2014 Submission Guidelines

Please Read Carefully Before Submitting Any Manuscript

 

For 2014, Psychological Science is introducing five initiatives aimed at improving the journal’s publication standards and practices. The initiatives are discussed in detail in this interview with Editor in Chief Eric Eich and in this Psychological Science editorial. In brief, the initiatives involve the following:

(1) New Word Limits. For manuscripts submitted after January 1, 2014, the Method and Results sections of a manuscript will be excluded from the word limits on Research Articles and Research Reports. The new limits on Research Articles and Research Reports will be 2,000 and 1,000 words, respectively, and will include introductory and Discussion sections, as well as notes, acknowledgements, and appendices. The intent of eliminating strict limits on the Method and Results sections is to afford authors the opportunity to report what they did, and what they found, in a manner that is clear, concise—and complete.

(2) Manuscript Evaluation Criteria. Editors and external referees evaluate submissions to the journal with three questions in mind: (a) What will the reader of this paper learn about psychology that she or he did not know (or could not have known) before? (b) Why is that knowledge important for the field? (c) How are the claims made in the article justified by the methods used? Manuscripts that provide clear and compelling answers to these “What,” “Why,” and “How” questions have the best prospects of being accepted for publication.

(3) Enhanced Reporting of Methods. Beginning January 2014, the manuscript submission process will include a new section containing checkboxes for four Research Disclosure Statement items (very similar to existing items confirming that research meets ethical guidelines, etc.). Submitting authors must check each item in order for their manuscripts to proceed to editorial evaluation; by doing so, authors actively declare that they have disclosed all of the required information for each study within the submitted manuscript. The Disclosure Statements cover four categories of important methodological details–Exclusions, Manipulations, Measures, and Sample Size—that have not required disclosure under past reporting standards (of Psychological Science in particular or psychology journals in general), but that are essential for interpreting research findings.

(4) Promoting Open Practices. Psychological Science is the launch vehicle for a program that seeks to incentivize open communication within the research community. Psychological Science articles accepted on or after January 1, 2014, may qualify for as many as three different badges to acknowledge their authors have made the data, materials, or preregistered design and analysis plans publicly available. Badges will be awarded to qualified articles, which must include links to the open data, materials, or preregistered design and analysis plans.

(5) Embracing the “New Statistics.” Psychological Science now recommends the use of the “new statistics”—effect sizes, confidence intervals, and meta-analysis—to avoid problems associated with null-hypothesis significance testing (NHST). The journal will seek to aid researchers in shifting from reliance on NHST to estimation and other preferred techniques by publishing a tutorial by Geoff Cumming, a leader in the new statistics movement, that includes examples and references to books, articles, software, and online calculators that will aid authors in understanding and implementing estimation techniques in a wide range of research settings. The tutorial is available here.

 

Proceed to full 2014 Submission Guidelines


Updated 12/11/2013

 

Guidelines for revisions of manuscripts originally submitted in 2013 can be found here.

 

Psychological Science welcomes the submission of papers presenting original research, theory, or applications on mind, brain, or behavior. Preference is given to papers that make a new and notable contribution—an idea, a discovery, a connection—to psychological science, broadly interpreted to include emerging as well as established areas of research (e.g., neuroeconomics versus psychophysics). Preference is also given to papers that are deemed to be of general theoretical significance or of broad interest across specialties of psychology and related fields and that are written to be intelligible to a wide range of readers.

Submission of Manuscripts
Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to the Psychological Science submission site, http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/psci. Before submitting your manuscript, please be sure to consult the 2014 Contributor FAQ.

Quick Links

Manuscript Review Process

Two-Tier Review

Two members of the editorial team read each submitted manuscript. One reader has interests and expertise in the relevant research area and offers a specialist’s opinion, whereas the other reader, who is less knowledgeable in the subject matter, provides a generalist’s perspective. In most cases, the specialist reader is an Associate Editor, whereas the generalist reader is a Senior Editor or the Editor in Chief.

If either reader thinks the paper has a reasonable chance of ultimately being accepted for publication in the journal, then it is sent to two or more external referees for extended review. The Associate Editor usually oversees this process and writes the subsequent decision letter (accept, reject, or revise and resubmit). Alternatively, if both readers decide the paper is unlikely to be competitive for publication, then the paper is declined on initial editorial review.

Within 2 weeks of submission, authors are notified by e-mail (usually sent by the Editor in Chief) that their manuscript either (a) has been declined on initial editorial review or (b) has been sent to outside experts for extended review. For manuscripts afforded extended review, authors can expect a decision within 60 days of manuscript submission. Manuscripts declined after either initial or extended review cannot be reconsidered unless the responsible action editor has invited resubmission following revision (see Question 16 in the 2014 Contributor FAQ).

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A Note on Manuscript Evaluation Criteria

Editors and external referees evaluate submissions with three questions in mind: (1) What will the reader of this paper learn about psychology that she or he did not know (or could not have known) before? (2) Why is that knowledge important for the field? (3) How are the claims made in the article justified by the methods used?

The first question reflects Psychological Science‘s long-standing emphasis on leading-edge methods and innovative findings (Eich, 2011; Estes, 1990; Kail, 2010). The insertion of “about psychology” and “for the field” in Questions 1 and 2, respectively, is meant to drive home the obvious but important point that Psychological Science is not a neuroscience journal or a social cognition journal or an emotion research journal or any other kind of specialty journal. It’s about psychology, broadly construed. It’s also about applying scientific methods to study behavior and experience, which motivates asking authors to explicitly tie their claims to their methods in Question 3.

Manuscripts that contain clear and compelling answers to the What, Why, and How questions have the best prospects of being accepted for publication. To underscore this point, and to promote fair and informed assessments, we require that authors directly and concisely preview their answers to these questions (50 words or less per question) as part of the manuscript submission process. The aim here is to make the “preview” exercise manageable for all parties, while helping get everyone—authors, reviewers, editors—on the same page and perhaps also aiding authors in crafting papers that get their points across.

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Journals of the Association for Psychological Science (APS)

Psychological Science does not compete with other journals of APS, including Clinical Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Psychological Science in the Public Interest. The journals vary in terms of domain and manuscript formats. Manuscripts rejected by another APS journal on the grounds of quality (e.g., flaws in methodology, data, or concept) are not eligible for consideration by Psychological Science.

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Preparing Your Manuscript

Article Types

See also Table 1 below.

General Article. General Articles may (a) give perspectives on the role of psychology in government, sustainability, public affairs, and other areas of broad social significance; (b) review new developments in one field of research that would be of interest to readers in other fields; or (c) present a tutorial or critical review of literature on a research problem or research method. General Articles are not meta-analyses or empirical papers, and they are limited to

  • 5,000 words (includes main text, notes, acknowledgments, and appendices; does not include cover page, Author Contributions, or reference list)
  • 50 references

Word-length and reference-list limits on General Articles may be relaxed upon request of the author and approval of the Editor in Chief prior to manuscript submission.

Research Article. Research Articles may present new theory, new data, new methods, or any combination of these. They are limited to

  • 2,000 words (includes introductory and Discussion sections of the main text, any footnotes, acknowledgments, and appendices; does not include Method or Results sections (except footnotes), cover page, Author Contributions, or reference list)
  • 40 references

Research Report. Research Reports may also present new theory, new data, new methods, or any combination of these; they are identical to Research Articles, only shorter, and are limited to

  • 1,000 words (includes introductory and Discussion sections of the main text, any footnotes, acknowledgments, and appendices; does not include Method or Results sections (except footnotes), cover page, Author Contributions, or reference list)
  • 30 references

Research Articles and Research Reports must be written to be intelligible to readers with diverse interests in psychological science. Broad theoretical significance and interdisciplinary interest are major criteria for acceptance.

For Research Articles and Research Reports, the Method and Results sections no longer count toward the total word limit. The aim here is to allow authors to provide clear, complete, self-contained descriptions of their studies, which cannot be done with restrictions on those sections. But as much as Psychological Science prizes narrative clarity and completeness, so too does it value concision. In almost all cases, a fulsome account of method and results can be achieved in 2,500 or fewer words for Research Articles, and 2,000 or fewer words for Research Reports.

Many Research Articles, and some Research Reports, contain two or more studies. Such submissions may include “interim” introductions and discussions that bracket the studies, in addition to an opening “general” introduction and a closing “general” discussion. Authors who opt for this sort of organization should bear in mind that the aforementioned word limits on introductory and Discussion sections include both interim and general varieties.

Narrative material that belongs in the introductory or Discussion sections should not be placed in the Method or Results section, within reasonable limits. Thus, for example, authors may include a few sentences to place their findings in context when they are presented in the Results section. However, excessive packing of a Method or Results section with material appropriate to the introduction or Discussion will trigger immediate revision or rejection of the manuscript. Hybrid “Methods & Results” sections are disallowed for any type of submission, unless authors have requested and received editorial approval in advance.

Short Report. Short Reports present concise but complete accounts of new research findings of broad interest. They are limited to

  • 1,000 words (includes main text, notes, acknowledgments, and appendices; does not include cover page, Author Contributions, or reference list)
  • 20 references
  • 1 figure or table (no more than 2 panels)

Although Short Reports are published without an abstract, an abstract of no more than 150 words must be included with the submission in order for the manuscript to be evaluated by editors and reviewers.

Commentary. Commentaries may discuss problems of general interest to psychological scientists or may criticize or supplement articles previously published in Psychological Science. They are limited to

  • 1,000 words (includes main text, notes, acknowledgments, and appendices; does not include cover page, Author Contributions, or reference list)
  • 20 references
  • 1 figure or table (no more than 2 panels)

Table 1. Limits for Psychological Science Articles by Type

Article Type

Word Limit

Reference Limit

Figure and/or Table Limit

What counts toward the word limit?

Introduction & Discussion

Method & Results

Notes, Acknowledgments, appendices

Cover page, abstract, Author Contributions, references

General Article

5,000

50

n/a

X

X

X

Research Article

2,000

40

n/a

X

X

Research Report

1,000

30

n/a

X

X

Short Report

1,000

20

1

X

X

X

Commentary

1,000

20

1

All main text, including notes, acknowledgments, and appendices count toward the word limit

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Manuscript Style, Structure, and Content

The style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, must be followed with respect to handling of references, abbreviations, and symbols; however, to make the review process more manageable for editors and reviewers, we ask that authors embed figures and tables within the main text rather than including them each on a separate page at the end of the manuscript. In Research Articles and Research Reports, descriptions of methods and results should be prepared with special attention to readability. Please submit manuscripts in an editable text format (e.g., Word document or RTF file); do not submit manuscripts in PDF format.

Authors are encouraged to consult the APA Guide for New Authors for more information on the manuscript-submission and peer-review process.

Guidance regarding article structure can be found here.

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Preparation of Graphics

The journal now requires that authors embed figures within the main document near to where they are discussed in the text, as this makes the review process more manageable for editors and reviewers. A figure’s caption should be placed in the text just below the figure.

Authors who are submitting revisions should also upload separate figure files that adhere to the APS Figure Format and Style Guidelines. Submitting separate, production-quality files helps to facilitate timely publication should the manuscript ultimately be accepted.

Authors who wish to reproduce figures in color should bear in mind that color printing is expensive. Authors are allowed one free color figure per article; additional color figures cost $250 each. If the authors of an accepted manuscript opt not to pay for printing a figure in color, the figure may be published in color online but in gray scale in print. In this case, the authors are responsible for ensuring that the figure will be clearly understandable in black and white. Alternatively, the authors may prefer to provide a new black-and-white version of the figure to replace the original color figure in both the online and the print publications.

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Statistics

Psychological Science now recommends the use of the “new statistics”—effect sizes, confidence intervals, and meta-analysis—to avoid problems associated with null-hypothesis significance testing (NHST). Authors are encouraged to consult this Psychological Science tutorial by Geoff Cumming, a leader in the new statistics movement, which shows why estimation and meta-analysis are more informative than NHST and how they foster development of a cumulative, quantitative discipline. Cumming has also prepared a video series on The New Statistics that can be found here.

In previous editions of the journal’s Submission Guidelines, authors were advised: “Effect sizes should accompany major results. When relevant, bar and line graphs should include distributional information, usually confidence intervals or standard errors of the mean.” With the 2014 edition’s emphasis on estimation, authors should continue to include effect sizes for their major results, and distributional information in their graphs (or tables, for that matter). However, authors are strongly advised to report 95% confidence intervals, instead of standard deviations or standard errors, because confidence intervals convey much more useful information—another key point discussed at length in Cumming’s tutorial. Read More

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Candidate Gene Research

The editors of Behavior Genetics have established perceptive policies regarding candidate gene association and Candidate Gene × Environment interaction studies of complex traits (Hewitt, 2012). Submissions to Psychological Science that report similar candidate-gene studies are expected to accord with these same policies.

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Research Disclosure Statements

The editors of Psychological Science agree that it would be a good thing to create a simple public norm for reporting what should be requisite information on exclusions, manipulations, measures, and sample size. Our sense is that Simmons, LeBel, and their colleagues are on the right track and that the journal is well positioned to promote the cause. (For more details, please see the recent Observer interview with Editor Eric Eich and his January 2014 editorial.

As of January 2014, the manuscript submission portal will have a new section containing checkboxes for four Disclosure Statement items (very similar to existing items confirming that research meets ethical guidelines, etc.). Submitting authors must check each item in order for their manuscript to proceed to editorial evaluation; by doing so, authors actively declare that they have disclosed all of the required information for each study in the submitted manuscript. The new Disclosure Statement section looks like this:

For each study reported in your manuscript, check the boxes below to:

(1) Confirm that (a) the total number of excluded observations and (b) the reasons for making these exclusions have been reported in the Method section(s). [  ] If no observations were excluded, check here [  ].

(2) Confirm that all independent variables or manipulations, whether successful or failed, have been reported in the Method section(s). [  ] If there were no independent variables or manipulations, as in the case of correlational research, check here [  ].

(3) Confirm that all dependent variables or measures that were analyzed for this article’s target research question have been reported in the Methods section(s). [  ]

(4) Confirm that (a) how sample size was determined and (b) your data-collection stopping rule have been reported in the Method section(s) [  ] and provide the page number(s) on which this information appears in your manuscript: __________________________________________________________________________

 

The Disclosure Statement applies only “to each study reported in your manuscript.” Read More

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Author Contributions

Authorship implies significant participation in the research reported or in writing the manuscript, including participation in the design and/or interpretation of reported experiments or results, participation in the acquisition and/or analysis of data, and participation in the drafting and/or revising of the manuscript. All authors must agree to the order in which the authors are listed and must have read the final manuscript and approved its submission. They must also agree to take responsibility for the work in the event that its integrity or veracity is questioned.

Each submitted manuscript must include a paragraph (not included in the word count), after the body of the main text and before any acknowledgments, that states each author’s contribution. Here are examples:

“D.P. Smith developed the study concept. All authors contributed to the study design. Testing and data collection were performed by D.P. Smith. D.P. Smith and A.C. Brown performed the data analysis and interpretation under the supervision of H.L. Jones. D.P. Smith drafted the manuscript, and A.C. Brown and H.L. Jones provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.”

“D.P. Smith is the sole author of this article and is responsible for its content.”

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Ethical Considerations

Authors reporting research involving human subjects should indicate whether the protocol was approved by an institutional review board or similar committee and whether it was carried out in accordance with the provisions of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki (available here). Authors reporting research involving nonhuman animal subjects should indicate whether institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

The APS journals follow the code of conduct of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and follow COPE guidelines when misconduct is suspected or alleged.

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Supplemental Material

Authors are free to submit certain types of Supplemental Material for online-only publication. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, such material will be published online on the publisher’s Web site, linked to the article.

Psychological Science allows for the online publication of two types of supplemental online material, reviewed (SOM-R) and unreviewed (SOM-U). SOM-R includes material that has undergone both an initial review (by two members of the editorial team) and an extended review (by two or more external referees). SOM-U includes unreviewed material, or information that has not been vetted by either the editors or the external referees. Neither type of supplemental material will be copyedited or formatted; it will be posted online exactly as submitted.

It is important to note that the editors take the adjective supplemental seriously. Both SOM-R and SOM-U should include the sort of material that enhances the reader’s understanding of an article but is not essential for understanding the article. Read More

If you intend to upload SOM-R or SOM-U, please read the Guidelines for Publication of Supplemental Online Material, which describes conventions for naming files and for citing Supplemental Materials in the manuscript. SOM-R and SOM-U files should be uploaded when the manuscript proper is submitted.

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Open Practices

Psychological Science is the launch vehicle for a program intended to incentivize open communication within the research community. Through this program, manuscripts accepted for publication on or after January 1, 2014, are eligible to earn one or more of the following “badges” in recognition of open scientific practices:

  • Open Data badge, which is earned for making publicly available the digitally-shareable data necessary to reproduce the reported result.
  • Open Materials badge, which is earned for making publicly available the digitally-shareable materials/methods necessary to reproduce the reported results.
  • Preregistered badge, which is earned for having a preregistered design and analysis plan for the reported research and reporting results according to that plan. An analysis plan includes specification of the variables and the analyses that will be conducted.

The criteria for earning badges and the process by which they are awarded, along with answers to frequently asked questions, are described in the Open Practices document. The document proposes two ways for certifying organizations to award badges for individual studies: disclosure or peer review. For now, this journal will follow the simpler disclosure method. Please see the Open Practices page and Eric Eich’s Observer interview for more information.
Journal staff will contact the corresponding authors of accepted manuscripts with details on the badge-awarding process.

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English Language Help

Authors who would like to refine the use of English in their manuscripts might consider using the services of a professional English-language editing company. A listing of some of these companies can be found here. Please be aware that the journal has no affiliation with these companies and makes no endorsement of them. An author’s use of these services in no way guarantees that his or her submission will ultimately be accepted. Any arrangement an author enters into will be exclusively between the author and the particular company, and any costs incurred are the sole responsibility of the author.

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Contributor FAQ

Contributors are encouraged to consult the 2014 Contributor FAQ before submitting manuscripts to Psychological Science.

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Accepted Manuscripts

Embargo Policy and Media Relations

Psychological Science does not impose media embargoes. In accordance with our mission of sharing the science with the public, APS may in some cases publicly disseminate information about the content of accepted articles before they are actually published in the journal. Authors are free to disseminate to colleagues and media outlets information about a forthcoming article that they have contributed to Psychological Science as soon as the manuscript has been accepted and they have completed the Contributor Publishing Agreement form. Media or press-office inquiries should be directed to Anna Mikulak, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, at amikulak@psychologicalscience.org.

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Contributor Publishing Agreement

In order for SAGE to proceed with publication of your article, you must complete a Contributor Publishing Agreement online. You can find this form in your Author Center at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/psci. Within your Author Dashboard is the “Manuscripts with Decisions” queue, where you will be able to access the “Contributor Form” link within the “Action” column for your accepted manuscript. Please note that without a completed agreement, we are unable to proceed with publication of your article.

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Third-Party Permissions

If your accepted manuscript contains third-party material requiring permission, please forward all permission agreements to the editorial office (editorialoffice@psychologicalscience.org) within 5 days of signing the Contributor Publishing Agreement.

If a figure or video includes an image of a person, the authors must obtain a signed Audio/Visual Likeness Release Form from each person appearing in the figure or video before the article can be published. This is also true for photographs or video of celebrities. Please contact the editorial office (editorialoffice@psychologicalscience.org) if you have any questions.

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Figures

Authors of accepted manuscripts must be prepared to provide production-quality figure files to editorial office staff. This typically means high-resolution [> 300 pixels/in. (PPI)] JPEG files for image elements and editable files for graphs or other line drawings. Please see our Figure Format and Style Guidelines for more information.

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Copyediting

A member of APS’s production team will contact you regarding copyediting of your manuscript. Please note that copyeditors edit accepted articles—sometimes extensively—so that they will be clear and accessible to all readers of Psychological Science.

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Funder Mandates/Open Access

The APS journals offer both green and gold open-access options that enable authors to comply with mandates from funders such as the National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust, and RCUK.

APS and SAGE can help fulfill many funders’ mandates to archive your accepted manuscript by making your article open access and depositing your manuscript files in PubMed Central. NIH-funded manuscripts submitted to Psychological Science after September 1, 2013, will be deposited into PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication as long as the authors indicate the funding during the submission process. Authors who wish to pay to make an article/manuscript publicly available immediately upon publication in order to comply with NIH or similar requirements may use the SAGE Choice option (gold open access).

Note that authors who do not choose to participate in SAGE Choice must choose a 12-month embargo for manuscripts submitted to PubMed Central.

For more information on open-access options and compliance at SAGE, including author self-archiving deposits (green open access) or SAGE Choice (gold open access), visit SAGE Publishing Policies on the Journal Author Gateway.

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Permission to Reuse

As author and copyright holder of the article, you may do the following at any time without seeking permission:

  • Distribute photocopies of the published article for teaching purposes or to research colleagues on a noncommercial basis.
  • Circulate or post the original manuscript submission (i.e., the pre-peer-review version) or an abstract of the article on any repository or Web site.
  • Post the accepted (post-peer-review) version of the manuscript on your own personal Web site, your department’s Web site, or the repository of your institution.

At any time after publication, you may use the final published version of the article in a book you write or edit without seeking permission.

One year after publication, you may also

  • Post the accepted version of the article in any repository or Web site not listed above.

You may not post the final published article on a Web site or in a repository without permission from SAGE.

When posting or reusing the article, please provide a link to the appropriate DOI for the published version.

Please note that the SAGE-created PDF of the final published article may not be posted elsewhere at any time.

For any use not detailed above, please contact SAGE at permissions@sagepub.com.  Please forward to SAGE all inquiries and requests received from third parties for permissions, reprint rights, subsidiary rights licenses, and all other use and licensing of the article.

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Badges

Starting in 2014, authors of accepted manuscripts are eligible to earn up to three badges in recognition of open scientific practices. These include an Open Data badge, an Open Materials badge, and a Preregistered badge. More information can be found on the Open Practices page.

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Corrections

If you notice an error in your manuscript after it has been accepted, please e-mail Amy Drew, Peer Review Manager, at adrew@psychologicalscience.org with a description of the error and the correction.

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OnlineFirst Publication and TWiPS

All accepted manuscripts are published online (OnlineFirst) as soon as they reach their final copyedited, typeset, and corrected form, and each accepted article appears in a monthly print issue of Psychological Science as well as in the digital This Week in Psychological Science (TWiPS), which is distributed weekly to all APS members.

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Approximate Timeline

After you have submitted your Contributor Publishing Agreement, you may be contacted by an editorial assistant requesting the proper files needed for production. (If you do not receive a message from the editorial office after you submit the Contributor Publishing Agreement, it means you have already provided all the files we need for production – thanks!)  Once your article has entered production, you can expect to hear from a copyeditor within approximately 4 weeks. Every manuscript receives a thorough, substantive edit, and the manuscript is returned to the corresponding author for review before it is typeset. After the copyediting process is complete, your article should be published online within approximately 3 weeks, depending on how promptly proof corrections are returned.

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