Feature

For more than a century, APA’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology has been a well-known source of research that makes important, often incremental scientific advances. Now, under the watch of new editor Sherryl Goodman, PhD, the journal will also be receptive to even more ambitious articles that can spur major changes in the field.

"The Journal of Abnormal Psychology is the place to bring work that makes big leaps forward, suggesting new ways into thinking about psychopathology," she says.

To that end, Goodman is assembling a diverse editorial team that includes mid-career researchers — people who tend to be especially receptive to paradigm-shifting research, she says — as well as more established scientists. The team will also include people from a wide array of personal and professional backgrounds, she says. So far, Goodman has enlisted eight associate editors, four of whom are female, three are mid-career professionals, one is based in a pediatrics department and one is based in a psychiatry department.

Without sacrificing the quality of reviewers’ work, Goodman also seeks to reduce the time it takes to get a paper from submission to publication by recruiting scientists who will make reviewing papers in a timely manner a priority. She’s also taking advantage of APA’s new "online first" publication strategy — in which the full text of accepted manuscripts goes online on the journal’s main Web page as soon as the editors complete their work — sometimes months before the journal’s print version is done.

"We’re going to collect data on time-to-publication and get the word out through the listservs that we are speeding things up," she says.

Goodman is well equipped to make Abnormal Psychology’s editorial process more efficient — she’s been associate editor of the journal for the last five years, was associate editor of Journal of Family Psychology prior to that, and has served on the editorial boards of many other journals including Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. She’s well known for her developmental psychopathology research, particularly on the complex ways that depression gets transmitted across generations from mothers to their children. So, in addition to seeking high-quality, cutting-edge research on mental illness, Goodman will look for papers that frame their findings in a developmental context.

"Even if a study focuses on psychopathology in a certain age group, I’ll ask authors to think about the possible implications of their findings for understanding the origins or course of disorder," she says.


To submit to the journal, visit Abnormal Psychology.