Why the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease is Different
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (JNMD) was started in 1874 as the Chicago Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease under the editorship of Dr. J.S. Jewell. In 1875, Dr. Jewell became the President of the American Neurological Association and JNMD began publishing the proceedings of the ANA meetings, until 1919 when the American Medical Association began publication of the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry. In January 1876, the name of the journal became Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, reflecting its broad base. It has been listed as the“Official organ of the American Neurological Association, the New York Neurological Society, the Philadelphia Neurological Society, and the Chicago Neurological Society, 1899-June 1918; and of the Boston Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1918.”
Eugene B. Brody, from whom I inherited the journal’s editorship, wrote that it was “the world's oldest continuously published independent scientific monthly in the field of human behavior.” So from the start, it was different in covering topics across the spectrum of diseases involving psychiatry and neurology. Dr. Brody’s tenure as Editor-in-Chief of the journal (1967-2010) coincided with much of his involvement with the World Federation for Mental Health (Secretary General, 1983 to 1999, and Senior Consultant until 2010) and he was certainly one of the best known psychiatrists in the world. Not surprisingly, Dr. Brody encouraged contributions from colleagues globally and turned the journal into an international one.
Before I took over as Editor-in-Chief, I asked colleagues in the fields of psychiatry and neurology and publishing what would differentiate the journal even more from other journals dealing with the mind and brain, and the answer that I heard most frequently was to print controversial articles that would generate deeper thinking, further research and fruitful discussion. So if you’ve noticed a tilt in the direction of “stirring the pot” regarding DSM-5, DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder) and PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) – you’ve correctly picked up where we’re going.
I encourage you to submit more of such contributions to the literature. We’re not going to lower our standards simply to print controversial material but we will certainly look at all such submissions with great interest.
John A. Talbott, M.D., Editor-in-Chief
FROM JOHN A. TALBOTT, MD, Editor-in-Chief
As editor of The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, America’s oldest independent psychiatric journal, I welcome you to the journal and our website. As many of you know, Eugene B. Brody MD was the Editor-in-Chief of the JNMD for 43 years, an unprecedented tenure in any field. Gene Brody was the journal, as he was the face of psychiatry at the University of Maryland, throughout the world. He and the journal’s longstanding Managing Editor, Kathy McKnight set a high standard for anyone to follow.
My selection as Editor-in-Chief came some six months after Gene’s death in March 2010 and presented me with an unusual opportunity and challenge, how to build on what Dr. Brody and Ms. McKnight had managed for so long, so well. I liken the scope of a general psychiatric journal to that of general internal medicine and general surgery; in that the former deals with everything and the latter with a concentration on areas not peeled away by subspecialization.
In an earlier editorial incarnation, at Hospital and Community Psychiatry, I felt that we could be both academically rigorous and useful clinically; that there was no need to dumb down articles to meet our practical needs and no need to eschew the clinical in pursuit of the scientific. And my opinion has not changed.
Journals, as with all print media, are facing a relentless challenge from our technological competition and rather than fight them, we’ll join ‘em. Too often, today’s periodicals avoid contributions that replicate studies, show negative results or provide case examples; I think if they’re interesting, we should publish them.
I also believe that no single person can have the breadth and scope that Gene Brody’s generation had and I intend to share more of the editorial burden and joys with several expert colleagues who will screen papers before the review process, initiate new features (such as Controversies in Clinical Psychiatry) and act as my “cabinet” to brainstorm new ideas, such as a wiki-review process and entering into select areas of biological psychiatry where there is translational value-added.
I hope you will enjoy reading the journal, consider contributing to it and share with me your thoughts on our growth and evolution.
All my best,
John A. Talbott, MD