In this first issue of volume 58 of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences we have 19 interesting original articles and letters to the editor by authors from five countries: Canada, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. I am very pleased to report that we have received positive feedback from international readers and contributors. Our journal has expanded its publicity as evidenced by recent data for these years: submissions increased from 121 manuscripts in 2000, to 137 in 2001 and to 148 in 2002 and we expect submissions to reach 160 in 2003 (139 at 6 November 2003).

We published 103 papers in the six issues of the volume 57, 2003. Submissions from international researchers also increased, and 30 of the 82 published papers in 2001, 31 of 80 in 2002 and 37 of 103 in 2003 were international contributions, which makes up one-third of all published articles. Of particular note is that there were 37 contributions by authors from 13 international countries including 20 papers from Asia (nine from Korea, nine from Taiwan and two from India), and 17 from 10 different countries including Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, USA and Yugoslavia.

We are very encouraged by the fact that many researchers in Asian countries are now interested in publishing their work in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. Our journal can serve as an international medium of communication for their activities. In 2003, we received many submissions from Korea, Taiwan, China and India, and, for the first time, from Malaysia and Thailand. It would be very satisfying if in the near future we could include contributions from researchers based in all parts of the world.

As a result of this increase in submissions in recent years, I regret that we do not have enough space to accommodate all submissions and have had to request that a few authors undertake major revisions in order to meet the standard for publication, or that they submit their papers to another journal. Unfortunately, 20% of manuscripts submitted in 2002 fell into that category (Table 1).

Table 1. Breakdown of submissions
No. manuscripts submitted121137148
Evaluated as acceptable with minor addendum or erratum 63 65 52
Papers accepted after major revision 47 51 67

It is an opportune time to remind you of a new arrangement for our journal that commenced in 2003 – good news for authors who are planning or preparing more papers to submit in the near future. For the 5 years since Volume 52 was published in 1998, one of the six issues each year was devoted to short papers presented at the Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Sleep Research. That society started up their own journal, Sleep and Biological Rhythms, and so from 2003, all six issues of our journal were used for the sole purpose of publishing contributions to Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. Thus the 600 pages now can be allocated for around 100 submissions, and we are planning to increase the number of pages to accommodate the increasing number of contributions.

Following a meeting in September 2003, we decided to make some changes to the review process for submissions. I will remain as Editor-in-Chief to serve for another 3-year term. Eight field editors have been appointed for each specialty in psychiatry. They are:

  • • 
    Dr Hiroshi Kurita (Tokyo), child and adolescent psychiatry
  • • 
    Dr Yoshiro Okubo (Tokyo), neuroimaging
  • • 
    Dr Teruhiko Higuchi (Chiba), neuropsychopharmacology
  • • 
    Dr Tadafumi Kato (Saitama), molecular psychiatry
  • • 
    Dr Yutaka Ono (Tokyo), mental health and social psychiatry
  • • 
    Dr Yuji Okazaki (Tsu), Dr Masato Matsuura (Tokyo) and Dr Shigenobu Kanba (Yamanashi), other fields in psychiatry, neurology and neurosciences.

From 2004, each field editor will be responsible, in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief, for deciding if a manuscript is acceptable or requires further revision. We hope this reformation will have a positive impact on the quality of accepted papers.

In the coming volume we hope to have more review articles and letters to the editors that are aimed at facilitating dialogue with our readership. To achieve this, we have sent out invitations to successful researchers to ask for contributions in the areas in which they are engaged. We were delighted to publish four invited review articles in volume 57. Two were by Professor Masayoshi Kurachi on ‘Pathogenesis of schizophrenia: Part I: Symptomatology, cognitive characteristics and brain morphology’, and ‘Pathogenesis of schizophrenia: Part II: Temporo-frontal two-step hypothesis’. Another was by Professor Ken Takaoka on ‘Catatonia in childhood and adolescence’, and a final one by Dr Tadafumi Kato on ‘Biological predictions of lithium response in bipolar disorders’. In addition, we had 17 letters to the editor in volume 57, and this type of active participation is attracting the attention of readers.

We are making a great effort to reduce the time from submission to publication. Currently, it takes on average 10 months: 4 months for the review process and 6 months for the editing, printing and mailing. Although the publication time of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences is one of the fastest in this specialty we will endeavor to reduce it further. Our reviewers, mainly from our list of Advisory Editors and their colleagues who are actively working as researchers in the related fields, do their utmost to provide authors with clear instructions on how to improve the quality of their submissions.

The responses we have received in previous years have been positive, with an increasing member of contributions. This is very encouraging to those engaged in the editorial work, but we must continue to strive for a successful journal with a steady influx of good quality, innovative and cutting-edge scientific material.

Join us and make this journal your own by contributing your work.

January, 2004