Case Reports as Letters Should Stay in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry/Reply

Article excerpt

Dear Editor: As a regular contributor to the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, I wish to applaud your efforts to "raise the bar for publication" as well as your institution of "a rapid-publication policy" (1, p 1).

However, I was surprised that "to make better use of space" you have decided to "no longer accept case reports as letters" (l, p 1). case reports as letters to the editor take up relatively little space: in any issue, they represent at most 5 to 6 pages-the same number of pages as the average article. Other major, influential psychiatry journals with much higher impact factors publish case reports as letters; they include the American Journal of Psychiatry (2), the British Journal of Psychiatry (3), and the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (4), among others. Most important, case reports allow authors to highlight important clinical findings-especially, adverse effects of psychotropic medications-and to germinate ideas for future clinical studies. Many clinical studies actually begin as a single case report. They are interesting, and their findings are not always presentable as brief reports.

One alternative is to "raise the bar" on case reports by accepting only those letters that report good data with scientific backing. Limiting the number of letters to a maximum of 2 or 3 per issue and only accepting those letters that receive very good or excellent peer reviews could also be considered as a means to retain this method of scientific communication while "making better use of space" in the CJP. …