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July 2010
The new impact factor of World Psychiatry

Mario Maj
President, World Psychiatric Association

World Psychiatry just received its new impact factor, 4.375. It ranks now in the top ten of international journals of general psychiatry and in the top twenty of all journals of clinical psychiatry, biological psychiatry and psychopharmacology.

The journal is now published in five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French. Selected articles or abstracts are also translated in other languages, such as Japanese, Czech, Polish and Romanian, and posted on the website of the WPA and/or relevant WPA Member Societies. All issues of the journal can be freely downloaded from PubMed Central (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/297) and the WPA website (www.wpanet.org). The paper version of the journal reaches more than 33,000 psychiatrists in 121 countries, being for many thousands of them the only accessible international psychiatric journal.

In compliance with a decision made by the WPA Executive Committee in 2001, the journal does not contain advertisements.

The publication of World Psychiatry has two main objectives, which make it different from most, possibly all, other international psychiatric journals. The first objective is to reach as many psychiatrists of the various countries of the world as possible, disseminating information on recent significant clinical, service and research developments in a language that can be assimilated by the vast majority of them. Relevance to everyday clinical practice of the average psychiatrist and usefulness to foster his/her professional growth are the two main criteria by which an article submitted to World Psychiatry is evaluated. In addition to this, the style of the paper must be simple and clear. The second objective is to give voice to psychiatrists of all regions of the world, encouraging submission of research papers, commentaries and reports on innovative service modalities.

Given these two objectives, it is understandable that the ingredients and the overall flavor of each issue of World Psychiatry are different from those of other international psychiatric journals. An important ingredient is represented by the forums, which are particularly appreciated by our readership and usually attract several quotations in the international literature. Among the most successful forums we published in the past few years are those on the concept of mental disorder (Wakefield, 2007), on the steps and challenges in the development of community mental health care (Thornicroft et al., 2008), on the role of functional impairment in the diagnosis of mental disorders (Üstün & Kennedy, 2009), on conflicts of interests in psychiatry (Fava, 2007), on early intervention in psychosis (McGorry et al., 2008), and on advantages and disadvantages of the dichotomous classification of psychosis (Craddock & Owen, 2007). Each of these forums included participants from all continents. Another special ingredient is represented by the mental health policy papers, providing information on innovative experiences in mental health care from various regions, or addressing issues, such as psychiatric brain drain (Gureje et al., 2009) or burnout in psychiatrists (Kumar, 2007), which are rarely covered in international psychiatric journals.

Among research reports, we give priority to international and national multicenter studies providing data on epidemiology of mental disorders in various countries or testing innovative modalities of mental health service delivery or psychosocial interventions. In the past few years, we hosted for instance two of the main reports on the World Mental Health Survey Initiative (Kessler et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2007); the first community study of the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders in Iraq (Alhasnawi et al., 2009), which attracted the attention of the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post and the New York Times; and the first controlled trial of a classroom-based intervention for children and adolescents exposed to war experiences in the Middle East (Karam et al., 2008).

Among the articles published in World Psychiatry in the last two years, 25 (21%) had at least one author from a low or middle income country, including seven with at least one author from Africa.

The forum of one of the latest issues of World Psychiatry, introduced by a paper by Katschnig (2010), was entitled “Are psychiatrists an endangered species?”. Indeed, we and our profession are stigmatized in many countries of the world. This is certainly related to our difficulty to convey the new image of psychiatry: the image of an integrative discipline, which deals with a broad range of disorders, including some that are very common in the population, using interventions that are at least as effective as those available to most other branches of medicine. However, it would not be fair to state that psychiatry has just a problem with promoting more successfully its new image. It has to be acknowledged that our profession also has a problem, in several contexts in many countries, with making the reality of its practice, research and training match up to this new image.

Our hope is that the dissemination of World Psychiatry will contribute to upgrade the image and the reality of psychiatry in as many countries of the world as possible.

References

- Alhasnawi S., Sadik S., Rasheed M., Baban A., Al-Alak M.M. et al. (2009). The prevalence and correlates of DSM-IV disorders in the Iraq Mental Health Survey (IMHS). World Psychiatry 8, 97-109.
- Craddock N., Owen M.J. (2007). Rethinking psychosis: the disadvantage of a dichotomous classification now outweigh the advantages. World Psychiatry 6, 84-91.
- Fava G.A. (2007). Financial conflicts of interest in psychiatry. World Psychiatry 6, 19-24.
- Gureje O., Hollins S., Botbol M., Javed A., Jorge M. et al. (2009). Report of the WPA Task Force on Brain Drain. World Psychiatry 8, 115-118.
- Karam E.G., Fayyad J., Nasser Karam A., Cordahi Tabet C., Melhem N. et al. (2008). Effectiveness and specificity of a classroom-based group intervention in children and adolescents exposed to war in Lebanon. World Psychiatry 7, 103-109.
- Katschnig H. (2010). Are psychiatrists an endangered species? Observation of internal and external challenges to the profession. World Psychiatry 9, 21-28.
- Kessler R.C., Angermeyer M., Anthony J.C., de Graaf R., Demyttenaere K. et al. (2007). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distribution of mental disorders in the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative. World Psychiatry 6, 168-176.
- Kumar S. (2007). Burnout in psychiatrists. World Psychiatry 6, 186-189.
McGorry P.D., Killackey E., Yung A. (2008). Early intervention in psychosis: concepts, evidence, and future directions. World Psychiatry 7, 148-156.
- Thornicroft G., Tansella M., Law A. (2008). Steps, challenges and lessons in developing community mental health care. World Psychiatry 7, 87-92.
- Üstün B., Kennedy C. (2009). What is “functional impairment”? Disentangling disability from clinical significance. World Psychiatry 8, 82-85.
- Wakefield J.C. (2007). The concept of mental disorder: diagnostic implications of the harmful dysfunction analysis. World Psychiatry 6, 149-156.
- Wang P.S., Angermeyer M., Borges G., Bruffaerts R., Wai Tat Chiu et al (2007). Delay and failure in treatment seeking after first onset of mental disorders in the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative. World Psychiatry 6, 177-185.

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