More Psychological Science, More Often

APS is launching a new Members-only online publication, “This Week in Psychological Science,” that will bring the Association’s flagship journal to APS Members as much as a month, or even more, before the hard copy is available. “This Week” will arrive via email with summaries of the research and links to the articles, all in a lively and convenient electronic format. The new publication will allow APS Members to get their hands on — or more accurately, their minds on — the latest psychological research findings from all areas in the field even sooner.

Psychological Science is one of the most influential journals in the field. Its impact factor places it 6th out of 99 general psychology journals worldwide, and its 20,000 plus subscriptions and its nearly half million article downloads make it among the most-read journals in any field.

Rob Kail, the Editor of Psychological Science, looks forward to the change. “It will be a digital journal that will allow readers to get the best psychological science research described in a brief format and to find out what’s exciting with a click of a button.” Kail expects the new electronic format will benefit not only the readers, but the researchers submitting articles as well. “One of my goals as editor is to provide faster turnaround times for authors and articles that are accepted. This will allow papers to be published a bit faster than they would in the print copy.”

In 1990, its first year, Psychological Science saw around 100 article submissions. It has grown to an expected 2,000 submissions in 2008. According to APS Executive Director Alan Kraut, this “represents a massive expansion in a relatively young journal. We reached a point where we either had to start publishing a lower percentage of submissions, which we didn’t want to do, or seek another option.” Last year, APS asked Members for ideas on how to expand the scope of Psychological Science without losing the appeal of the easily read size and style. Responses numbered in the hundreds, and online publication of Psychological Science articles in advance of the print journal was a popular suggestion among APS Members.

All APS Members receive a subscription to Psychological Science (along with the Association’s other three leading journals) as part of their dues. Online access to Psychological Science began in 2004. In 2008, APS began offering Members an “online-only” option for receiving the journals via e-mail and dispensing with paper copies. More than 25 percent of APS membership took advantage. Starting in December, all Members will receive “This Week in Psychological Science” containing titles, descriptions, and links to four to six articles or reports that will appear in the following month’s hard copy issue. Readers will be able to click the links to gain access to full PDFs of each article, up to a full month ahead of printing.

APS President Walter Mischel strongly supports this change, citing its forward thinking and ease of use. “We are excited to advance the design of Psychological Science to help our members get the most out of the journal, and we hope the Members will share in the enthusiasm for this new digital version that has the ‘browseability’ of the hard copy and more content per issue.” ♦

Observer Vol.21, No.9 October, 2008

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