Feature

Over the past year, incoming Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology editor Suzette Evans, PhD, has looked closely at which research areas the journal has been following and which it hasn’t. Her review revealed that most of the journal’s articles have focused on the psychopharmacology of substance abuse.

But she found gaps in that coverage. For example, only one out of 54 articles specifically addressed gender differences in substance abuse, and just 9 percent focused on laboratory-based animal research. In addition, much of the human research was laboratory-based, not clinical.

Evans is working to fill those holes. “There may be a number of people in APA who would love the opportunity to publish here but who don’t even realize that it’s a possibility,” she says.

Evans is a professor of clinical neuroscience in the department of psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and director of the Women’s Research Center in the Division on Substance Abuse. She is also a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Much of her research focuses on psychopharmacology and substance abuse, and she helped pioneer studies regarding the role of the menstrual cycle and gonadal hormones on drug use and drug effects among women.

Some areas of research she wants the journal to expand into include:

  • The neurobiological processes that provide the mechanisms for specific behaviors.

  • The psychopharmacology of trauma, and the possibilities for developing medications to treat the neurobiological and behavioral changes caused by trauma.

  • The interaction of genetics, behavior and psychopharmacology.

To further broaden the journal’s scope, Evans is recruiting consulting editors with diverse backgrounds, including behavioral geneticists and an expert in psychopharmacology and sex differences.

Evans also wants to make the journal more visible and widely read across APA membership, and hopes to post highlights from each journal issue on various APA division listservs. She also plans to make a pitch for the journal in person, by meeting with the divisions’ executive boards at annual conferences.

Having more people know about the research being published by the journal should boost submissions, but it should also increase the journal’s impact, Evans says.

“Obviously, you want more people to submit quality manuscripts and get them accepted and published, but you want people to actually be reading the papers, and citing them,” she says.