2021 Clinical Psychological Science Submission Guidelines

For authors of manuscripts originally submitted before December 31, 2020, please see the 2020 Submission Guidelines.

Submission of Manuscripts and Journal Emphases

Before submitting a manuscript to Clinical Psychological Science, please read the journal’s Aims and Scope, Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Tackett’s interview in the Observer, as well as the guidelines below. Please also read the latest editorial policies from the APS Publications Committee.

Manuscripts must be submitted through Clinical Psychological Science‘s submission website at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/cpx.

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 an empirically robust, representative, and inclusive 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:

  • Is this contribution the product of scientific interdisciplinarity or collaboration, across the field (e.g., clinical science intersection with other areas within psychology) or beyond (e.g., clinical science intersection with fields other than psychology)?
  • Does this work contribute to the journal’s commitment to promote diversity, inclusion, and representativeness?
  • Does this contribution reflect current best practices and forward thinking in research practices and products that are open, transparent, replicable, and methodologically rigorous?

It is not expected that each contribution reflects all these goals (although such contributions are certainly welcome, as well), but authors are encouraged to clearly state any aspects of the contribution that reflect these priority areas, both in the cover letter as well as throughout the manuscript itself. This will help editorial staff and reviewers attend to the issues the authors see as the salient contribution.

Clinical Psychological Science places a particular priority on manuscripts that are interdisciplinary and bring the best available basic science from within psychology (e.g., social psychology, cross-cultural psychology, personality psychology, cognitive psychology, affective psychology, comparative psychology, neuroscience) and outside of psychology (e.g., sociology, anthropology, genetics, microbiology) to bear on our understanding of psychopathology. Hence, our journal prioritizes manuscripts that cut across multiple levels of analysis in the explanatory hierarchy ranging from “neurons to neighborhoods.” Examples might be a manuscript that examines social-cognitive processes and their relevance to the etiology of depression, a manuscript that examines how the interaction between two brain regions places people at risk for anxiety disorders, or a manuscript that examines how cultural variables shape the experience or expression of schizophrenia (of course, these are only three potential examples among hundreds). CPS requires that manuscripts bear direct implications for clinical problems; manuscripts that do not contain measures of constructs pertinent to psychopathology are unlikely to be accepted unless authors can make an especially strong case for their relevance to clinical science.

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Badge System and Open Practices

Clinical Psychological Science strongly endorses the aims of open science, which is consistent with the view that transparency, integrity, and collegiality (including the sharing of materials and data with colleagues) are crucial elements of successful science. In this spirit, all manuscripts accepted for publication in Clinical Psychological Science are eligible to earn one or more Open Science Badges. Badges are awarded for promoting openness in science through sharing of data and/or materials, and making study methods, procedures, and analyses more transparent. They are neither a direct nor indirect means of asserting that publications with one or more badges are of higher quality than publications without them.

The following badges are available:

  • Open Data badge for making publicly available the digitally shareable data necessary to reproduce the reported result. This includes annotated copies of the code or syntax used for all exploratory and principal analyses. If the data contains sensitive, personal information, a PA (Protected Access) notation will be added if the authors post their data according to the guidelines regarding protected access repositories (see below for more information about this notation).
  • Open Materials badge for making publicly available the digitally shareable materials/methods necessary to reproduce the reported results.
  • Preregistered badge for having a preregistered design and analysis plan for the reported research and reporting results according to that plan. An analysis plan includes specification of the variables and the analyses that will be conducted. Please note that “Preregistration” does not require all analyses to be confirmatory (planned in advance); it merely requires investigators to state up front which analyses are confirmatory and which are exploratory. High-quality exploratory research is more than welcome in the pages of CPS, as long as authors explicitly acknowledge that the analyses are exploratory and, when relevant, acknowledge potential constraints on the replicability of these findings. Similarly, registered analyses of archival data that follow best practices in open and transparent reporting are also welcome (e.g., Tackett, Brandes, & Reardon, 2019; Tackett, Brandes, Dworak, & Shields, 2020). If the analysis plan was registered prior to observation of outcomes, the Open Practices note will include the notation DE (Data Exist). If there were strongly justified changes to an analysis plan, the Open Practices note will include the notation TC (Transparent Changes). Authors who have additional unreported registrations or unreported analyses without strong justification (as determined by the Editor-in-Chief) will not qualify for a badge. Please see Research Preregistration 101 for more information.

To apply for one or more of these badges acknowledging open practices, authors must provide the information requested in the Open Practices Disclosure form, which is sent to all authors of accepted manuscripts.

Badge icons will be displayed at the beginning of the article, and information related to open practices will be published in a note titled “Open Practices” that will appear at the end of the article. Badges are awarded following the disclosure method, in which authors provide public statements affirming achievement of badge criteria.

More about the Protected Access notation (Open Data):

The Protected Access notation may be added to Open Data badges if sensitive, personal data are available from an approved protected access repository. These repositories manage access to such data to qualified researchers who complete a documented process which the repository publicly describes. This notation is not available to researchers who state that they will make “data available upon request” and is not available if requests for data sharing are evaluated on any criteria beyond considerations for compliance with proper handling of sensitive data. Please view the Approved Protected Access Repositories list  for more information.

Journal staff will contact the corresponding authors of accepted manuscripts with details on the badge-awarding process.

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Types of Articles

The primary focus of the journal is on empirical investigations that advance theory, methodology, or application related to topics within clinical psychological science. 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. In addition, we welcome articles that provide broad philosophical and historical perspectives on clinical science, as well as those that offer novel methodological or meta-scientific approaches to the field. Replications (both positive and negative) of previous findings in the literature are also welcome, provided that these replications are accompanied by sufficient justification of the importance of the original findings.

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 6 tables and figures (e.g., 4 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.

In addition, Clinical Psychological Science generally does not accept manuscripts focusing on psychotherapy outcome studies given that these manuscripts can generally be accommodated within existing journals (e.g., Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology). Nevertheless, we will happily consider manuscripts that incorporate rigorous tests of mechanisms of change within psychotherapy outcome studies or address other priority areas (e.g., diversity and inclusion or open and transparent scientific practices) in the context of psychotherapy outcome.

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 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. 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 be of broad appeal, and that are not readily accommodated by review journals. Narrative and meta-analytic reviews may be considered, although they need to provide substantial theoretical advances rather than mere summaries of effect sizes between variables. 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, footnotes, appendices). Articles are limited to a total combination of 6 tables and figures (e.g., 4 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 also be submitted in response to an article (authors should contact the Editor in advance before doing so to ensure that it has a chance of consideration). 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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Other APS Journals

Clinical Psychological Science does not compete directly with other journals of the Association, including Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. Authors may submit manuscripts to Clinical Psychological Science that have been previously rejected from a different APS journal; in such cases, the Editor and Associate Editor(s) will be able to access editorial materials related to the previous submission, including editor comments, external reviews, and the editorial decision letter.

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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 that 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 concerning their methods and procedures, which are often 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. 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 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, ancillary citations, or interesting subsidiary analyses that are not directly relevant to the authors’ hypotheses; 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, 7th edition, must be followed with respect to handling of references, tables, figures, abbreviations, and symbols. Permission from the copyright owner must be obtained by the author(s) for use of any figure previously published elsewhere (note that this is not the responsibility of the journal). Descriptions of Methods and Results should be prepared with special attention to readability; be certain to minimize the use of technical lingo, and when such lingo is necessary, be certain to define and explain it clearly. Authors may upload manuscript and ancillary files as Word .doc or .docx, as .rtf, as .pdf, or as .tex. If you submit a .tex file, please also submit a PDF file conversion, as the submission portal cannot render .tex files in the PDF proof. Each manuscript should include a cover page with title, author names and affiliations, full contact information for the corresponding author, and keywords.

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Author Contributions

Authorship requires significant participation in the conceptualization, research, or writing of a manuscript, including participation in the design and/or interpretation of reported studies 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 explicitly 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.”

SAGE is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. We strongly encourage all authors and co-authors to use ORCID iDs during the peer-review process. If you already have an ORCID iD, please login to your account on SAGE Track and edit the account information to link to your ORCID iD. If you do not already have an ORCID iD, please login to your SAGE Track account to create your unique identifier and automatically add it to your profile. PLEASE NOTE: ORCID iDs must be linked to author accounts prior to manuscript acceptance or they will not be displayed upon publication. ORCID iDs cannot be linked during the copyediting phase.

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When evaluation of the data involves statistical significance testing, effect sizes and confidence intervals should also accompany the major results wherever 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’ racial/ethnic identification, culture/geographic background, sex/gender, and a measure of income, education, or socioeconomic status; if such data were not collected, this point should be noted explicitly as a limitation.

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Preparation of Graphics

The journal requires that for accepted manuscripts, figures be embedded within the main document near to where they are discussed in the text. A figure’s caption should be placed in the text just below the figure. For initial submissions, tables and figures may be placed at the end of the manuscript.

Authors who are submitting revisions should also upload separate figure files that adhere to the APS Figure Format and Style Guidelines. Submitting separate, production-quality files helps to facilitate timely publication should the manuscript ultimately be accepted.

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