Clinical Psychological Science Submission Guidelines

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

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General Journal Information

Manuscript Review and Journal Emphases

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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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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Preparing Your Manuscript

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. Replications will be accepted as regular empirical articles, but authors are also encouraged to propose replications as registered reports.

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.

Registered Reports. The journal welcomes Empirical Articles, including original articles, replication studies, and analyses of secondary data, that take the form of registered reports. For registered reports, the primary review and revision process occurs prior to data collection and focuses on evaluating and improving the introduction, methods, and analysis plan (see for detailed guidelines and examples).

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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Content Requirements

All articles must include the following two sections immediately after the main text, before the reference section:

  • Author Contributions: See details below.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Authors should identify any conflicts of interest in this section (and should also report them during the submission process). If authors have no conflicts of interest, they should state, “The author(s) declare that there were no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship or the publication of this article.”

All articles may also include the following sections after the main text and before the reference list, as appropriate:

  • Acknowledgments: Authors should use this section to identify any people who should be credited for their assistance with the reported research.
  • Funding: This section should be used to acknowledge funding sources, in complete sentences and with the full names of funders spelled out.
  • Supplemental Material: If Supplemental Material will be posted on the journal’s Web site, include this heading and the appropriate link will be added during editing.
  • Prior versions: If part or all of a submitted manuscript was previously posted to a blog or to a preprint archive, the authors should provide a link to that source and briefly indicate what aspects of the submitted manuscript are shared with that prior version.

All Empirical Articles, as well as any other article that is eligible for the Open Data, Open Materials, Open Code, or Preregistration badge, must also include the following content in a separate “Transparency and Openness” section immediately prior to the Method section:

  • Preregistration: This subsection of the Disclosures section provides one or more links to any preregistration documentation, whether for study designs, analysis plans, or both. If only some of the reported studies were preregistered, this subsection should indicate which ones were and which ones were not. If no studies were preregistered, state as much.
  • Data, materials, code, and online resources: This subsection provides one or more permanent, persisting links to a public archive (e.g.,,, where readers can access any code, materials, de-identified data, or other resources. It should also refer to any Supplemental Material that will be posted on the journal’s Web site. If any materials, code, or data are not publicly available, this subsection should explain why and should note how researchers can access them for research purposes. Data, materials, and code sharing (or citation to secondary sources) are required to the extent legally and ethically permissible.
  • Reporting: For all manuscripts reporting new empirical work, the text in this subsection must state, “We report how we determined our sample size, all data exclusions, all manipulations, and all measures in the study” (see Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011). If any aspect of this statement is untrue or not applicable, the authors should instead explain why (e.g., “This study involved an analysis of existing data rather than new data collection”). For studies not involving new empirical work, authors should verify that they have reported any and all simulations or other analyses they conducted as part of the work.
  • Ethical approval: 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 (note that the latest version of the Declaration of Helsinki requires preregistration before data collection begins). Authors reporting research involving nonhuman animal subjects should indicate whether institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed. If ethical approval was not required, the reason should be given. Information that could identify subjects will not be published unless the information is necessary and written, informed consent is obtained.

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Author Contributions

Authorship implies significant participation in the research reported or in writing the 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 in which the authors are listed and must have read the final manuscript and approved its submission. They must also agree to take responsibility for the work in the event that its integrity or veracity is questioned.

Furthermore, as part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent, and fair peer review and publication process, APS journals have adopted the use of CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy). CRediT is a high-level taxonomy, including 14 roles that can be used to represent the roles typically played by contributors to scientific scholarly output.

These roles describe the possible contributions to the published work:

Conceptualization: Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims

Methodology; Development or design of methodology; creation of models

Software: Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components

Validation Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/ reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs

Formal Analysis Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyze or synthesize study data

Investigation: Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection

Resources: Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools

Data Curation: Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later reuse

Writing – Original Draft: Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation)

Writing – Review & Editing: Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision–including pre- or postpublication stages

Visualization: Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/ data presentation

Supervision: Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team

Project Administration: Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution

Funding Acquisition: Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.

The submitting author is responsible for listing the contributions of all authors at submission. All authors should agree to their individual contributions prior to submission.

In order to adhere to SAGE’s authorship criteria authors must have been responsible for at least one of the following CRediT roles:

  • Conceptualization
  • Methodology
  • Formal Analysis
  • Investigation

AND at least one of the following:

  • Writing – Original Draft Preparation
  • Writing – Review & Editing

Authors should indicate their contributions by role. For example:

“Conceptualization: D. Wu, A. Brown, and M. Augilera; Methodology: T. Sossou; Formal Analysis: D. Wu and H. Andreas; Investigation: M. Augilera, T. Sossou, and D. Wu; Writing – Original Draft Preparation: D. Wu and A. Brown; Writing – Review & Editing: D. Wu, A. Brown, M. Augilera, and T. Sossou; Supervision: D. Wu; Project Administration: M. Augilera and A. Brown.

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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Manuscript Format and Structure

Submissions should follow the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) for references, abbreviations, and symbols. After acceptance, authors will need to provide a high-quality version of each figure for production purposes.

The main document file, which is used to create the PDF proof that is the primary document made available to editors and reviewers, must be in Word, RTF, or PDF format in order to render properly. However, authors who wish to submit an already-formatted article (generated using LaTeX, R Markdown, or other methods) in addition to the primary manuscript can submit both the formatted (“knit”) document and the file used to generate it as supplementary files. Such formatted documents (e.g., R Notebooks) allow for a completely reproducible process that incorporates both the manuscript text and analyses within a single file.

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Open Science Resources

Authors new to practicing open science may find the following free resources useful:



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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.

The editorial team takes the adjective supplemental seriously. SOM should include the sort of material that enhances the reader’s understanding of an article but is not essential for understanding the article. SOM files should be uploaded or linked during initial 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 wherever possible. When relevant, bar and line graphs should include distributional information, usually confidence intervals or standard errors of the mean.

All statistics reported in CPS should be fully reproducible from the data. Authors should provide all statistical scripts and data necessary to reproduce the reported analyses. Authors are strongly encouraged to use open-access tools for their data analysis to allow for maximal reproducibility by other researchers. Authors are also strongly encouraged to verify the accuracy of any reported statistical analyses (e.g., by using online tools such as the R package statcheck or the statcheck Web tool).

When using inferential statistics, authors should clearly specify both the proximal population from which they sampled (e.g., the subject pool at their university, Amazon Mechanical Turk) and the assumed target population for their inferences (e.g., students at American universities, typically developing primary-school children). They should also specify and justify their assumptions about the generality of the materials and testing context used in the study (see Simons, Shoda, & Lindsay, 2017, for guidance).

All statistics should be reported to an appropriate number of decimal places given the precision of the measures involved. Reported p values should be exact (e.g., p = .007 rather than < .01). All statistical tests should be accompanied by an appropriate effect-size estimate, either in the original units or standardized. Repeated measures analyses should be accompanied by an indication of the correlation between the measures, a reliability estimate, and an effect-size estimate. Effect sizes should be accompanied by confidence intervals.

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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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Citation Standards

Articles in CPS sometimes make use of pre-existing data, code, or other research products. Any use of such materials must be appropriately cited both in the text and in the list of cited sources. For example, a manuscript relying on pre-existing data for secondary analyses should cite the data set(s) by providing a unique identifier. In order of preference, that citation should refer to: (a) the recommended citation for that data set, (b) the DOI or other persistent identifier, (c) an accession number, (d) a persistent URL. When data or other resources are available only in the Supplemental Materials for a published article, the manuscript should cite the Supplemental Materials. When in doubt, cite the most durable, persistent, and unique identifier that is specific to that particular research product.

Data set citation example:

Campbell, A., & Kahn, R. L. (2015). American National Election Study, 1948. ICPSR07218-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor].

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Accepted Manuscripts

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. Authors are also encouraged to make publicly available video recordings of their study procedures; in return, a (VM)Visualized Methods notation will be added to the authors’ Open Materials badge (see below for more information about this notation).
  • 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 authors are asked to complete in SAGE Track after their manuscript is accepted.

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.

More about the Visualized Methods notation (Open Materials):

Even with generous word limits, there is only so much an author can convey through words; researchers who want to follow up on someone’s paper might benefit by seeing how things were actually done. Videos of study procedures could also serve as valuable teaching tools for psychology students, undergraduate and graduate alike.

Making such videos publicly available should facilitate obtaining an Open Materials badge, but would not necessarily be sufficient to earn one. For instance, in the case of a study with a computer-delivered behavioral task, the script would need to be available in order for another researcher to reproduce the procedure; a video of someone completing the computer task would not be sufficient. However, the video would make it a good deal easier for some kinds of studies to earn the Open Materials badge, such as those that entail a social interaction of some kind.

By awarding an Open Materials badge with Visualized Methods notation, Clinical Psychological Science aims to promote open behavior and to recognize that a video can be very useful for certain manuscripts; however, the journal is not trying to say that a manuscript without a video is somehow inferior to one with a video (which may not make sense in all cases).

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

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OnlineFirst Publication and TWiPS

All accepted manuscripts are published online (OnlineFirst) as soon as they reach their final copyedited, typeset, and corrected form, and each accepted article appears in a monthly print issue of Psychological Science as well as in the digital This Week in Psychological Science (TWiPS), which is distributed weekly to all APS members.

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Approximate Timeline

After you have submitted your Contributor Publishing Agreement, you may be contacted by APS’s Peer Review Specialist requesting the proper files needed for production. (If you do not receive a message from the editorial office after you submit the Contributor Publishing Agreement, it means you have already provided all the files we need for production – thanks!) Once your article has entered production, you can expect to receive proofs within approximately 6-8 weeks. Manuscripts receiving a more thorough edit will be returned to the corresponding author for review before the proof is created. After this process is complete, your article should be published online within approximately 3-4 weeks, depending on how promptly proof corrections are returned.

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