Gaining Perspectives

The APS quarterly journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science, had a strong first year of publication. The 21 articles and two editorials featured in the first volume covered a broad range of topics, featured some of the most distinguished researchers in the field, and kept readers current with recent and exciting developments in our science as well as offering valuable historical and biographical information. The founding editor, APS Fellow Ed Diener, is a highly experienced editor, but particularly enjoys editing Perspectives because of the great ideas and articles that have come across his desk over the past year. Perspectives occupies a special niche among psychological journals by frequently printing longer and more integrative articles.

“I took on this new editorship because the possibilities for Perspectives seemed enormous,” said Diener, who is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “And I have had a great time doing it,” he added.

Now in the PsycInfo database, the first volume of Perspectives contains many pieces that are likely to become “citation classics.” In addition to scholarly articles, Perspectives also has published popular pieces such as APS Past President Michael S. Gazzaniga’s “Lunch with Leon,” a biography of Leon Festinger, and even some controversial articles, such as Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “Are emotions natural kinds?” and Timothy A. Salthouse’s “Mental exercise and mental aging: Evaluating the validity of the ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis.” Controversial articles aren’t intended to be the focus of the journal, Diener says, but he will publish those that are well-written, and may even invite responses to them in the future.

The flow of excellent submissions has been so strong that Diener believes that it may become necessary to publish more often. “We have so many good articles coming in that we will soon outgrow being a quarterly,” he predicted.

“My goal is to be the most widely read psych journal in the world, but I would also like to be one of the very best psych journals in the world,” said Diener. To accomplish this goal, he is constantly searching for outstanding submissions. He encourages authors to send him abstract-length descriptions of their paper ideas, which is usually enough material for him to provide initial feedback. Diener also occasionally invites authors to submit work in order to ensure the wide variety of articles that has characterized the journal since its beginning.

“We want articles from all areas of psychology that are written in a way to capture the interest and attention of all scientific psychologists. These articles might be theoretical, reviews, humor, biographies, or opinion pieces — but they should be interesting and readable by those in other areas of psychology,” said Diener. One of the unique aspects of Perspectives is that it examines a larger picture of psychology, while reaching a substantial and varied readership. For authors, this means that their work is highly visible and more likely to be read by psychologists outside of their sub-disciplines.

“I am a firm believer in psychology as a unified science, and I am afraid it is becoming fractionated into sub-disciplines that don’t know what is happening in other areas,” said Diener. “That’s why I love this journal — it brings people from different areas of psychology together, in order to do their best work.”

Guidelines for submissions can be found at https://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/index.cfm?journal=pps&content=pps/submissions. Authors may also contact Ed Diener at [email protected], with abstract-length ideas for papers.

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