APS Editorial Policies

Updated December 2023

The following policies apply to all APS publications unless otherwise indicated. These are dynamic policies and will be regularly reviewed and updated by the APS Publications Committee:

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Acceptance Date

Please note that the official acceptance date will reflect the day our editorial office has all the files necessary to begin the production process—including the Contributor Agreement, any permissions documentation, and production-quality figure files—rather than the date the acceptance letter was sent to authors.

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Allegations of Misconduct

Allegations of Misconduct by Authors 

Editors, reviewers, or readers who suspect research or publication misconduct by an author of an APS journal submission or publication should contact the Editor-in-Chief with their concerns, outlining the allegation(s) and any evidence they have to support their claim. The Editor-in-Chief will make an initial determination, either to render a final decision or to escalate the matter to the APS Publications Committee. In that case, the Chair of the APS Publications Committee will review the evidence and either a) issue a recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief; b) bring the matter to the full APS Publications Committee to conduct an investigation, during which they may contact authors’ institutions, funders, or regulatory bodies as appropriate; or c) refer the matter, including all evidence provided by the complainant, to the author’s institution. For cases involving data or image concerns, the original data underlying the result(s) in question may be requested. The final findings and recommendation of the Chair of the APS Publications Committee and/or the full APS Publications Committee will be communicated to the Editor-in-Chief, who will in turn communicate those findings to authors and the complainant. If it is determined that steps are necessary to correct or clarify the scientific record—which may include issuing a correction, expression of concern, or retraction, per COPE guidelines—then these will be communicated to the APS journals staff who will work with the publisher to make the necessary corrections. If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, they can submit the complaint to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). More information can be found here

Allegations of Editorial Misconduct

Authors of submissions to APS journals can report suspected misconduct that occurs at any point during or after the review of a manuscript submission by anyone involved in that review process—including action editors, Editors-in-Chief, editorial board members, reviewers, or journal staff. Reviewers are similarly encouraged to report any misconduct they suspect during their service as a reviewer of an APS journal submission. APS will investigate such allegations in accordance with COPE guidelines. 

Complaints should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief of the journal or the action editor on the manuscript submission. If both of these individuals are the subject of the complaint, complaints can be directed to the Chair of the Publications Committee by emailing the APS Director of Publications at directorofpublications@psychologicalscience.org or the inbox of the journal. Allegations may be made by anonymous or non-anonymous parties, and the organization protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers to the extent possible. 

Specific procedures for various types of complaints are outlined below. 

Allegations of Misconduct by Reviewers or Reviewer Bias 

Authors who believe they have received a biased review or that reviewers have otherwise acted inappropriately are encouraged to send a letter to the Editor-in-Chief detailing their allegations. The Editor-in-Chief will consult with the action editor who handled the manuscript (if applicable), along with the Chair of the APS Publications Committee, if necessary, to determine if the review indicates a lack of impartiality. If so, the action editor will send the manuscript out for one or more additional reviews and will revise the original decision accordingly if supported by the new reviews. The author will be provided with status updates during this process followed by a letter from the Editor-in-Chief with the final decision. If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, they can submit the complaint to the Committee on Publication Ethics. More information can be found here

Allegations of Misconduct by Editors or Editorial Board Members 

Authors or reviewers may submit complaints about the ethical conduct of an editor or member of the editorial board to the Chair of the APS Publications Committee. The Chair will review evidence presented by the complainant and make an initial determination about whether to conduct further investigation with the involvement of the full APS Publications Committee. In that case, the committee will investigate as timely and efficiently as possible, during which time they may contact the complainant (if their identity is known), the editor, and/or editorial staff to gather information and ask relevant questions. The committee will come to a determination on what, if any, concrete actions to take; any actions that rise to the level of corrective or punitive measures relating to an Editor-in-Chief will be referred to the APS Board of Directors for further consideration. The final determination of the committee, in addition to any corrective actions taken, whether in regard to a manuscript or person or policy, will be communicated by the Chair of the APS Publications Committee to the complainant, the target of the complaint, and any other relevant parties. If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, they can submit the complaint to the Committee on Publication Ethics. More information can be found here

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Appeal of An Editorial Decision 

The autonomy of APS journal editors and editorial boards is a key principle guiding APS scientific publications. Editors have the prerogative to reject a manuscript with or without external review if it is deemedoutside the journal’s scope, there is any evidence of scientific misconduct, or if the Editor concludes it does not meet the journal’s standards in terms of quality, originality, or significance to the field.  

Authors seeking to appeal a decision to reject their manuscript should first contact the action editor (i.e., the member of the editorial team who secures reviewers and renders a decision) of their submission with a document outlining their arguments for why the editorial decision should be reversed. The action editor will work with the Editor-in-Chief to determine whether to uphold the decision to reject the manuscript, seek input from an additional independent reviewer, or grant the appeal and allow authors to submit a revision. Complainants are informed of the decision by the action editor and/or Editor-in-Chief with an explanation if appropriate. Editorial decisions on appeals are final. 

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Artificial Intelligence

Use of Large Language Models and generative AI tools in writing your submission

APS recognizes the value of large language models (LLMs) (e.g. ChatGPT) and generative AI as productivity tools that can help authors in preparing their article for submission. However, it is important to note that all language models have limitations and are unable to replicate human creative and critical thinking. Human intervention with these tools is essential to ensure that content presented is accurate and appropriate to the reader. APS requires authors to be aware of the limitations of language models and to consider these in any use of LLMs in their submissions:

  • Objectivity: Previously published content that contains racist, sexist or other biases can be present in LLM-generated text, and minority viewpoints may not be represented. Use of LLMs has the potential to perpetuate these biases because the information is decontextualized and harder to detect.
  • Accuracy: LLMs can ‘hallucinate’ i.e. generate false content, especially when used outside of their domain or when dealing with complex or ambiguous topics. They can generate content that is linguistically but not scientifically plausible, they can get facts wrong, and they have been shown to generate citations that don’t exist. Some LLMs are only trained on content published before a particular date and therefore present an incomplete picture.
  • Contextual understanding: LLMs cannot apply human understanding to the context of a piece of text, especially when dealing with idiomatic expressions, sarcasm, humour, or metaphorical language. This can lead to errors or misinterpretations in the generated content.
  • Training data: LLMs require a large amount of high-quality training data to achieve optimal performance. However, in some domains or languages, such data may not be readily available, limiting the usefulness of the model.

Guidance for authors

Authors are required to:

  1. Clearly indicate the use of language models in the manuscript, including which model was used and for what purpose. Please use the methods or acknowledgements section, as appropriate.
  2. Verify the accuracy, validity, and appropriateness of the content and any citations generated by language models and correct any errors or inconsistencies.
  3. Provide a list of sources used to generate content and citations, including those generated by language models. Double-check citations to ensure they are accurate, and are properly referenced.
  4. Be conscious of the potential for plagiarism where the LLM may have reproduced substantial text from other sources. Check the original sources to be sure you are not plagiarising someone else’s work.
  5. Acknowledge the limitations of language models in the manuscript, including the potential for bias, errors, and gaps in knowledge.
  6. Please note that AI bots such as ChatGPT should not be listed as an author on your submission.

We will take appropriate corrective action where we identify published articles with undisclosed use of such tools.

Authors should check the guidelines of the journal they are submitting to for any specific policies that may be in place on that journal.

Guidance for editors and reviewers

Editors and reviewers should evaluate the appropriateness of the use of LLMs and ensure that the generated content is accurate and valid.

Editors and Reviewers must uphold the confidentiality of the peer review process. Editors must not share information about submitted manuscripts or peer review reports with generative AI or LLMs such a ChatGPT.  Reviewers must not use artificial intelligence tools to generate review reports, including but not limited to ChatGPT.

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Author Conflicts of Interest

Authors should err on the side of transparency, identifying any activities that might reasonably be perceived as a conflict, whether or not they believe that those activities actually influenced their research. Examples include, but are not limited to, consulting fees or grants from for-profit organizations, sitting on boards of for-profit organizations, or earning royalties for copyrighted measures. If editorial team members believe that authors might have an undisclosed conflict, they should discuss the potential conflict with authors and evaluate the need for disclosure. This policy is not meant to imply that individuals with potential conflicts are behaving unethically, but rather to encourage reporting of potential conflicts in the interest of promoting transparency.

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Code of Conduct

APS is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). APS journals abide by COPE’s Core Practices and aim to adhere to its Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors. Our Code of Conduct follows the list of Ethics and Responsibilities from SAGE.

APS is committed to:

  • maintaining the editorial independence of journal editors
  • supporting journal editors to run their journals ethically and transparently
  • maintaining an accurate and transparent academic record, including publishing corrections and retractions when necessary

Authors

Authors should ensure that:

  • their work is original and written by them
  • their work has not been previously published and has been submitted only to the journal
  • where material is taken from other sources (including their own published writing) the source is clearly cited and that, when appropriate, permission was/will be obtained
  • their work does not infringe on any rights of others, including privacy rights and intellectual property rights
  • their data is true and not manipulated
  • their data is their own or that they have permission to use data reproduced in their paper
  • any real or apparent conflicting or competing interest is clearly stated on submission of their paper (this would include funding assistance)
  • they adhere to all research ethics guidelines of their discipline, particularly where human or animal subjects are involved
  • they contact the Editor to identify and correct any material errors upon discovery, whether prior or subsequent to publication of their work
  • authorship of the paper is accurately represented, including ensuring that all individuals credited as authors participated in the actual authorship of the work and that all who participated are credited and have given consent for publication

Above all, authors should be transparent.  For example, if an author is not sure whether her paper is original (for instance, whether it might constitute duplicate publication), she should inform the journal’s editor. If the editor decides it is appropriate to publish, the paper itself should state clearly any potential overlap.

For more information, please visit the SAGE Author Gateway.

Reviewers

Reviewers must:

  • maintain the confidentiality of the review process
  • refrain from contacting the authors directly without permission of the journal
  • immediately alert their journal editor of any real or potential competing interest that could affect the impartiality of their reviewing and decline to review where appropriate
  • conduct themselves fairly and impartially

We are aware, of course, that academics will come from a particular school of thought and/or may have strong ties to a particular interest. All we ask is that reviewers strive to act fairly. If in doubt about whether a conflict exists, a reviewer should be transparent and seek the views of the journal editor.

For more information, please visit the SAGE Reviewer Gateway.

Editors

Editors should:

  • maintain and promote consistent ethical policies for their journals
  • oversee and act to enforce those policies as needed in a fair and consistent manner
  • ensure the confidentiality of the review process
  • exercise the highest standards of personal integrity in their work as editor of the journal, recognizing and planning for instances where they could have a competing interest or the appearance of a competing interest
  • work with authors, reviewers, and Editorial Board members as necessary to ensure they are sufficiently advised regarding their journals’ ethics and publishing policies and that the journal’s stewardship on ethical matters is fair, unbiased, and timely

For more information, please visit the SAGE Editor Gateway.

Everyone including Editorial Boards

  • We should promote fairness and equality and oppose discrimination
  • We should promote the transparency of and respect for the academic record
  • We should respect the confidentiality of others
  • We should be transparent about real or apparent competing interests

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Conference Proceedings

Authors who wish to submit a manuscript that contains research previously presented at a conference must do so in accordance with the following guidelines:

If the proceedings published only the abstracts of the conference presentations, or if the conference proceedings were provided only to attendees (i.e., not made available to the public or to members of the press), authors may submit their manuscript to the journal. If the proceedings were more widely distributed or made available to the press or public, please include an explanation in an additional file, and the editor-in-chief will determine if the manuscript is eligible for consideration by the journal. If the proceedings material contained reports more substantive than just abstracts, the journal submission must be significantly different from the proceedings material in order to be considered. As a rule of thumb, the Psychological Science submission must be at least twice the word length of the proceedings material, to provide authors the opportunity to clearly distinguish between the two reports in terms of their scientific scope and significance.

If any version or part of the submitted manuscript has been published in conference proceedings, the authors must disclose this in their submission and provide a complete reference to the publication in their manuscript. Authors must also upload the published proceedings material as supplementary material with their submission.

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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. 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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Copyediting

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

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Corrections

If you discover an error in your published article, please email editorialoffice@psychologicalscience.org immediately. The journal’s managing editor will work with you and the editor-in-chief to determine whether a correction should be made and what form it should take. An erratum corrects an error made by APS or the publisher; a corrigendum corrects an error made by the author(s).

A correction notice will be published if an error affects the publication record, the scientific integrity of the article, or the reputation of the authors or the journal. In general, APS journals will not publish a formal correction for spelling or grammatical errors or for errors that do not significantly affect an article’s findings or conclusions or a reader’s understanding.

If a correction notice is published, a new, corrected version of the article will be posted online unless there is no obvious corrected version to replace the original. For example, if the purpose of the correction is to acknowledge work that was not cited but perhaps should have been, there will be a correction notice but no new online version.

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Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

APS Journals are committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of our leadership, peer review, methods, and scholarship. Including members of underrepresented groups in the authorship, editorial boards, and study samples represented in our journals is a vital part of this commitment. Acknowledging the harmful roles that racism and other forms of discrimination and exclusion have played in all aspects of society, including the publications of our field, is critical in order to turn this commitment into action.

We fully embrace the guiding organizational principle that psychological science has the ability to transform society for the better and can and must play a central role in advancing human welfare and the public interest. To that end, we support the publication of a wide variety of scientific work that furthers our understanding of the causes and harmful effects of racism, inequities, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination; the psychological and societal benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the most effective ways to foster these outcomes and advance a more just and equitable world.

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Embargo Policy and Media Relations

APS 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 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 the Media Relations and Public Information team at news@psychologicalscience.org.

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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 follows. Please be aware that the journal makes no endorsement of any of these companies. 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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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. Authors reporting research involving nonhuman animal subjects should indicate whether institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Identifying information of participants will not be published unless the information is necessary and written, informed consent is obtained.

Any potential conflicts of interest should be reported in the online submission process and in the manuscript. If any authors have been remunerated for advancing a particular perspective related to the research reported in the manuscript (e.g., regarding the efficacy of an intervention) that should be declared as a potential conflict when the manuscript is submitted. The Declaration of Conflicting Interests section that appears in every article will state any reported conflicts or will read “The author(s) declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship or the publication of this article.”

Manuscripts should conform to the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, which can be found in full at www.icmje.org. In particular, authors should reference the following sections:

  • II.A. Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors
  • II.B.1.a. Author Responsibilities—Conflicts of Interest
  • II.E. Protection of Research Participants
  • III.B. Scientific Misconduct, Expressions of Concern, and Retraction
  • III.L. Clinical Trial Registration (if applicable)

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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 dots/in. (DPI)] 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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Funder Mandates/Open Access

(Note: this does not apply to Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science; please see the AMPPS Submission Guidelines for more information).

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 to fulfill many funders’ mandates to archive your accepted manuscript by making your article open access and depositing your manuscript files in PubMed Central. Authors who wish to pay to make an article/manuscript publicly available immediately upon publication to comply with NIH or similar requirements may use the SAGE Choice option (gold open access).

Authors may share the version of their manuscript that was submitted to the journal at any time. Upon acceptance, authors may post the final, accepted version of the article on any repository or website, including preprint servers. Authors may not post the final published PDF anywhere without permission.

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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Identification of Action Editors

Articles should identify the action editor and Editor-in-Chief for each article.

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Inclusive and Bias-Free Language

Authors who submit their work for publication in any APS journal are expected to use inclusive language that avoids any expressions of bias, prejudice, or disrespect toward any person or group based on their racial or ethnic identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability status, religion, or socioeconomic status. Authors are encouraged to consult the APA Bias-Free Language Guidelines and Inclusive Language Guidelines for more information.

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Name Change Policy

APS honors all requests for an author’s name change, including, but not limited to, name changes because of marriage, divorce, gender affirmation, and religious conversion. We will also work to ensure that the published academic record reflects this change, in accordance with the SAGE Publishing Name Change Policy.

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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.
  • Post the abstract, submitted (pre-peer review) version, or accepted (post-peer-review), pre-copyedited version of the manuscript on any repository or website, including preprint servers.
  • 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.

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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Reference Checking 

Authors who wish to check that their in-text citations match the reference list at the end of their manuscript might consider using the services of professional reference-checking software. A listing of some of these companies follows. Please be aware that the journal makes no endorsement of any of these companies. 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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Review of Editor Contributions

Any contribution by an editor that goes beyond a brief introduction or summary (e.g., a paragraph or two introducing a special section) should undergo peer review by a guest editor. Any contributions that do not undergo peer review, however minimal (e.g., brief introduction or summary), should include a statement that it did not undergo peer review.

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Self-Citations by Authors

Editorial team members should evaluate whether the extent of self-citation by authors is appropriate relative to that individual’s contributions to fields relevant to the focus of the article and citations to other relevant literature or authors. Editorial team members should recommend reductions in self-citations when they appear excessive or inappropriate scientifically.

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Submissions by Editorial Team Members

Any substantive submissions by action editors to their own journal should be managed by an external guest editor (selected by the Editor-in-Chief or by the APS publication committee if the author is the Editor-in-Chief) who is not a regular part of the editorial team and does not have any conflicts of interest.

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Text Recycling/Self-Plagiarism

Authors can reuse text describing technical procedures or methods when those methods remain constant across studies. The COPE Editorial guidelines suggest that this form of reuse is reasonable, though citation of the previous work may be appropriate. However, authors should minimize text reuse (i.e., self-plagiarism) in other writing, though there may be some special circumstances in which some text-reuse is appropriate (e.g., invited article on a particular topic). Any text reuse outside of methods should cite the original work and should employ direct quotes and/or note that that the work excerpts from previous work with copyright permission (see also https://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-16a).

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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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Note:  Authors should feel free to contact the Editor-in-Chief or other editorial staff of a journal if they are uncertain about the relevance of any of these issues for their manuscript.