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20 Behav. Sci. & L. 1 (2002)

handle is hein.journals/bsclw20 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Behavioral Sciences and the Law
Behav. Sci. Law 20: 1 4 (2002)
Published online in Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/bsl.480

                       Introduction to this issue:

                       Farewell from the Editor

This double issue is comprised of 12 articles on a variety of topics. The issue marks
the beginning of the 20th year of Behavioral Sciences & the Law (BS&L). The
journal began publication in 1983 with four themed issues, on 'Malpractice,'
'Terrorism,' 'Post-traumatic stress disorders,' and 'Informed consent.' Each of
these topics is as relevant in 2002 as it was almost two decades ago.
   Over the 20 years, BS&L has primarily published special topic issues. Special
topics have distinguished BS&L from other journals in the field. The past few years,
however, we have been receiving so many high quality manuscripts on matters
outside our designated special topic issues that we have started publishing 'Current
Directions' issues on a regular basis. This double issue is the fourth issue we have
published as a Current Directions issue.
   At the American Psychological Association's 2001 annual meeting, Brian
Bornstein asked Richard Wiener, editor of Law and Human Behavior, and me to
discuss the use of experimental methodologies in our journals' publications. The
discussion prompted me to reflect on the various kinds of article we have published
in BS&L over the past five years, the period during which I have served as editor of
the journal.
   I looked back over the 187 articles we published between 1997 and 2001. In
Table 1, I have indicated the number of articles published in each issue that used
empirical methods, analytical methods, or other approaches. If any empirical
methods were used, then the publication was coded as 'empirical' even if the article
also included an extended literature review or legal analysis. If multiple empirical
methods were used, then the major method was coded. The 'survey' category
included mail surveys as well as personal administration of questionnaires by the
investigator. Secondary analyses of surveys were coded as 'survey' methodology.
'Institutional records' included any examination of data (clinical files, corrections
data, law enforcement data, etc.) where the original data were collected by others,
not the investigators. The 'forensic assessment' category includes instrument
development, clinical assessment validation, or other empirical activity related to
clinical diagnostic, evaluation, or treatment purposes.
   Overall, almost half (48%) of the 187 published articles in BS&L between 1997
and 2001 made use of empirical data, and virtually the same proportion (46%) were
reviews of empirical literatures or law/policy issues, or both. The modal publication
was a law or policy analysis.
   What this five-year review shows is that BS&L publishes a blend of empirical and
analytical articles. BS&L is neither a traditional social science journal nor a tradi-
tional law journal; it does offer a combination of both types of publication. The
journal continues to publish leading-edge analysis and research, and it offers

Copyright c 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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