APA is now accepting manuscripts for the Archives of Scientific Psychology, a new journal with open-methods, open-data, and open-access policies that could change
the face of psychological publishing, says co-editor Harris
Cooper, PhD, chair of Duke University’s psychology and
“Anyone in any country anywhere in the world who has
access to the Internet can look for research in this new journal
and find the full report, free of charge,” he says.
While Archives isn’t psychology’s first open-access journal,
it is the first to require authors to contribute their full data set
to a central, restricted-access data repository, says co-editor
Gary VandenBos, PhD, executive director of APA’s Office of
Publications and Databases. This data-sharing setup will allow
other researchers to re-analyze study results, conduct more
thorough meta-analyses and even conduct new data analyses, says
“The data repository will make data more useful and it can
also ... make it more difficult for people to fabricate data or to
misreport what procedures were followed in the data collection
and analysis,” he says.
Researchers will also be required to explain their data
collection and analysis in a template format, making it easier for
reviewers to catch potential problems and helping meta-analysts
put together data from different studies, VandenBos adds.
“It all comes back to increasing the transparency and
comprehensiveness of science reporting,” he says.
The journal, now accepting new manuscripts, is expected to
publish its first articles next year.
Since the journal will be easily accessible to both scientists and
laypeople, the editors have built in several features to make
studies meaningful to both audiences.
For non-scientists, study authors will provide plain-language
summaries of their findings in addition to traditional abstracts.
These summaries will explain the importance of studies in
easily accessible language for the general public and reduce the
likelihood of misinterpretation, Cooper says. Study authors will
also explain their methodology in terms that the average reader
If psychologists or other readers want to learn more about a
study’s methodology, they can read the methodology template,
provided by the study’s authors. The template, based on APA’s
Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS), requires authors
to provide detailed information on every aspect of their data
collection and analysis. For instance, scientists with longitudinal
studies will need to discuss their participants’ attrition rate
throughout the study.
“By using the template format, it will be very easy for
reviewers to see [whether a researcher] hasn’t included some
important piece of information,” VandenBos says.
Psychology professors, for example, might share how their
students reacted to the study, or readers might ask the
researchers questions about their findings. Longer-form
commentary by article reviewers may also be published
alongside the study, says VandenBos.
“We want to give reviewers the opportunity to both praise
the work and point out things the author wasn’t able to
address,” VandenBos says.
Because the journal will not include a print version, the
reviewer commentary, JARS template and other supplemental
material — such as videos of procedures and software programs
used in data analysis — will link to articles. As a result, the
journal should be easy to navigate, whether people read it on
desktop computers or mobile phones, VandenBos says.
A new model for publication
Since the Archives won’t have subscribers to cover publication
costs — which include design and upkeep of the website
and database, coordinating manuscript review and editorial
expenses — it will be funded by article submission fees: $350
to submit a paper for review plus an additional $1,950 if
it is accepted for publication. These costs, says Cooper, are
increasingly being built into grants or covered by institutions,
which then save money on journal subscriptions.
“It’s our expectation that authors won’t be paying the fees
themselves,” says Cooper. “As open-access journals are becoming
more common, we are seeing grant-givers begin to see this as a
While fees may be a downside for authors, the Archives
editors hope that the benefits of publishing in the journal will
more than make up for it. In addition to getting research directly
into the hands of policymakers and the general public, several
studies suggest that articles published in open-access journals
garner more citations than those published in traditional,
subscription-only journals. For instance, one study published in
2010 in PLOS ONE found that articles in open-access journals
were cited more often than articles in traditional journals, even
when accounting for potentially confounding factors.
In general, psychology and other social sciences have been
slower to adopt the open-access model than medicine, biology
and physical sciences, VandenBos says. “In the past, open-access
psychology journals have been very low-prestige, low-impact
publications,” he says.
Cooper believes Archives should help eradicate any remaining
stigma psychologists have against the open-access model.
“Archives will publish only the highest quality research that’s
been vetted through rigorous peer review,” he says. “It’s our hope
that we’ll quickly become a high-impact, open-access journal,
and perhaps one of the highest-impact psychology journals.” n
To submit an article to the Archives of Scientific Psychology, go