Longtime Psychiatric Times columnist and editorial board member Ronald Pies, M.D., has been named science content editor of the publication effective this month.
Described by colleagues as "a pre-eminent scholar of psychopharmacology" and "one of the outstanding medical writers in our profession," Pies is clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and author/co-author of numerous clinical journal articles, book chapters and books, including the Handbook of Essential Psychopharmacology, Second Edition (2005), Handbook of Geriatric Psychopharmacology (2002), The Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric Patient (2001), and Clinical Manual of Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment: A Biopsychosocial Approach (1994), all available from American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., and A Consumer's Guide to Choosing the Right Psychotherapist (1997; Jason Aronson).
In the newly created content editor position, Pies will recommend topics and possible writers for the publication, evaluate submitted articles or proposals, collaborate with the editorial board and editorial staff, and encourage more reader involvement, among other responsibilities.
Pies perceives the role of science content editor as one of expanding the depth, breadth and credibility of the publication.
"To borrow from the testimony of our newest chief justice, I see the science content editor as serving as a kind of 'referee,'" he said. "The science editor should not have an ideological 'axe to grind'; rather, he or she should focus on the quality of evidence and the cogency of ideas, in any given piece. The science editor may need to step in and call a 'foul' if an article distorts the best available evidence or reaches a conclusion that clearly does not follow from the data presented. I also see my job as one of providing scientific context for claims that otherwise may arouse controversy. For example, many of the claims made with respect to antidepressants and suicide risk fail to provide the necessary context by which we can understand and make use of these findings."
Pies wants to not only continue Psychiatric Times' tradition of high quality publishing but also to enhance it.
"In the past 20 years, I believe that PT has provided both a 'university in print' for our readers and a forum for voicing their views on a multitude of controversial issues. The topics we have covered have spanned the entire spectrum of clinical and research issues in psychiatry; yet, PT's articles are succinct and to the point, which cannot always be said for other psychiatric publications," he said. "I also believe that PT has taken journalistic risks that have broadened the lives and views of our psychiatric colleagues. PT has often ventured into areas, such as the relationship of spirituality and creativity to psychiatry, that are usually neglected by other psychiatric publications. We have also given voice to younger colleagues and residents in our field, which has kept PT fresh and relevant to those just entering psychiatry."