Drug and Alcohol Dependence adopts new editorial structure

It has been a year now since Drug and Alcohol Dependence adopted a completely online submission and review system. Corresponding authors of new submissions now access the online submission site and submit their manuscripts as electronic files. They are immediately made available to the editorial offices and reviewers are assigned. Reviewers are contacted by email and utilize the same web site to access the paper and submit their recommendations. Subsequent correspondence with the author is via email, and accepted papers are transmitted almost instantly to the publisher.

Proofs are prepared within a month or so and sent to authors by email. The corrected proofs are made available online within a few weeks of their return to the publisher and the final manuscript is then available online soon thereafter. When all goes well, the time from submission to final online availability can be significantly shortened. We have received almost all positive feedback on this online submission and review system. Indeed, authors have endorsed this new process in a more tangible way.

Submissions to the journal are up dramatically. Monthly submission rates since going online have almost doubled. This high submission rate allows us to select only the best papers for publication. It has also allowed us to expand the size of the journal without sacrificing quality. This substantial increase in submission rates coupled with the resignation of Ian Stolerman as co-editor of the journal (discussed in an editorial in the May 2005 issue) has provided us an opportunity to consider our entire editorial structure for the journal. This involved seeking the views of the Editorial Advisory Board and the sponsoring society, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Ian Stolerman assisted greatly in the development of this new editorial structure, as did Lisa Colson and Philip Bishop from Elsevier. I am pleased to say that we have now completed this process and I am now announcing this new editorial structure. The journal will be adding five new Associate Editors to serve as action editors based on the content areas of submitted papers.

As before, all submissions will be made online, but instead of being edited by Ian Stolerman or myself, most submissions will now be assigned to one of the Associate Editors. The Associate Editors will select reviewers, conduct the correspondence with authors and reviewers and make final decisions on submissions. I am very pleased with the new team we are assembling to edit the journal. Although the exact content areas to be assigned to each of the Associate Editors are still a work in progress, I provide below a short overview of where we are headed. I am particularly pleased with the four outstanding Associate Editors we have been able to recruit:

Neuroscience and Molecular Biology

(Associate Editor: Kathryn A. Cunningham) This area includes studies using modern methods of biological and physical chemistry, neurobiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, proteomics, informatics andneuroimaging in animals. This content area also includes synthetic chemistry, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology and toxicology, immunology, and physiology. Animal and Human Behavioral Pharmacology (Associate Editor: Chris-Ellyn Johanson) This area includes laboratory-based studies of animal and human behavioral pharmacology, clinical pharmacology, conditioning, expectancies, social and economic behavior, and abuse liability assessment. Also included are papers on laboratory-based assessment of the effects of substance use, including research in neuropsychology and cognitive psychology. Neuroimaging studies in humans would also likely fit here.

Treatment and Services

(Associate Editor: Eric C. Strain) This content area includes most treatment and services research, including both pharmacotherapies and psychosocial interventions, treatment development, clinical trials, treatment patient matching, perinatal addictions, cost-effectiveness, treatment access, outcomes research, and methodology related to treatment and services research. It would also include those aspects of diagnosis and nosology that are pertinent to assessment and treatment, such as scale development and validation. Research on knowledge transfer and dissemination of treatment are also pertinent here. Research on biomarkers (including analytical chemistry, urinalysis, and related monitoring) as they relate to treatment outcomes would be included as well.

Etiology, Epidemiology, Prevention and Policy

(Associate Editors: James C. (Jim) Anthony and one to be announced) This content area includes clinical and population-based studies of suspected determinants of drug/alcohol problems, including genetic, psychosocial, contextual or other factors. Other areas include studies of comorbidity, individual differences, personality, stress, aggression and violence, family processes, attitudes and expectancies, developmental periods, assessment, ethnic, and gender issues. This area may also include same aspects of the consequences of substance use disorders, including effects of perinatal exposure, psychosocial effects, and developmental effects.

Population genetics research would also fit. This content area also includes larger population-based studies of incidence and prevalence, both on general and special populations, of substance use disorders as well as related conditions such as HIV/AIDS, high risk behaviors and comorbidities. Included would be studies of student and other adolescent substance use, crosscultural research, ethnography, survey development, trajectories, and development of multivariate research methods, as well as prevention research, including prevention trials and services research relating to the dissemination of evidencebased prevention.

In addition, history, law, anthropology, economics, sociology, and policy studies would be included here. In addition to serving as editors for individual submissions within their content areas, Associate Editors will join with me in making editorial policies and other decisions relevant to the content and processing of submissions. Associate Editors will also assist me in soliciting submissions and review papers, evaluating requests for special issues and supplements, expanding the opportunities for submission of supplementary materials for online access only and in other new journal initiatives. Ian Stolerman and I will continue to serve as editors for papers that are received before the transition to the new editorial structure. Ian has kindly agreed to retain his ties tothe journal through service on the Editorial Advisory Board.

My assignment as Editor-in-Chief will be to work with the Associate Editors to maintain the quality of journal content, to equate the quality among the content areas and to serve as action editor for submissions where conflicts of interest may arise with a particular Associate Editor. I will also continue to edit some new submissions as we transition to the new system with a goal of equating the workload among the five Associate Editors. I will also be the point of contact for requests to submit review papers, supplemental issues and the evolution of journal policies on ethical issues and scientific misconduct. In addition, the editorial management of the journal will remain physically in my office as we provide assistance to the Associate Editors, authors, and reviewers throughout the submission and review process.

I will also serve as the point of contact between the journal and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Typically, this contact is with the CPDD Publications Committee, currently chaired by Nicholas Goeders, who has done a terrific job representing College interests in the management of the journal. Drug and Alcohol Dependence is owned by Elsevier. I work closely with Lisa Colson (Administrative Editor) and Phil Bishop (Publishing Editor) with Elsevier. They are based in Amsterdam. They have been assigned to this journal for over a year now and we work closely together on all management decisions regarding the journal. Both the print and online versions of the journal are assembled in the Elsevier office in Shannon, Ireland. Our main contact person there is Lecia Browne, who serves as the Journal Manager.

Lecia has managed the publication of the journal for several years and is in large part responsible for the excellent publication quality of the printed version. Lecia and her staff in Ireland will continue in this role. Finally, Sharon Nelson serves as my Editorial Assistant for the journal. Sharon is based in my offices in Richmond and has been key to the successful conversion to online submission. Her role is being expanded as she works with the Associate Editors as well to monitor the submission and review process for submitted papers.

Overall, with the five new Associate Editors, the Elsevier team and Sharon, I believe we have a nearly perfect assembly of people working on this journal. I am honored to continue to serve as Editor-in-Chief and look forward to this next phase of the journal’s evolution. Our goals are simple. We want to publish the best addiction science that we can. We want the submission and review process to be fair and timely and we want to avoid ethical problems so that readers can have complete confidence in the material published in the journal.

Author: Robert L. Balster

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