When Michael Roberts, PhD, earned his clinical psychology PhD in 1978, he cemented his new identity with a subscription to Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (PPRP). The journal's coverage of all things professional, from credentialing and ethics to psychological education and training, has updated him on the latest practice trends ever since-the proof is in the rows of bookmarked, dog-eared PPRP issues lining the bookshelves in his University of Kansas office.
Now Roberts wants to return the favor. As PPRP's incoming editor-he starts his six-year term in January-the professor of child psychology plans to maintain the journal's status as a must-read for psychology professionals. In particular, Roberts welcomes articles on hot topics like cultural competence for therapists, evidence-based practice, disaster response and psychotropics' effects on patients. But he also seeks continuous coverage of journal staples such as developments in health-care reimbursement and licensure and mobility: "Nothing in the professional psychology domain is off the table," he says.
"I want something in every issue that's interesting and applicable to readers' daily life as a psychologist-and for there to be something they've not thought about before," Roberts explains. "I want this to be the one journal they read cover to cover."
Roberts also seeks to preserve PPRP's broad audience, which includes clinicians, policy-makers and educators. In fact, as current chair of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology, he wants to ensure that educators and students keep reading the journal even though a new APA journal on professional education and training will launch next month. While the new journal will examine the nuts-and-bolts of training, PPRP addresses the professional issues that affect training more globally, Roberts says.
"My goal is for the journal to serve all of practicing psychology, from what practitioners need to know to what educators need to teach," Roberts notes.
Another priority for him is boosting the number of manuscript submissions, particularly from practitioners, who don't have the same incentives to publish as academics do, Roberts notes. In fact, writing journal articles can take time away from their practice. But, he emphasizes, "If they write for PPRP, they are giving back to their profession."
As further incentive to publish in the journal, Roberts says his aim is to turn papers back to authors quickly, within 60 days-a habit he's fostered in other editing positions, such as his current appointment as associate editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Supporting him in his quick turnaround mission at PPRP will be associate editors Nadine Kaslow, PhD, Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD, Jean A. Carter, PhD, and Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD.
Roberts says he and his team will take a constructive approach to reviewing.
"I want to be facilitative and help authors' presentation, not change their voices," he says. "And if I send a rejection, it won't be one sentence, like with medical journals. Psychology's journal editors have nurtured me and taken a constructive role. I want to do the same by opening up opportunities for contributors to write, and giving them support."
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