What characterises the field of addiction science is the range and variety of its component sciences. Assumptions, theories, models, tools, each discipline brings those along by the bagful. Addiction science is a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary endeavour par excellence. That fact greatly contributes to the excitement and creativity of the broad endeavour. There are within it so many different ways of addressing any single question, let alone of defining what is to count as the question. Creativity, yes on a good day, but there are, of course, inherent possibilities also for incomprehension, disciplinary imperialism, reductionism, and various other ills of that sort.

Addiction seeks to serve its field by now and then setting up a commissioned series of articles that explore a defined topic. That is, as it were, the journal's thinking space, and we are much indebted to colleagues around the world who provide the component pieces, and to those who so productively often join in the ensuing debate. Within this tradition we are now launching a review series on Addiction and its Sciences. The launch contribution carried in this issue is by Joanne Neale and her colleagues and is on ‘Qualitative research methods within the addictions’. That article speaks to a mode of investigation and a way of asking the question that has a strong tradition, but that rather too seldom finds representation in current addiction journals.

Forthcoming contributions will include articles on psychometrics, economics, statistical methods, epidemiology, the investigation of drunk driving, genetics, psychology, the controlled trial as a tool in this arena, self-administration of drugs in animals and humans as a model and an investigative tool and more.

That listing is we hope likely to make live the image of a jostle of workmen with bags over their shoulders. We will hope at the end to provide several statements from people courageous enough to tell us what may be the underlying unities or contradictions with this diversity and jostle.

Your ideas on the development of this series will be very welcome. Please contact Griffith Edwards c/o