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VOLUME 1, ISSUE 6  PSYCHNEWS INTERNATIONAL         October 1996

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SECTION A: EDITORIAL

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    WHY WE NEED QUALITY ELECTRONIC JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS
             IN CYBERSPACE, AND ITS REALIZATION:

       THE JOURNAL OF BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS AND THERAPY

                   Joseph J. Plaud, Ph.D.

        It is time for behaviorally focused quality research
on the World Wide Web. Members of the major organizations 
representing behavior analysis and therapy, such as the Association
for Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the Association for Advancement of
Behavior Therapy (AABT) have voiced concern over the past several 
years concerning the current status of theories and publications 
(represented by journal publications) in psychology, especially
related to behavior therapy (Eifert & Plaud, 1993; Plaud & 
Vogeltanz, 1991; Wolpe, 1993).  To summarize, non-cognitive 
behavior therapists and behavior analysts do not have many outlets 
for publication of behavioral research.
Add to this the conventional problems associated with the best 
print journals, such as publication lag time, lack of 
accessibility, subscription, reprint, and copying costs, and a 
natural conclusion is that the time is right for a new medium to 
rapidly disseminate behavioral research across the world.

        The advent of the Internet, and especially the World Wide
Web, opens up an exciting technology-based opportunity for 
behavioral scientists which may ultimately address and overcome 
all of the problems associated with the printed word.  The 
technology needed to address the problems of conventional
publication is here presently, and available in most areas of the globe. 
This technology is also becoming more accessible with each 
passing day.  The environmental contingencies, therefore, are 
increasingly providing reinforcing consequences for publication of 
data using the electronic network; moreover, the probability of 
such reinforcement will be an increasing function of continued 
technological advances on the Internet and World Wide Web.  By the 
turn of the century many librarians predict that many or most of 
the major journals in the sciences and humanities will be
on-line (D'Andraia, 1994).

        In a personal communication, Franks (1995), a mathematician 
at Northwestern University, detailed the strengths of journal 
publication on the Internet. According to Franks, ease of access 
and the quality of their user interface allow electronic journals the 
ability to surpass the functionality of a traditional journal. 
The electronic forum might, for example, allow a scholar to browse and 
search electronically, saving time and effort, and maximizing 
information exchange.  Therefore, another major benefit of
electronic publication is speed.  Electronic storage of journal 
articles will decrease access time, allowing researchers who live 
in major population centers as well as geographically isolated 
scholars the ability to gather data literally the instant a 
manuscript is accepted for publication, rather than several months 
later while the manuscript would otherwise be in press. 
Prepublication access could also be granted using the Internet.  
In short, according to Franks, electronic publication of journals 
offers many advantages to the scholar, including: a simpler, 
easy-to-use user interface, on-line browsing of abstracts or full text, 
keyword searching of abstracts or full text, and immediate
downloading of desired articles.

        To meet the challenges and opportunities to psychology 
offered by the Internet and World Wide Web, as well as the deficits 
in existing outlets in behavior analysis and therapy noted above, 
a peer-reviewed journal has been designed to meet the needs 
specified above at the University of North Dakota
in 1993.  The new journal is titled the Journal of Behavior Analysis and 
Therapy (jBAT; ISSN 1081-6399;  1996 by the Society 
for Behavior Analysis and Therapy).  The journal is electronically 
housed at the following URL on the World Wide Web:

        http://sage.und.nodak.edu/org/jBAT/

The basic conceptual foundation for jBAT is to have an editorial 
board composed of both behavior therapists and behavior analysts 
(child and adult).  In terms of layout, one section of the peer-
reviewed journal is devoted to behavioral assessment, and another 
to behavior therapy (including case studies, single-case and group 
designs); showcasing cutting edge behavioral research (analyzing 
cognitive phenomena as well, but from a behavioral perspective).

        Another section of the journal is devoted to abstracting 
relevant basic and applied behavioral analyses; articles from the 
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, the Journal of 
Applied Behavior Analysis, The Behavior Analyst (to name a few), 
that behavior therapists may not read with any regularity.  
In short, as planned from its inception, jBAT is a comprehensive 
treatment of advances in behavior analysis and therapy, 
integrating basic behavioral research, and cutting across the 
disciplines of behavior analysis and behavior therapy.  This type 
of journal does not even appear in the printed area at present.  
The coupling of this new format for the integration of behavior 
analysis and behavior therapy, as well as the use of the Internet 
for rapid dissemination of empirical data and reviews over the 
World Wide Web puts this project in a unique position.


Technical Issues and Structure  

        As mentioned above, the journal is housed on its own page 
on the World Wide Web (refer to the following URL for details:
http://sage.und.nodak.edu/org/jBAT/).  It will therefore have a
full graphical environment, with full capabilities of color 
graphics and figures, and with the potential of including sound 
and video clips as well.  Given that it is optional for all WWW 
browsers to download graphics automatically, individuals may choose 
whether or not to download all the graphics, or retrieve them at a 
later date.  Also, a non-hypertext ascii version will also be 
prepared for download or email delivery for those who do not have
WWW access.  Also, the journal will have an opening index page 
allowing browsers to select only those parts of the journal they 
are interested in.  The journal will also be archived and fully 
retrievable at any time.

        Let it be emphasized that the WWW is available at almost 
all major universities and colleges in the world.  Also, there are 
ways for individuals to access it in non-traditional ways, even if 
all they have is lynx access.  The jBAT group will serve as a 
resource to facilitate individuals gaining access to the World Wide 
Web.  We are in the process of preparing educational brochures and 
programs for download that will assist in this process.

        The most important issue for present consideration is that 
the Journal of Behavior Analysis and Therapy will represent the 
first integrated, technical, sophisticated, peer-reviewed journal 
to take advantage of the increasing functionality and ability of 
electronic publications.  At present the only major peer-reviewed 
psychology journal on the Internet is named Psycoloquy.  
Psycoloquy is sponsored by the American Psychological Association, 
and publishes articles as well as peer commentary, with focus on 
cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioral biology, artificial
intelligence, robotics/vision, linguistics and philosophy.  
While JBAT differs from Psycoloquy in content focus (i.e., behavior 
analysis vs. cognitive neuroscience), the major difference between 
these 2 peer-reviewed electronic publications is graphical 
presentation.  

        Presently Psycoloquy is delivered via email in plain text 
format.  As described above, jBAT will have a full graphical 
hypertext environment: it will look like a real journal page, with 
hypertext links and color figures. While both plain text and 
hypertext formats allow for solving traditional journal problems 
such as publication lag time, lack of accessibility, subscription, 
reprint, and copying costs, the completely graphical environment of 
jBAT gives the journal the "look and feel" of a traditional
paper journal, allows for the use of standard referencing of page 
numbers, and therefore incorporation of jBAT articles by major 
abstracting services such as PsycInfo and ERIC, and the hypertext 
environment of jBAT allows for numerous other advantages over the 
plain text format employed by Psycoloquy. As the date for 
publication of the first issue of the Journal of Behavior
Analysis and Therapy approaches, the hypertext format of jBAT 
offers a number of additional advantages and possibilities to a 
plain text presentation format.  Currently being discussed is the 
possibility of having a moderated discussion (perhaps by the 
contributing author him/herself) of targeted journal articles each 
edition over the IRC or behavior analysis listservs (such as 
Behav-An, which is also administered from the University
of North Dakota).  Such developments would be announced on the jBAT 
home page.  

        As technology increases, we will be able to accommodate an 
increasing number of potential resources.  Possibilities include, 
for example, having links to all jBAT articles (as well as other 
journals) referenced in a particular article by clicking on the 
reference itself.  Another possibility is to include multimedia 
files: a video clip of the methodology reported, including tables 
with full individual data that can be retrieved by clicking
on a specified spot, and ignored if the reader does not want to 
download the data.  We are also open to exploring the possibility 
of assisting and/or providing integrated WWW space to house what 
are now the mainline print behavioral journals such as the Journal 
of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior or Journal of Applied 
Behavior Analysis (as well as other print journals of behavior 
modification and therapy). 


References

        D'Andraia, F. (1994, April).  The future of the academic 
library.  Invited presentation to the Department of Psychology, 
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
        Eifert, G. H., & Plaud, J. J. (1993).  From behavior theory 
to behavior therapy: The contributions of behavioral theories and 
research to the advancement of behavior therapy.  Journal of 
Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 24, 101-105. 
        Franks, J. (1995). Personal Communication.  Department of 
Mathematics, Northwestern University.
        McDowell, J. J., Bass, R., & Kessel, R. (1993).  A new 
understanding of the foundation of linear system analysis and an 
extension to nonlinear cases. Psychological Review, 100, 407-419.
        Plaud, J. J., & Vogeltanz, N. (1991).  Behavior therapy: 
Lost ties to animal research?  the Behavior Therapist, 14, 89-93, 
115. 
        Wolpe, J. (1993).  The cognitivist oversell and comments on 
symposium contributions.  Journal of Behavior Therapy and 
Experimental Psychiatry, 24, 141-147.


Joseph J. Plaud, Ph.D.   University of North Dakota   P.O. Box 8380
Department of Psychology  Grand Forks, ND  58202-8380
E-mail: Plaud@Badlands.NoDak.Edu