What’s New at Psychological Science

Eich_Eric_webOn January 1, Associate Editors Robert Hartsuiker (University of Ghent, Belgium), APS Fellow Keith Holyoak (University of California, Los Angeles), and APS Fellow Valerie Reyna (Cornell University) left Psychological Science (PS) to become editors of the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Psychological Review, and Psychological Science in the Public Interest, respectively. Filling their positions at PS are Marc Buehner (Cardiff University, United Kingdom), Matt Goldrick (Northwestern University), and Leaf Van Boven (University of Colorado). Marc and Matt began their associate editorships on January 1, while Leaf will start on June 1.

On July 1, Psychological Science Associate Editor and APS Fellow Nicholas Epley (University of Chicago) will reunite with Keith to take up a similar position with Psychological Review, and I will step down to become Vice Provost and Associate Vice President Academic at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Associate Editor and APS Fellow Stephen Lindsay (University of Victoria, Canada) will replace me as Interim Editor of Psychological Science, while APS Fellow Colleen Kelley (Florida State University) will assume Steve’s Associate Editorship.

Turning to changes in policies and practices, it’s been more than a year since Psychological Science removed word limits on the Method and Results sections of Research Articles and Research Reports, the journal’s principal platforms. 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.

In the revised Submission Guidelines, which will take effect in May 2015, authors are reminded that Supplemental Online Material: Reviewed (SOM-R) is the preferred location for methodological minutiae and fine-grained details on the results — the sorts of information that only “insiders” would relish and require for purposes of replication. Going forward, authors are advised to take full advantage of SOM-R for this purpose, as it makes for more broadly accessible papers and allows Psychological Science editors to make efficient use of their limited annual allotment of printed pages.

Changes are also coming to Commentaries, the journal’s medium for discussing problems of general interest to psychological scientists or for criticizing or supplementing target articles — that is, papers published in Psychological Science within the past 3 years. The 3-year window is new and is meant to focus discussion on matters of contemporary interest.

Commentaries that report direct replications of target articles should be well powered (80% or higher) and preregistered with respect to their methods, procedures, and analysis plans. The emphasis on power and preregistration is also new and is intended to raise the evidentiary value of direct replications and to clearly distinguish confirmatory from exploratory research. As in the past, manuscripts reporting conceptual replications or extensions of target articles should be submitted to specialty journals, not to Psychological Science.

Upon acceptance of a Commentary that is critical of a paper previously published in Psychological Science, the action editor will invite the authors of the target article to submit a rebuttal commentary that is subject to the same limits noted above. Rebuttal commentaries, like the critical commentaries that initiated them, are subject to external and/or internal review, and thus their acceptance is not assured. However, in cases when both the critical and rebuttal commentaries are accepted, the production office will strive to publish the manuscripts back to back, in that order. Note that these practices and policies have been in place for several years, but have not been clearly articulated until now.

Another change involves revisions to the four-item Disclosure Statement that authors provide upon manuscript submission. The wording of Item 1 (concerning independent variables) has been changed slightly; Items 2 and 3 (concerning dependent variables and data exclusion) are unchanged; and Item 4 (concerning sample size and data-collection stopping rules) has been expanded to include these new instructions:

If sample size was based on past research, include the relevant reference information in your manuscript. If sample size was based on power analysis, include in your manuscript the type of test (independent t test, logistical regression, etc.) and the pertinent parameters: significance level (alpha), effect size (d), and power (1–beta); all tests should be two-tailed.

The final change concerns the Open Materials badge, which is earned for making publicly available the digitally shareable materials/methods necessary to reproduce the reported results. Authors who qualify for an Open Materials badge are encouraged to make publicly available video recordings of their study procedures; in return, a special Visualized Methods notation will be added to the authors’ Open Materials badge. Even with uncapped Method sections in Research Articles and Research Reports, there is only so much authors can convey through words; researchers who want to follow up on someone’s paper might benefit from seeing how things were actually done. Videos of study procedures could also serve as valuable teaching tools for psychology students, undergraduate and graduate alike. œ

Comments

Given the emphasis on quality and the high profile of the journal, I hope Dr. Eich will consider moving to blinded review. There is no reason for PS reviewers to know who wrote the paper they are reading and there is ample evidence (see Peters & Ceci, 1982) that this biases reviewers’ judgments.

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