Theme Issue on Robotics in Medicine, Psychology, and Psychotherapy: Call for Papers

JMIR is inviting submissions for a special issue of the journal that will be dedicated to the topic of Robotics in Medicine, Psychology, and Psychotherapy (Guest Editor: Eichenberg)

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Robotics, as an interdisciplinary field of research, is considered as the most modern mental eHealth technology not only in the field of medicine but also in psychology and psychotherapy research. The Special Issue is dedicated to the interface of robotics and clinical applications in medicine, psychology, and psychotherapy.

In terms of robotics, robots and virtual agents are usually differentiated. Robots are physically tangible as intelligent artificial systems. Humanoid robots that look like humans and interact with humans have been developed. However, virtual agents refer to computer programs (software bots) which are not tangible. Conversational programs that could lead to human interaction have existed since 1966 in the form of a simulation called “Eliza” that could handle several (simple) conversational situations and was a simplified simulation of a psychotherapist. How have such applications evolved until today?Of particular interest are assistance and support systems, such as assistive robots in nursing, which are already known in the field of ergonomics. What kind of modern approaches do exist in the various medical subjects? Interaction systems include social expressions and can be adapted to specific areas in terms of appearance and function. Therefore, they appear to be particularly suitable for supporting psychotherapeutic processes. The field of robotics is more established in application-related disciplines (especially in the fields of engineering, human engineering, and computer science as well as in the military and entertainment industries) and in certain medical subjects (eg, robots in surgery and nursing, artificial intelligence tools in cancer, neurology, cardiology) than in therapeutic areas. However, those therapeutic areas already involve promising and evaluated approaches, such as a robotic as therapy adjuvant. Therefore, we are searching for papers concerning the following topics:1. Robotics in different clinical application fields: reviews, evaluated systems, ongoing studies (research protocols) etc.2. Basic research: Which artificial intelligence devices or techniques are suitable for which medical and psychotherapeutic applications?3. Ethical Aspects: Robotic ethics as an applied science in the field of medical robots, assistive robots, and socialized robotics4. Societal considerations: For example, psychoanalytic implications of the relationship between human and robot5. User-centered aspects: Determinants of the availability of robotics in different patient groups as well as physicians or psychotherapists, traceability and confidence in algorithmic health processes, and triangulation of the doctor or therapist-patient-robot relationship6. Interdisciplinary Research: Challenges of technical and contextual development and implementation of robots in medicine, psychology and psychotherapy

Submission of Papers

You are invited to submit a full-length manuscript of no more than 7500 words.

Submitted papers should report new and original results that are unpublished elsewhere. Review papers are welcome too. Please prepare your manuscript with the template file and guidelines found at

Manuscripts should be sent through the online system at .

In submission step one, authors must choose the section “ Robotics in Medicine, Psychology and Psychotherapy” (Guest Editor: Eichenberg) (see also How do I submit to a theme issue?).

All submitted manuscripts will undergo a full peer review process consistent with usual rigorous editorial criteria for JMIR. Accepted papers will be published in JMIR, or may be transferred to JMIR Mental Health, JMIR Human Factors, JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies, JMIR Res Protoc, or another JMIR sister journal, according to focus and impact of the paper. All papers will appear together in an e-collection (theme issue) guest edited by Dr. Christiane Eichenberg. Papers rejected for the theme issue may still be considered for regular issues.

For this theme issue, Article Processing Fees are discounted by 20%.


Important Dates 

            • Submission Deadline: February 15, 2019
              • Notification of decision to authors (first round of reviews completed): April 2019
              • Revisions submitted, and editorial decisions made (approximately July 1, 2019)
              • Special Issue Publication Date: October 2019


Guest Editor

Dr. Christiane Eichenberg, University Professor and Leader of the Institute for Psychosomatics, Medical Faculty, Sigmund Freud University, Vienna, Austria. She is Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst.;