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Perspectives on Psychological Science

           The Association for Psychological Science announces a unique new journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science, to serve several distinct missions. The overarching mission of the journal will be to publish outstanding manuscripts that are large and integrative. The journal will go to all members of APS.

            One of the novel features of the journal is that there will be two different routes to publication. First, the journal will function in the customary manner, receiving unsolicited manuscripts to be considered for publication. These submitted articles will be considered in the standard way by editors and ad hoc reviewers, with the publication decision being made by the editor or associate editor.

            The other mechanism for publication will be via invitation; that is, by the editor and associate editors inviting and commissioning papers they believe to be particularly timely and important from leading scholars, both senior and junior. One idea behind this mechanism is to offer an alternative outlet for chapters in edited volumes. Many excellent chapters are written every year and published in volumes in which they are unlikely to have the impact they deserve.

            Part of the aim of the journal will be to convince outstanding scientists to place their best integrative articles in a top journal with a very large circulation, as Perspectives on Psychological Science will be. The hope is that the journal will be an interesting and intellectually lively mix of theoretical statements, literature reviews, viewpoints or opinions, research presentations, biographies, and other scholarship. The journal might even occasionally contain a humor piece. Because its purview will be all of scientific psychology, the journal should help bring the field together, and insure that psychologists know about the most important advances in psychology outside of their subdiscipline. Thus, articles should be written in a manner that is appealing to researchers from outside of the area on which the paper focuses. Although lengthy articles will be published in the journal, authors are reminded that tightly written and lean articles are often the most widely read. We expect that the journal will be of very high impact, and therefore it is hoped that scientists will present their very best work in its pages.

            Several different possible categories of submissions are envisioned:

  • Broad integrative reviews. For example, a topic such as schizophrenia could be approached from a neurobiological, social learning, and therapeutic standpoint. Either one inclusive article could be written, or several articles could be commissioned from researchers to provide interlocking views of the single complex issue.

  • Overviews of research programs. These articles will permit a distinguished researcher to provide an overview of her or his research on a particular topic, bringing in data from other laboratories as necessary. The resulting article would fall somewhere between a literature review and a summary report of ones research program, as often occurs in chapters in edited books.

  • Invited issues targeted at specific topics, or a set of parallel articles invited to address a common theme from across different areas of psychology.
  • Standard literature reviews. Another type of article will be the more common literature review, in which the literature on a particular topic (e.g., the spacing effect in learning and memory) is summarized, with the author paying attention to integrative theoretical explanations of the effect and coming to reasoned conclusions that will make more general points for the field.
  • Meta-analytic reviews. The journal will be a repository for meta-analytic reviews, when this methodology appropriately lends itself to the topic at hand.
  • Theoretical statements. The journal will also be an appropriate outlet for major theoretical advances, which usually include reviews of the most relevant literature. The reporting of original data can be appropriate in such articles, but is not required or expected.
  • Eclectic articles. The journal will also provide an outlet for nonstandard articles that might fall into the following categories: philosophy of science issues; opinion pieces about major issues in the field; autobiographical reflections of senior members of the field on some topic of interest (for example, how trends in the field have changed over the years); presentations of new methodologies and evaluative reviews of them; and even humorous essays and sketches in rare cases (if of broad interest and high quality).

Editorial Structure

            There is one Editor-in-Chief, Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who is the founding editor of the journal. Several eminent associate editors will be selected, as well as a larger group of consulting editors. The editors will serve two functions. First, they will process manuscripts submitted in the normal manner. The editors and consulting editors (as well as ad hoc reviewers) will oversee and evaluate submission of these manuscripts. The second role of the editor and associate editors will be to solicit manuscripts from outstanding researchers and help shape them into publishable papers. Suggestions for articles and authors, including ones own work, will be considered, and initial feedback can be given on a description or outline of an article. When an author is invited to submit a paper, it will be reviewed and does have the possibility of being rejected. However, the hope is that rejections of invited submissions will be infrequent. Nevertheless, authors need to understand that only the highest quality work will be published.

            Invited papers will not be distinguished in the journal from ones that were submitted, and thus the readership will notice no difference between the types of articles. Authors who submit outlines or papers, as well as invited authors, are encouraged to submit the names of expert reviewers, as well as comments about the relation of potential reviewers to the author and to the area of research. Authors are also encouraged to discuss potential articles with the editor before they undertake them. Potential authors should read the instructions to authors, as well as the instructions to reviewers, which are posted on the journal web site. It is important that all authors send to the editor the most closely related and similar papers they have written, so that the submitted paper can be judged from the perspective of what the authors have already published on the topic.

©2007 Gordon Mackay. All Rights Reserved.