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This journal will see a number of changes in 2009. The term of the current editorial board will have ended and I am more than happy that Peter Frensch asked me to succeed him as the editor-in-chief. The journal is in a marvelous shape and I think I can speak for all readers and authors when I thank the editorial board (Michel Denis, Peter Frensch, Herbert Heuer, and Carlo Umiltà), the editorial advisory board, and the countless excellent ad-hoc reviewers for a wonderful job. I am particularly enthusiastic that I was asked because for me this is not just any journal but my first love—journal-wise. Here I published my first scientific article ever and the four that followed in 1993–1994, and I think they were all edited by Herbert Heuer and co-reviewed by Carlo Umiltà (who vigorously “complained” about this accumulation when we first met at the ESCOP meeting in Elsinore). What I learned to like about the journal in particular was, in my view, the very attractive balance between a decidedly international approach in terms of quality and targeted author- and readership (taken decades before other journals of German origin) on the one hand and the cultivation of a kind of “European style” with respect to theoretical perspectives and topics on the other.
If a journal runs as well as Psychological Research does there is no pressing need for hectic changes. And yet, a change in editorship is always a good opportunity to reconsider a journal’s main goals, to renew and rejuvenate the advisory board, to think of new topics or formats and other ways to better serve authors and readers. These considerations resulted in a number of changes to further improve and promote what is essential for a modern journal: quality, speed, and novelty.
Maintaining the highest quality standards requires an excellent editorial board and I am glad that we could recruit top scientists for all the four areas the journal explicitly targets (perception, attention, memory, and action): Akira Miyake and Jane Raymond are welcome as new members of the board, and Herbert Heuer and Carlo Umiltà could be convinced to stay for two more years, so as to guarantee the smooth transition that is typical for this journal. You will also see that the editorial advisory board has been renewed and greatly improved with regard to number and expertise covered.
Speed is essential for both authors and readers, and several measures were taken to improve on that. First, thanks to great efforts from our publisher and the editorial staff, the journal is now using an electronic editorial system (please submit from now on at http://www.editorialmanager.com/prpf/default.asp), which speeds up numerous phases of the editorial process and provides authors and editors with a lot of information that makes the process more transparent and traceable. Second, you will have noticed for a while already that publication lags are effectively shortened by making articles available online very soon after acceptance (online first). Given that they have DOI numbers these online versions can be cited as published already. Third, you may have noticed that the publisher allows for the open access publication of articles under particular conditions. This dramatically increases the availability of papers and is therefore likely to amplify their impact.
Novelty is of course key to any journal and Psychological Research would never have been successful if it would not publish novel findings. And yet, true innovation requires more than findings that are novel and it is innovation we would like to promote. Easier said than done, I know, but we thought of several measures to increase the number of articles in the journal that are truly exciting. First, we will follow the tradition since Eckart Scheerer’s editorship to publish thematic issues, and we will try to stimulate topics that are hot, controversial, and/or particularly promising for the future of our discipline.
Second, we will try to revive the strong interdisciplinary tradition of the journal, which was dominant in the first 10 years of the Psychologische Forschung (Scheerer 1988), which after all was founded as a Journal of Psychology and its Associated Disciplines, but is no longer very visible. The recent years have seen dissolving borders between psychological subdisciplines (e.g., biopsychology, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology) and between psychology and related disciplines, especially the neurosciences, and it is fair to say that some of the major innovations have resulted from bringing these disciplines and subdisciplines into closer contact. Accordingly, the journal will be particularly open for cross-(sub) disciplinary approaches including those using techniques from the cognitive neurosciences.
Third, we are considering a number of new formats that are likely to propagate innovation. One is the Brief Review. In times of informational overload there is an increasing need for papers that pinpoint the state-of-the-art in a particular area. Such papers need not always consider the complete history of a particular topic or effect if they only capture the main lines of reasoning and the major theoretical implications; the shorter the better. Another possible format is the Forgotten Gem. There are many important papers in our discipline and even though it is a shame we did not, and may never manage to read all of them. What would therefore serve the readership best would be those articles that target papers of utmost historical importance and explain what these papers say and what implications they have for ongoing or future research. Particularly interesting targets would be papers that are unknown to the wider public, difficult to find, or not available in English. I am aware of the fact that there may not be many authors who are able or willing to write these articles, but I would like to encourage everyone interested to contribute.
As you can see, the editorial board is enthusiastic about making the journal even better and more attractive. I am grateful to our loyal readership and the authors who consider the journal suitable as an outlet of their work, and would appreciate any suggestions as to how our services can be further improved.
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