ies) (green open access). One year after publication, you may make the final, accepted version available in other repositories. You may not post the final published PDF anywhere without permission, but you may include a link to it.

Note that authors who wish to pay for immediate public availability of their paper to comply with NIH or other funder mandates may use the SAGE Choice option (gold open access), in which case SAGE will complete the necessary repository deposits on their behalf.

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

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Does Clinical Psychological Science accept supplemental materials?

Yes. Authors are free to submit certain types of supplemental material. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, such material will be published online on the publisher’s web site and linked to the article. However, such material must be supplemental and cannot be essential for the reader to understand and evaluate the manuscript.

As described in the Submission Guidelines, 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.

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.

Under SOM-R, authors may wish to provide more details on their methods and procedures–details of particular interest to specialists in the area; to readers concerned with the reliability, generality, and robustness of the results; or to researchers who endeavor to replicate the results.  If authors have carried out direct or conceptual 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 greatly welcomed by editors, reviewers, and readers alike. SOM-R material is limited to 1,000 words (including text, notes, and captions for tables or figures), 10 references, and 3 tables or figures (combined).

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 to the submission system when the manuscript proper is submitted.

Video files can be submitted in QuickTime (*.mov), MPEG Movie (*.mpg), and Microsoft AVI Video (*.avi); acceptable audio files include Windows Media Player (*.wma) and MP3 (*.mp3). Signed release from all participants in audio and video clips is required; please use the Audio/Visual Likeness Release Form for this purpose.

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I have a question that’s not listed here. How can I get an answer?

Send an email to cps@psychologicalscience.org. We will answer as promptly as possible. For more information about practices at Clinical Psychological Science, we strongly encourage potential submitters to read Alan Kazdin’s editorial and interview in the March 2012 issue of the Observer, and look for Scott Lilienfeld’s upcoming interview in the Observer in October.

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