I have been asked to comment on the three articles on social phobia in this issue of Psychological Medicine. The three papers in one way or another concern themselves with important issues in the assessment and diagnosis of social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder; Liebowitz et al. 2000). I do so with the caveat that I am an author on one of the papers and do not claim the same degree of objectivity in examining my own work as I do in examining the work of others. The three papers concern the psychometric evaluation of a modified version of the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) (Guy, 1976) in a sample of persons with social phobia (Zaider et al. 2003), the development of a self-report screening questionnaire for social phobia (Newman et al. 2003) and the characteristics of social phobia in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB) (Lampe et al. 2003).