Instructions for Authors

Psychological Science in the Public Interest (PSPI) is published three times per year by the Association for Psychological Science. PSPI is a unique journal featuring comprehensive and compelling reviews of issues that are of direct relevance to the general public. These reviews are written by blue-ribbon teams of specialists representing a range of viewpoints and are intended to assess the current state-of-the-science with regard to the topic.

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Selection of Topics

All articles are commissioned by the editors, and PSPI does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. An article is commissioned by the editors only after careful vetting of both the topic and the authors. Topics chosen for commissioning are nominated from many sources, including editorial board members, APS Board of Directors, and members of APS. All members of APS are invited to nominate topics (and names of potential authors). Send nominations to the editor at [email protected].

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Preparation of Manuscripts

The journal uses the American Psychological Association’s format (7th edition) for bibliographic citations. Explanatory material will be presented in endnotes. Superscript numbers, numbered consecutively in the text, are used to refer to endnotes. The first numbered endnote is: 1Address correspondence to. . . .[full name and address of corresponding author]. A corresponding superscript ought to be on the title page (e.g., Melvin Smyth1).

PSPI reports should be about 35 to 45 published pages, if possible. A 35- to 45-page article would consist of roughly 25,000 to 32,000 words; each page, table, or figure counts as 700 words and every 25 references count as 550 words. For example, a manuscript of 20,000 words of text with 3 tables, 3 figures, and 100 references would come to approximately 37 published pages.

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Preparation of Graphics

The following is VERY important: Authors are requested to provide their figures in their native file format (e.g., Excel if they were created in Excel, Word only if they were actually created in Word, and definitely not TIFF or JPEG, except for photographs). This facilitates reformatting the figure labels, etc., without the typesetters having to completely redraw the figures, which can introduce major errors. Any table or figure that has been previously published or has a copyright owner requires a signed permission if it is to be included in the article. Signed permissions are required from the publisher. The signed permissions can be submitted at the revision stage. If the tables and/or figures require no permissions, please note this in a cover letter when the manuscript is submitted.

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Notes on Accepted Manuscripts

Authors are free to disseminate to colleagues and media outlets information about a forthcoming article that they have contributed to PSPI as soon as the manuscript has been accepted and they have completed the Contributor Publishing Agreement form.

Additionally, it is anticipated that media releases may be written for some articles published in PSPI. Such releases generally benefit the field of psychology, and the author as well. Authors who do not want a press release about their article should notify the Editor of this when their manuscript is accepted. Media or press office inquiries should be directed to APS’s Director of News and Information, Scott Sleek, at [email protected].

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. 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.

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 their personal or their departmental Web site(s) or in their departmental or institutional repository(ies) (green open access). One year after publication, authors may make the final, accepted version available in other repositories. 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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Ethical Considerations

Authors reporting research involving human subjects should indicate whether the protocol was approved by an institutional review board or similar committee. Authors reporting medical research involving human subjects (i.e., research designed to understand the causes, development, and effects of diseases and improve preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions) should indicate 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. Authors who are merely describing or meta-analyzing the research reports of others do not need to so indicate.

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 Contributor Agreement form. The Declaration of Conflicting Interests section that appears in every article will state any reported conflicts; if there are no conflicts, the Declaration 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 In particular, authors should reference the following sections:

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

The journals of the Association for Psychological Science follow the code of conduct of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and pursue COPE guidelines when misconduct is suspected or alleged.

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Other Considerations

Manuscripts under review at another journal cannot be simultaneously submitted to PSPI. The article cannot have been published elsewhere, and authors are obligated to inform the Editor of similar articles they have published. If a submission has a history at another journal, the author should submit the reviews and editorial letter when submitting the manuscript, as this information has the potential to accelerate the decision process.

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