I am both honored and privileged to take the helm as Editor-in-Chief of Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, and to do so with an outstanding team of Associate Editors. Moreover, I am incredibly fortunate to be taking over at a time of great strength for the journal thanks to the tireless efforts of Jeremy Wolfe and his team who preceded us. The journal has been on a terrific path for some time now and we will continue to build on the already solid foundation that we have been afforded.
Reaching a broader audience: The aim of AP&P is always going to be to report top notch experimental work relating to attention, perception, and psychophysics (hence the journal name!). The current research landscape, however, is shifting, with interdisciplinary research becoming more common and basic cognitive and perceptual processes becoming an integral focus of investigations in other disciplines. Attention and perception in particular are ubiquitous in many other fields of research as evidenced by the growing number of submissions to the journal that may have been considered too far afield in the past. We will continue to embrace and expand upon this trend through targeted special issues and by encouraging submissions from fields outside of psychology. Similarly, neuroscience research has been surprisingly underrepresented in the journal despite a massive influx in investigations of this type. We would like to be a destination for cutting edge research that employs neuroscience techniques. To that end, I have established an editorial board consisting of individuals with diverse backgrounds and training experiences so as to ensure that we can properly evaluate work of all types. So long as the research enhances our understanding of these cognitive and perceptual processes, we are interested in publishing it.
Expediting and clarifying the review process: Given the accelerated pace at which science moves in the present day, it is only right that the review cycle reflects this. The last few years at AP&P has seen a decrease in both the time taken to review/act on an article and the lag from acceptance to publication. We will continue this forward trajectory in a number of ways. First, the editorial board consists primarily of early career Associate Professors who are accustomed to the current speed of things because this is the system we grew with. As such, we are committed to treating authors in the same way that we ourselves wish to be treated. We will provide you with clear and expedited feedback without compromising the quality of the review cycle. This means that we may act with fewer reviews if the ones we have are clear and consistent. We will not hesitate to reject a manuscript without review if an initial assessment leads to the conclusion it is unlikely to be published. We will always provide clear and extensive feedback as to what factors influenced our decisions and how they can be addressed going forward. Above all else, we never want an author to feel as though we have wasted their time.
Accessibility: AP&P is a journal that covers a lot of ground in terms of topic areas and that will only increase as our readership broadens. As such, it is important that the journal remains accessible to our audience, who should be able to extract the key points from any article both quickly and easily. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. We will openly encourage authors to consider different article formats if it is likely to be beneficial to both their work and our readership (e.g. changing a Research Article to a Brief Report if the same information can be conveyed in a more concise manner; changing a Brief Report to a Research article if additional explanation or experimentation is required). We will encourage authors to exchange tradition for clarity whenever necessary. Results sections in manuscripts are routinely difficult to parse because authors follow the tried and true method of laundry listing their statistics. Making things more difficult is the wealth of statistical approaches now available. We will encourage authors to adopt creative reporting formats, bringing critical results and what they mean to the forefront while providing the statistics in tabular or appendix form if this will benefit the manuscript. Moreover, we will make subtle changes to both the organizational structure of the journal itself, as well as the Table of Contents email that many of you receive.
Of course the only way to determine whether these types of changes are beneficial to our authors and our readers is to hear directly from you. We are always open suggestions, feedback, and all other inquiries. Want to nominate yourself or someone else to put together a tutorial review? Have a question about something that is unclear or a suggestion of how to make something better? Want to just let us know things that you like and/or dislike? Feel free to email me at any time. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael D. Dodd