An Update from the Journal Task Force on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Journal of the Clinical TMS Society

The Clinical TMS Society is undertaking an exciting project to create the first TMS-focused scientific journal, titled Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Journal of the Clinical TMS Society. Over the years, Society members and leadership have broached the subject of starting a Society journal, and in March of 2023 it was voted on to move forward as an initiative of the Research Committee. 

The project is now being managed by a special Journal Task Force, led by Dr. Josh Brown. We spoke with Dr. Brown and fellow Journal Task Force member Dr. Tracy Barbour to learn more about the Journal. Dr. Brown serves on the Board of Directors and was elected to the Executive Committee as Member-at-Large. He also serves as the co-chair of the Research Committee. Dr. Barbour also sits on the Board of Directors, is the co-chair of the Clinical Standards Committee, and is a member of the Research Committee as well. 

About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Journal of the Clinical TMS Society 

“The Research Committee and the Clinical Standards Committee are at the heart of what the TMS Journal would entail,” Dr. Brown says. “The ‘bread and butter’ of the Journal would be clinically-oriented TMS studies, because there’s just not a home for those right now.” The purpose of the new TMS Journal will be to serve as a single point of reference for anyone looking to learn more and stay up to date on TMS research and practices.  

“This would be the very first TMS-dedicated journal,” Dr. Barbour explains. “Just in 2022 alone there were over 1,800 TMS publications and that [number] grows every year. People who are trying to stay up to date on the latest research have to scan many different journals.” 

Although the TMS Journal will focus on clinical TMS studies, the plan is to publish a variety of content. There will be a section dedicated to studies including randomized controlled trials, naturalistic studies, as well as case series and reports. There will also be content focused on core TMS research regarding mechanisms, parameters, and related biophysiology. “There will be specialty topics where we talk about specific aspects like…TMS and postpartum [depression], TMS and substance use disorders, or TMS and tinnitus,” Dr. Barbour says.  

Dr. Brown explains that “including editorials, commentaries, and invited specialty topics gives us a format for flexibility…In such a new field, there is so much in development and it’s important to have a rapid way of communicating [through the Journal].” 

In addition to studies and protocols, there will also be a section for Society updates and committee work. “There’s a lot of good work the committees do that we make available to our members, but that would also benefit the larger TMS community and lead to a larger discussion and ongoing dialogue,” says. Dr. Barbour. 

A Journal for Members 

The new TMS Journal will serve Society members in a variety of ways. “A lot of naturalistic studies, case series, and commentary aren’t published in the larger journals, so things that would be more useful to our members would be published in the TMS Journal,” says Dr. Barbour.  

The TMS Journal will also be more accessible than some other neuromodulation journals. “Many of our members and people practicing TMS are not part of big academic institutions that give you access to all these journal subscriptions…so having something like this is more accessible,” Dr. Brown explains. The TMS Journal will likely be open access, meaning it will be free to the public rather than subscription based. 

“It will likely be pay-to-publish, and we’re working hard to try to find a model that makes publishing feasible for people who don’t have a robust research budget,” he says. When we last spoke with Dr. Randy Pardell, former Society President and current FACTMS President, he mentioned that the Foundation would like to use future donations where possible to help support the TMS Journal. “That would be a fantastic way that the TMS Foundation could help,” Dr. Brown says. 

Society member involvement will be crucial to the success of the TMS Journal. “We hope to announce a call for editorial board applications and a call for papers at the Annual Meeting,” Dr. Brown says. “The intention is to have a fairly large editorial board, so we will really pull on the expertise of members in our field. I think that will enhance the value of the Journal and the quality of the articles we publish,” he explains.  

The TMS Journal is on track for launch by late Spring of 2024, and Dr. Brown hopes to share more updates about the publisher and business model in early 2024. We look forward to sharing more on this exciting new venture. 

About Dr. Brown and Dr. Barbour 

Dr. Joshua Brown received his MD and PhD at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed his residency at the Medical University of South Carolina where he participated in a concurrent research fellowship and interventional psychiatry track and worked with TMS pioneer Dr. Mark George. He currently practices clinical TMS and directs the clinical TMS service and TMS research at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts where he also directs the Brain Stimulation Mechanisms Lab. 

Dr. Tracy Barbour received her MD at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. She completed her residency at the combined Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital. After residency, she was awarded the Dupont-Warren Fellowship from Harvard Medical School. She currently serves as the Medical Director for the TMS Clinical Service at Massachusetts General Hospital and has a private practice called Boston Precision Neurotherapeutics, which specializes in fMRI-guided accelerated TMS.