Instructions for Authors

General information

The Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience publishes papers at the intersection of psychiatry and neuroscience that advance our understanding of the neural mechanisms involved in the etiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders. This includes studies on patients with psychiatric disorders, healthy humans, and experimental animals as well as studies in vitro. Original research articles, including clinical trials with a mechanistic component, and review papers will be considered.

Manuscript submission

Contributors should consult the information for authors and complete the Manuscript Submission Checklist before submitting manuscripts to our online system. All submissions are confidential.

Manuscripts must be written in English, and submissions must include a cover letter stating the contributions of each author to the paper, based on the authorship standards established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Authors will be notified as soon as possible of the outcome of the peer review process, which is described in J Psychiatry Neurosci 2003;28(5):327-30. Issues, concerns or complaints about the peer review process should be addressed to the Editors-in-Chief at An author can appeal the rejection of a manuscript, and the manuscript and all relevant correspondence including the referees’ reports will be sent to another member of the Editorial Board who will make a final decision.

Article processing fee

JPN is an open access journal and charges an article processing fee of $1750 (Canadian funds) for Research and Review articles, payable at the time the manuscript is accepted for publication. Authors without funds to pay for publication may ask for an exemption before submitting the manuscript; the ability to pay will not be part of the editorial decision to accept or reject a manuscript.

Authorship criteria

In accordance with the May 2000 statement on authorship issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the journal requires that authorship credit be assigned only to individuals who meet ALL of the following modified criteria:

  1. he/she has made a substantial contribution either to the conception and design, or to the acquisition of data, or to the analysis and interpretation of the data;
  2. he/she has made a substantial contribution to drafting the article or reviewing it critically; and
  3. he/she has given final approval of the version of the article to be published and can certify that no other individuals not listed as authors have made substantial contributions to the paper.

The acquisition of funding, collection of data or general supervision of the research group responsible for the study does not justify authorship. Individuals who have made such a contribution to the manuscript should instead be listed in the acknowledgements section.

Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, authors must complete a Contributors’ Information Form, on which they must explain their specific contribution to the work described in the manuscript. This information will be published in the journal.

Types of articles

The journal publishes the following types of articles:
Editorials are written by members of the editorial board or by invitation.
Research articles report the results of original research. The journal does not distinguish between full-length articles and brief reports.
Reviews present a comprehensive and critical appraisal of a particular topic.
Commentaries are similar to reviews but are designed to make a point about a topic without reviewing the topic comprehensively.
Psychopharmacology for the Clinician columns summarize the evidence on a topic of clinical interest.
Letters to the Editor comment on recent articles in the journal.

Length of articles

Research articles should be limited to a maximum of 4,000 words (excluding title page, abstract, references, tables, figures, figure legends) and include no more than 60 references. Please write succinctly and include only references that are necessary.
Tables and figures should be included only to show novel data that are integral to the main points of the study. Other material relevant to the study may be included as supplemental figures or tables, which will be published online only, with a link in the print edition. Please avoid presenting the same data in multiple formats (e.g. in both graphic and tabular form).
Reviews and meta-analyses are limited to 10,000 words (excluding title page, abstract, references, tables, figures, figure legends). Longer reviews will be published in full online but some material (e.g. figures, tables, references) may be published online only, with a link in the print edition.
Commentaries are limited to 4,000 words.
Psychopharmacology for the Clinician columns are limited to 650 words (excluding references).

Manuscript preparation

All papers should be double-spaced throughout, and each section (title page, abstract, text, references, tables, figures, figure captions) should begin on a new page. Research articles should be divided into Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Limitations and Conclusion sections. In studies where the entire population is of the same sex, the sex should be specified in the title. Please write in the active, rather than the passive voice; papers written in the passive voice will be converted to the active voice where necessary during copyediting. Please keep abbreviations to a minimum: abbreviate only widely-recognized terms (e.g., MRI, SD) and terms that are used extensively in the manuscript.

Title page

The title page should contain the title of the article, all authors’ names, academic degree(s) and affiliation(s), the corresponding author’s mailing and email addresses and the word count for the text (includes Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion, not to exceed 4,000 words) and abstract (not to exceed 250 words).


Abstracts for research papers, systematic reviews and meta-analyses should be limited to 250 words and constructed under the headings listed below. Traditional narrative reviews and commentaries should be accompanied by an unstructured abstract of not more than 150 words stating the key points of the article.

Background: Provide the context for the study in the first sentence. State the objective of the study and the main hypothesis tested in the second sentence.
Methods: Describe the basic design of the study as well as its setting, participants and key measurements or outcomes. Specify the dates of the study period. Describe, if appropriate, the essential features of any interventions, including their method and duration of administration. For systematic reviews, list the data sources used, including time restrictions and search terms. Provide the number of studies reviewed and the selection criteria.
Results: Provide data for the key measurements in this section. Give confidence intervals for differences where appropriate or other measures of statistical significance. All data in the abstract must be reported in the text of the paper as well.
Identify the limitations of your study, methodological and otherwise.
Conclusion: Briefly summarize the main findings and their implications.


Figures should be sent in electronic format. Specifications for electronic figure files are available from the editorial ­office.

The fees (in Canadian funds) for colour figures that must be paid by the author(s) are as follows: $1250 for the first figure and $100 for each subsequent figure.


Tables should not duplicate data presented in figures and must be self-explanatory. Each table should appear on a separate page, and be double-spaced and numbered consecutively. Footnotes are designated by *, †, ‡, §, ¶, **, etc.; abbreviations should be explained and units of measure specified.

Permission to reproduce material from other sources

If your article contains a previously published table or figure, you must obtain written permission from the copyright holder (usually the publisher) to reproduce the material in the print and online editions of JPN. In most cases, you must do this even if the table or figure is your own work. Please also send us photocopies of the tables or figures from the book, journal or online source in which they were first published.

Patient consent

If your article contains any information concerning individual patients, you must obtain written consent from the patient(s) to publish this information in JPN. A copy of the patient’s consent must be submitted with the manuscript.


Generic names should be used in text, tables and figures. Trade names may be mentioned in parentheses in the first text reference to the drug but should not appear in titles, tables or figures. When a trade name is used, it should be capitalized; generic or chemical names are not capitalized.

Gene nomenclature

Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the AMA Manual of Style, 10th Edition guidelines for gene nomenclature. Briefly, human gene symbols should be in italics with all letters capitalized (e.g., NRG1). Mouse and rat gene symbols should be in italics with initial capitals (e.g., Nrg1). Protein designations should appear in roman type (e.g., NRG1). Textual explanations of polymorphisms are preferred to shorthand terms (e.g., G-to-A substitution at nucleotide 1691, not 1691G>A). When a gene symbol is used with a sequence variation term, only the gene symbol is italicized. Avoid using virgules to indicate polymorphic variants.

Reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Manuscripts reporting systematic reviews and meta-­analyses of randomized interventions should adhere to the PRISMA statement checklist, which has been endorsed by the World Association of Medical Editors and the Council of Science Editors. Manuscripts reporting other types of systematic reviews and meta-analysis, such as nonrandomized or nonintervention studies, should follow the guidelines of the PRISMA statement checklist where applicable.

Clinical trials

JPN focuses on papers that provide insights into neural mechanisms involved in the etiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders. The journal will consider papers describing clinical trials that include a mechanistic component. Discussion of such neural mechanisms should be included in the introduction, rationale and discussion sections of the manuscript.

Obligation to register clinical trials reported in JPN

Please include the name of the registry and the registration identification number of your clinical trial on the title page of your manuscript.

JPN endorses the statement of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors concerning the registration of clinical trials. In brief, the journal requires, as a condition of consideration for publication, registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the onset of patient enrolment. This policy applies to any clinical trial that started enrolment after July 1, 2005. A clinical trial is defined as any research project that prospectively assigns human participants to intervention or comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relation between a medical intervention and a health outcome. Studies designed for other purposes (e.g., Phase I trials) are exempt. The journal does not endorse a specific registry but, when selecting a registry, authors should use the criteria mentioned in the statement of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Note that JPN also recommends and supports the registration of systematic reviews.

Reporting of randomized controlled trials

Manuscripts reporting on the outcome of randomized controlled trials must adhere to the “Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials” (CONSORT) checklist, which has been endorsed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the World Association of Medical Editors and the Council of Science Editors.

Sex and gender in research

We encourage our authors to follow the Sex and Gender Equity in Research – SAGER – guidelines and to include sex and gender considerations where relevant. Authors should use the terms sex (biological attribute) and gender (shaped by social and cultural circumstances) carefully in order to avoid confusing both terms. Article titles and/or abstracts should indicate clearly what sex(es) the study applies to. Authors should also describe in the background, whether sex and/or gender differences may be expected; report how sex and/or gender were accounted for in the design of the study; provide disaggregated data by sex and/or gender, where appropriate; and discuss respective results. We suggest that our authors consult the full guidelines before submission.


Research or project support should be listed in an acknowledgements section. Authors may also wish to acknowledge the assistance of staff and colleagues in this section. Colleagues who have made substantive contributions to the manuscript will be asked to sign a form granting permission for formal acknowledgement before the paper is published (see Permission for Acknowledgement form).


References should be cited in numerical order of appearance in the text and identified in-text with superscript Arabic numerals. Do not alphabetize the reference list. References cited only in tables or figure legends should be numbered in sequence with the first mention of the table or figure in the text. Authors must verify all references against the original documents.

JPN follows the reference style employed by the National Library of Medicine. Journal titles should be abbreviated accordingly (see PubMed). Samples of references cited in this style are available at and, briefly, below. Note that JPN requires only 3 authors followed by et al.”

Articles in journals

Standard journal article (list 3 authors, followed by “et al” if the number exceeds 3)

Vega KJ, Pina I, Krevsky B. Heart transplantation is associated with an increased risk for pancreatobiliary disease. Ann Intern Med 1996;124(11):980-3.

Books and other monographs

Personal author(s)

Ringsven MK, Bond D. Gerontology and leadership skills for nurses. 2nd ed. Albany (NY): Delmar Publishers; 1996.

Editor(s), compiler(s) as author(s)

Norman IJ, Redfern SJ, editors. Mental health care for elderly people. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1996.

Organization as author and publisher

Institute of Medicine (US). Looking at the future of the Medicaid program. Washington: The Institute; 1992.

Chapter in a book

Phillips SJ, Whisnant JP. Hypertension and stroke. In: Laragh JH, Brenner BM, editors. Hypertension: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. 2nd ed. New York: Raven Press; 1995. p. 465-78.

Conference proceedings

Kimura J, Shibasaki H, editors. Recent advances in clinical neurophysiology. Proceedings of the 10th International Congress of EMG and Clinical Neurophysiology; 1995 Oct 15-19; Kyoto, Japan. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1996.

Unpublished material

In press: References to papers accepted but not yet published should be designated as “in press.” Authors should provide verification that such papers have been accepted for publication (Leshner AI. Molecular mechanisms of cocaine addiction. N Engl J Med. In press.)

Unpublished observations: Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as “unpublished observations” with written permission from the source.

Personal communications: Avoid citing a “personal communication” unless it provides essential information not available from a public source, in which case the name and position of the person and date of communication should be cited in parentheses in the text. Authors should obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source.

Copyright policy

Before publication of an accepted manuscript, the authors must sign the licence to publish  form and return it to the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience.

Psychopharmacology for the Clinician columns

Psychopharmacology for the Clinician (PfC) columns advise clinicians on treatments for patients with psychiatric disorders. Columns are usually based on a case report that illustrates a point of interest, followed by a suggested approach for clinicians treating patients with similar histories. In many of the best columns, the case is at a level of complexity or novelty that will help clinicians make treatment decisions in situations that are not routine, or where new evidence is available but not widely known. Evidence in the literature for the treatment approach, both efficacy and side effects, should be discussed with balance. Whenever possible, the efficacy of the treatments suggested should be supported by fairly substantial high-quality clinical experimental evidence. The article should avoid focusing only on potential interesting treatment avenues that merit clinical experimentation, but for which there is minimal evidence of efficacy. Overall, a model PfC column would have a brief but realistic clinical vignette, followed by a succinct summary of the current literature, some reference to unknowns in the field and practical suggestions.

The PfC column may be up to 650 words. References are not included in the printed version, but are included in the online version.  If the column describes an actual patient then consent from the patient is needed, but most columns are composites, or the details are changed.

Ethical considerations

Manuscripts that involve investigations on human participants must give the name of the ethics committee that approved the study. Manuscripts describing studies in which there was direct contact with humans must describe how informed consent was obtained. In studies on patients with conditions that may affect their ability to give fully informed consent, the manuscript must describe how the authors determined that the participants were capable of giving consent, if consent was obtained from the participants rather than guardians. Manuscripts that involve investigations on animals must include a statement that all procedures complied with the institutional guidelines for animal care and mention the name of the animal care committee that approved the research.

Before a paper is accepted for publication, authors will be asked to complete the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest for potential conflicts of interest related to work described in the paper.

Manuscripts based on studies funded by contracts (not grants) from any source including commercial firms, private foundations or governments must be accompanied by a statement describing both the authors’ and the sponsor’s role in the design of the study; the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; the writing of the paper; and the decision to submit the paper for publication. The journal will not review or publish manuscripts based on studies that are conducted under conditions that allow the sponsor to have sole control of the data or to withhold publication.

JPN encourages authors to share, on request, with other researchers at academic institutions the original data on which their publications in JPN are based.

Note: JPN may be available only in digital format as of January 2016.