The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 50 Years On

Article excerpt

This issue includes a special section that reviews the history of The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, now 50 years old. We invited 3 past editors-in-chief to write about their experiences guiding the Journal over the years. While our founding editor, Rhodes Chalke (1955-1971), is no longer with us, we obtained contributions from our second editor, Fred Lowy (1972-1977), our third, Edward Kingstone (1977-1995), and our fourth, Quentin Rae-Grant (1995-2004).

The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry emerged as a scientific journal in 1955, a time when most publications in psychiatry comprised either clinical reports or expressions of opinion. Over the years, medicine became increasingly scientific, and so did the Journal. The articles by our previous editors document this process, but their comments show that the transition could sometimes be a struggle. For example, one of the questions that all previous editors faced was whether the Journal should be a sounding board for Canadian Psychiatric Association members. This issue was eventually resolved when the editorial board eliminated opinion pieces and decided to publish only empirical articles and systematic reviews. A second question was whether the Journal should function as a "school" for aspiring young authors. This matter was resolved by instituting a single standard for all submissions. Perhaps the most important question was how a Canadian publication competing with the US and the British journals could achieve a respectable impact factor. When articles published in ajournai are not quoted elsewhere, they can have little influence. In the end, the Journal only raised its impact factor when it raised the bar for acceptance. The result is that the articles we publish are now more widely read, both inside and outside Canada. …