Expanding the Reach of Biological Psychiatry with Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging

  • Cameron S. Carter
    Address correspondence to Cameron S. Carter, M.D., Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, 4701 X Street, Sacramento, CA 95816.
    Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, Davis, California
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      Over the past decade, the application of the tools and constructs of cognitive neuroscience to psychopathology research has evolved from a specialized niche area in the field to the dominant approach in clinical neuroscience. The development and widespread availability of magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scanners and other tools, along with a suite of applications for structural, functional, and molecular image analysis, has transformed the field of psychiatric research. New approaches to electroencephalography analyses (complemented by less widely available but powerful magnetoencephalography methods) and intracranial recording in human subjects that link measures related to brain electrical activity to specific cognitive and emotional processes have led to a resurgence of research using these methods in basic and clinical cognitive neuroscience. The introduction of noninvasive brain stimulation methods, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, direct current stimulation, and deep brain stimulation, has enabled us to test models of causality within functional brain circuitry, and the incorporation of these methods into neuroimaging and electrophysiology studies is offering new insights into normal and abnormal brain function and opening new avenues for intervention. Furthermore, numerous new methods for recording brain activity, stimulating neural activity, and combining these approaches in closed loop systems are under development in synch with the BRAIN (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative in the United States. These new methods for probing the human brain in health and disease will allow us to leverage insights from basic molecular and cellular systems and computational neuroscience to advance the field toward a mechanistic understanding of psychopathology and a mechanism-informed approach to treatment development. Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging provides the bridge between the basic knowledge that we derive from research in animal model systems and symptoms and behavior in mental health research.
      Biological Psychiatry, a rapid-publication, high-impact journal of translational neuroscience, has long been a preferred destination for authors seeking to disseminate their work widely in the field. Over the past several years, Biological Psychiatry has expanded its reach and impact in the field of behavioral and imaging studies and sought to raise the bar, setting high standards (which continue to evolve) for the design, analysis, and interpretation of these studies. With the growing number of high-quality submissions to Biological Psychiatry, our publication success rate has gone down to <10% of all manuscripts submitted. This has created something of a dilemma for our Editors, who are faced on a weekly basis with articles that have received positive reviews and rankings for potential impact but do not make the final list of accepted articles because of competition from similar highly ranked articles in this area as well as in other areas of clinical and translational neuroscience within the scope of Biological Psychiatry. In response, the Society for Biological Psychiatry and our publisher, Elsevier, have launched a new, sibling journal, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.
      Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging will publish high-quality studies that use behavioral, neuroimaging, electrophysiologic, computational, neurostimulation, and neurointerventional approaches to provide insights into disordered brain function and guide the development of novel therapies. We will also consider a broader range of basic research studies and technical reports that would be of high interest to the clinical imaging and cognitive neuroscience community but might not have the direct clinical relevance that is usually sought by Biological Psychiatry. The new journal will use the same article formats as Biological Psychiatry and be supported by an expanded editorial staff and a subset of the Deputy Editors and Editorial Board. I have the honor of serving as Founding Editor and will be supported by Deputy Editors Anissa Abi-Dargham, Deanna Barch, Edward Bullmore, and Murray Stein.
      Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging will accept submissions through two pathways. First, a subset of articles that receive positive reviews but are not accepted into Biological Psychiatry will be offered the opportunity to respond to reviewers’ comments and resubmit to Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. The transfer of manuscripts will be automated, and we anticipate time to acceptance will be at least as fast as with Biological Psychiatry. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging will also accept direct submissions of all types of manuscripts published by Biological Psychiatry, including archival reports, priority communications, review papers, techniques and methods, correspondence, and commentaries.
      As is the case for any new journal, it will take 2 years to establish an impact factor for Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. We will maintain the high editorial standards of Biological Psychiatry, and most articles that are offered transfer to Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience Neuroimaging would, in the absence of additional competition at the time of decision, have been fully competitive for acceptance in Biological Psychiatry. In addition, the opportunity to publish a broader range of basic cognitive and imaging neuroscience and methodologic articles will ensure that the articles published in the new journal will attract broad interest from readers of Biological Psychiatry as well as new readers from the basic cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging communities.
      The first issue of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging will be published in January 2016. In our first year, we will publish print and electronic editions; thereafter, we will publish solely as an e-only journal. We are accepting direct submissions through the new journal’s website ( and offering referrals from Biological Psychiatry now. Articles will be published online as soon as they are accepted. For further information regarding the journal scope, format, and submission process, readers are encouraged to visit the above-mentioned website.
      Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging approaches have become essential elements in virtually all comprehensive efforts to understand the relationship between brain function and cognition and behavior and central to our efforts to build a mechanistic understanding of neural pathology in mental disorders. It is exciting for the editors and staff of Biological Psychiatry as well as the leadership of the Society for Biological Psychiatry that we are able to contribute to the ongoing rapid expansion of this field through the introduction of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

      Acknowledgments and Disclosures

      CSC has consulted for Eli Lilly and Company, Hoffman-La Roche Inc., Merck, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and Servier and has received research funding from GlaxoSmithKline.