Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below, we feature a collection of important, interesting, or frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Personality Science (PS) that we will continually update. This page thus represents a "work in progress". Besides the other sources on this website, the responses to these questions often give more background and thus deeper insights into why certain things are the way they are.
Q: Who owns the journal?
A: The European Association of Personality Psychology (EAPP: www.eapp.org) commissioned the journal and owns it. Thus, PS is the second official journal of the EAPP. The EAPP already enjoys tremendous success with its first official journal, the European Journal of Personality (EJP).
Q: Who publishes the journal?
A: The journal is published within the PsychOpen GOLD Program of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID).
Q: Why was the journal founded? What do you hope to achieve with it?
A: The journal was founded to (1) react to a different publishing landscape, (2) experiment with new formats, (3) incentivize new best practices, and (4) perhaps even serve as a trailblazer for new standards.
First, more and more journals are moving towards online-only publications (or at least prioritize print publications less) and/or adopting open-access options, but to varying degrees and often with so-called article processing charges (APCs). APCs help defray costs of production and guarantee that an article is not hidden behind a paywall. Several journals offer limited amounts of partial or even full waivers on these APCs, and some countries or institutions have certain funds and deals in place to pay for APCs. However, journals neither charging authors nor readers are still relatively rare. These are referred to as no-fee, platinum, or diamond open-access journals. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish if some of these are so-called “predatory journals” or simply publish almost anything they can. With PS, we aim to provide the first online-only and no-fee open-access journal for personality science that is selective in what it publishes.
Second, PS was devised to be a nimbler and more flexible journal that should experiment with novel publishing and article formats. This is usually not possible with “traditional” print journals. The generation and dissemination of science are changing, and to react to any change, an adaptable journal is needed. This also includes the journal’s aspiration to continually improve it and also incorporate readers’, authors’, reviewers’, and editors’ ideas.
Third, we hope to incentivize emerging “best practices” with PS, acknowledging that good, reproducible, and transparent science is hard and may also be “slower science”. For example, the journal emphasizes strongly implementations of transparency and open science; precision, rigor, and formalization; sophisticated data-analytical strategies; and theory-building. In particular, we hope that Registered Reports, replications, and work from consortia or large-scale collaborative networks will find a home in PS.
Fourth, PS is devised to assist the implementation of emerging or next-level standards. For example, providing supplements (data, code, materials, etc.) that are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) is a novel standard implemented in the journal. However, there are additional standards the journal also aims to establish. For example, PS seeks to facilitate a more multi-disciplinary understanding of personality as well as foster more diversity and inclusion in the community of personality-studying scholars.
Q: Why is there a need for another personality-themed journal?
A: There are several journals out there for personality-research, many of them excellent choices with long traditions and high journal impact factors. However, these journals cannot flexibly adapt to changing publishing and best practice landscapes. For example, none of them feature a full diamond open-access model where neither readers nor authors are charged. Further, several of these journals concatenate personality psychology with social psychology and thus are not exclusively interested in personality research. Moreover, these other journals are limited to a psychological readership and are concerned with personality and individual differences mostly from a uniquely psychological perspective. In contrast, PS seeks to be multidisciplinary and is open to any inquiry into personality and individual differences, regardless from which discipline this comes. Lastly, from the personal experience of many members working at PS, there is a need for a journal that advances new standards (e.g., in transparency and openness).
Q: Which niche is the journal supposed to fill? How does it position itself?
A: The journal features short- to medium-length articles that should be of the highest quality in terms of precision, rigor, transparency, and impact. It aims to provide an outlet for any scholar(s) interested in personality and individual differences (in humans, animals, virtual avatars, robots), broadly construed. Thus, multi- and interdisciplinarity is a core concern for the journal. Additionally, the journal aims to foster more diversity and inclusion in the “personality-community”.
Q: How is Personality Science related to the European Journal of Personality, also owned by the EAPP?
A: PS and EJP are sister-journals, both being official journals of the EAPP. EJP is the long-standing, established journal of the EAPP that has built a stellar reputation, employs rigorous transparency and openness standards, and is adorned with a high journal impact factor (in fact, the highest among personality journals without social psychology). It is a traditional print-journal that publishes medium-length and longer papers, including target articles with commentaries and rejoinders. More information on EJP can be found here.
PS focuses on short- to medium-length papers that should be crisp, informative, rigorous, and impactful. It is also a nimbler journal that can flexibly adapt new best practices (e.g., in open, transparent, and reproducible science) or experiment with emerging trends because of its online-only nature. Innovation is baked into the DNA of PS, and so the editorial team will work hard to constantly improve it and take readers’, authors’, and reviewers’ queries, ideas, and wishes into consideration (which can be left here). Further, it employs a diamond open-access model where neither readers nor authors are charged any fees. Lastly, the scientific inquiry into personality and individual differences is not restricted to psychology, but open to all scientific disciplines.
Q: Does the journal generate revenue or make profit?
A: No, nobody is making any money with the journal. In fact, the EAPP and ZPID are both investing money into the journal, without any financial return. This has a benefit: Because the journal does not rely on publishing articles as an income stream, there is no necessity to churn out hundreds of papers per year. Thus, only quality counts.
Q: Why does it matter if PS is making profit or not?
A: It matters at least in two ways. First, the journal is sustainable via the financial efforts of the EAPP and ZPID (using long-term government-funding), but it is not self-sustaining in the sense of profits from the journal via subscriptions or one-time article access payments being reinvested into the journal. This means that PS is not as well-endowed as most other journals, and as such open-source and low-cost solutions need to be sought. This may sometimes be noticeable to authors, reviewers, or editors. However, we have a dedicated and hard-working team that will continuously strive to improve the journal.
Second, the journal does not need to “artificially” accept ever more papers to make more profit. In fact, there is a cap to how many pages can be produced each year with the current resources. Both of these facts mean that articles are judged solely by their intellectual merits and quality.
Q: Is PS an open-access journal? If yes, what form of open-access does it host?
A: Yes, PS is an open-access journal. Neither readers nor authors are charged any fees. This corresponds to a no-fee, platinum, or diamond open-access model.
Q: How can reading and publishing articles in PS be completely free to anyone?
A: ZPID and the EAPP are non-commercial legal entities. Neither ZPID (as the publisher) nor EAPP (as the owner of the journal) make any money with the journal. In fact, the journal continuously costs money without creating any form of revenue or profit. On the side of ZPID, public funding (essentially German taxpayer money) is used. On the side of the EAPP, parts of its savings are re-invested into PS.
Q: Is it possible to donate to, or sponsor certain aspects of, PS?
A: Yes, this is possible (though it is by no means required in any way). Please see details here.
Q: What is the mission and vision of the journal?
A: PS seeks to be the premiere outlet for any insights on personality and individual differences – cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries. While personality is often studied in psychology, it is PS' mission to unify the nascent field of a personality-centered science by bringing together work from different disciplines and perspectives outside of psychology. The journal’s three key goals are related broadly to different forms of expansion: (1) expanding the field beyond psychology, (2) expanding more to the public, and (3) expanding geographic coverage (e.g., of samples, of authors, etc.).
Q: Which core values does the journal pursue?
A: PS commits to the eight core values of (1) diversity and inclusion of contributors; (2) topical breadth; (3) multidisciplinarity; (4) transparency, openness, and fairness in all matters; (5) conceptual clarity and terminological precision; (6) rigorousness of methods and statistics; (7) replicability, robustness, and generalizability of insights; and (8) utility, impact, and broadcasting of robust insights to the public. Details can be found here under “Values”.
Q: Why is the journal called “Personality Science” and does not contain any reference to psychology?
A: This was a deliberate choice to “open up” the study of personality and individual differences to other disciplines beyond psychology. The journal – with is multidisciplinary scope – explicitly seeks contributions from any scientific field that studies personality and individual differences (including of humans, animals, virtual avatars, robots, etc.). Our goal for the journal is to foster and provide a platform for cross-fertilization between different disciplines and thus grow a larger, more diverse and inclusive community of personality scientists. In the beginning, this will constitute a multidisciplinary perspective (i.e., studying personality from the lens of different disciplines, each using their own perspectives and methods). A next step will be to work towards interdisciplinarity where common theories, methods, and insights are developed, cutting across disciplinary boarders. Going even further beyond, transdisciplinarity would be achieved once personality science has emerged as its own field of study, in its own right and as a blend of various disciplines.
Q: Are there journal awards?
A: Yes. However, there is only one so far: the Hogan Best Applied Paper Award (see here). More awards may be added in the future.
Q: I am interested in proposing or even sponsoring an award. How do I get into contact?
A: You should first contact the editor-in-chief (at editors[at]ps.psychopen.eu). If an award is agreed upon, you may also sponsor or donate to it (see here for more information).
Q: Where is the journal indexed?
A: PsychOpen journals, to which PS also belongs, can be (and are) represented in several international scientific databases (e.g., Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed Central, PsycINFO, PubPsych, DOAJ, APA PsychArticles, etc.). PS will be added to different databases on a continuous basis.
Q: What is the general publication process in PS?
A: An overview can be found here.
Q: What kind of papers is the journal looking for?
A: On a general level, we are looking for inspiring or thought-provoking articles that make an impact or have relevance for further theory, methodological advances, or applications. Empirical articles need to be reproducible, discuss how robust findings are, and detail constraints on generality. Theoretical articles need to be precise, logical, and well-organized. All papers should significantly advance our knowledge on personality and individual differences. Such an advancement may consist of either providing novel insights or corroborating past insights so as to provide a stronger fundament to build on.
Q: What does the journal publish?
A: PS seeks to be a home for any kind of insights related to personality and individual differences. It publishes theoretical, methodological, empirical, applied, and comment papers of short- to medium-length on the origins, expressions, structures, dynamics, functioning, development, and consequences of personality (broadly conceived) as well as their definition, operationalization, and assessment.
PS already hosts a variety of paper formats and will continue to experiment with new and exciting ones. Currently, there are five different categories of papers (Theory, Methodology, Empirical, Applied, Comment) and eight special paper types (State of the Art Review, Tutorial, Projects & Data, Insights & Ideas, Cumulative Blitz Report, Registered Report, Replication, Meta-analysis). Detailed information on paper formats can be found here.
Q: Which kinds of paper formats does the journal feature?
A: PS distinguishes between categories and special types of papers. Currently, as can be seen here, there are five different categories (Theory, Methodology, Empirical, Applied, Comment) and eight special types (State of the Art Review, Tutorial, Projects & Data, Insights & Ideas, Cumulative Blitz Report, Registered Report, Replication, Meta-analysis).
Q: Where is the difference between a paper category and type?
A: Each paper published in PS will belong to (at least) one category, but not necessarily a type. Different paper types imply different paper categories (for details, see the summary tables here). In rare instances and at the discretion of the editors of PS, papers may have multiple categories and types (e.g., “Empirical” as category and “Registered Report” + “Replication” as two types).
Q: Does the journal encourage Registered Reports?
Q: Does the journal encourage Replications?
Q: Does the journal publish null findings?
Q: Does the journal publish “messy” findings (that may be hard to press into a coherent narrative, but that have been obtained with sound and rigorous methodology)?
Q: Are there also other paper formats beyond the ones mentioned above?
A: Currently not, but that may change. We want to continually work on the journal, and if a new format is sensible, helps achieve our and the readers’ goals, and/or is widely wished for, we will implement it. Please let us know your wishes, hopes, and thoughts here.
Q: What does the journal NOT regularly publish?
A: PS is relatively open and will continue to experiment with different formats and contents. However, there are currently three kinds of papers that are typically discouraged (see here). First, longer papers (i.e., more than 7,000 words in plain text) are not usually considered and can be submitted to the sister journal, EJP. Second, target articles (i.e., a longer exposition article with usually more than 7,000 words, accompanied by several comments) are a main staple of EJP and can be submitted there, though similar arrangements could also be publishable in PS in rare instances. Third, pure scale development papers or translations of scales as well as highly specialized quantitative methods and psychometrics will usually not be a good fit to PS and thus only considered in select instances.
Q: Should I cite/reference papers published in PS? Does that help with getting published?
A: No, it does not help, and it will neither be monitored by editors nor asked from authors. Papers appearing in PS should only be cited if it is appropriate to do so.
Q: Who can submit papers to the journal?
A: The journal is open to submissions from anybody that has produced a scientific inquiry into any aspect of personality (e.g., of humans, animals, avatars, robots, etc.). This includes scientists at universities or higher education facilities, practitioners, and even laypeople. What counts is the quality of the work and its contribution to the science of personality and individual differences. Submitting to the journal and publishing in it is free of cost, thus reducing barriers to publishing.
Q: Are members of the EAPP treated differently at the journal?
A: No, not in any way. However, the EAPP would be happy if you considered becoming a member! See more information here.
Q: How many volumes and issues are published per year?
A: As PS publishes papers continuously, there are no volumes or issues. As soon as an article is ready (i.e., the final proof has been produced and approved by all parties), it will be published on the website.
Q: How do I stay updated on newly published articles?
A: You can sign up with an email address for updates here.
Q: How many papers per year does PS publish?>
A: This depends on how many articles are submitted, how many of them are publishable, and how long each of them is. PS has an upper limit of final-proof pages which is currently set at 450 pages (though this figure could change in the future). This number of pages could be spliced in any way across the year (e.g., 90 five-page articles; 45 ten-page articles; etc.). Time will tell what the average number of papers per year is, but we currently estimate it will most likely lie between 30 to 50 papers.
Q: Why is there a limited number of pages per year available for PS? This doesn’t make sense because PS is an online-only journal.
A: At PS, there are no fees to publish or read papers. All is "free". But nothing is really free, though. Somewhere, someone needs to pay. In our case, it is the publisher (ZPID) who pays copy-editing, infrastructure, archiving, etc. ZPID is funded by government-issued public money (here: from German taxpayers). Because resources (time, money, person-power, etc.) are finite, PS has a certain number of final-proof pages per year.
Q: Does the final-proof page limit per year have any influences on editorial activities?
A: Yes, in several ways. First, we opted for a short- to middle-range format for articles so that we could accept more papers than when we had only few long papers. This means that more scholars get to publish in PS, which is consistent with our mission to expand the personality community and instill (more) diversity and inclusion.
Second, we installed recommendations for word, reference, table, and figure counts (see the respective tables here) so that we could ensure some control over the length of articles. This also helps the editorial team and ZPID calculate available space in the journal better.
Third, we crucially need to monitor how many papers we are accepting as our yearly final-proof page limit creates a natural threshold. This means that, from the very beginning, we will enforce rigorous standards and only accept top-quality papers. Thus, we anticipate that PS will advance to a prestigious outlet where an acceptance does not come easy and means something.
Q: Why are there so many “recommendations” (or restrictions) for how many words, references, tables, and figures different paper formats can have?
A: Because we want to be able to feature more short- to middle-range articles per year (rather than few long ones) and because we have an upper limit of final-proof pages per year, we opted to restrict the length of individual papers. That will also make it easier and less time-consuming to produce them and thus reduce lag times between acceptance of an article, its production, and its eventual publication on the PS website. As an added but very important bonus, short- to middle-length articles are also better digestible for many readers.
Q: Can I submit a manuscript that exceeds the recommended word, references, tables, and figure recommendations?
A: Technically yes, but we do not recommend that. The word, reference, table, and figure counts will be checked, and submitted manuscripts that do not compellingly justify exceeding the recommended counts will be returned to authors with the invitation to shorten. If reviewers have requested substantial revisions (e.g., additional analyses) that the handling editor and the authors agree with, then additional word, reference, tale, and figure counts may become available at the discreation of the handling editor.
Q: Does PS do desk-rejections (triaging)?
A: Yes. In an effort to conserve the time and efforts of all parties involved (authors, reviewers, editors, journal staff), there are two points at which a paper may be desk-rejected. Initially, the editor-in-chief broadly checks a submission if it is a fit to the journal and can be sent further along to an associate editor. At the next step, the handling associate editor will decide whether to move forward with the paper (i.e., initiate pre-publication peer-review) or desk-reject the paper. In all instances of desk-rejection, authors will be given a reason why the paper has not been sent out for review.
Q: What are reasons for desk-rejections?
A: These may be varied and will depend on the individual submissions at hand. However, following broad reasons, among several more, could lead to a desk-rejection: no good fit to the journal; no relevance or extremely little contribution to the personality science literature; methodological errors (that cannot be fixed); low statistical power; extremely bad writing (to the point where arguments cannot be followed); and unnecessarily antagonistic, demeaning, and destructive language. Further, papers not adhering to the journal guidelines (see here) will also returned back to the authors.
Q: Should papers be written with British English (BE) or American English (AE) spelling?
A: We accept both spellings, but submitted papers should be internally consistent in their usage (i.e., stick consistently to one spelling only and not mix them).
Q: Are there any other language requirements or issues authors must attend to?
A: The writing should be clear, organized, logical, and concise. Language, grammar, and style should have been thoroughly checked (e.g., by a native English speaker or professional language editing service) before submission.
Q: Should guidelines from the 6th or 7th APA Publication Manual be followed?
A: APA 7 should be used.
Q: Should tables and figures be embedded directly into the text?
A: Yes, tables and figures should be embedded into the text and not appended at the end. In initial submissions up until a conditional acceptance, figures can be copy-pasted (in sufficient quality) into the manuscript. However, after a conditional acceptance, the figure files need to be supplied in high-resolution.
Q: The journal requires several statements about openness and transparency. How should these be incorporated into the manuscript?
A: In empirical articles (i.e., articles presenting data), eight sets of statements need to be woven into the text, concerning (1) pre-registration; (2) hypothesis testing; (3) sampling; (4) procedures and materials; (5) data; (6) scripts, code, and syntax; (7) analyses and statistics; and (8) other supplements. To facilitate the detection of these statements in the text, we ask that each of the statements appear in blue color in the manuscript. Although not a set rule, we advise to insert several of these statements directly into a dedicated sub-section on “Transparency, Openness, and Reproducibility” in the Method section. An overview of the necessary statements and potential sections to place them can be found in a table here.
Q: Which journal submission software is used?
A: We are using a free open-source solution, the Open Journal Systems (OJS) of the Public Knowlede Project (PKP). This platform is relatively generic, but can be configured to some extent to fit the needs of individual journals. More information can be found here.
Q: What do I need to check before submitting to PS?
A: You can find a checklist here.
Q: What is an Article Information Form (AIF)?
A: Upon submission of your paper, the system will ask you if you have complied with the checklist provided here. Next, you will have to fill out an Article Information Form (AIF) directly online in the journal submission system. An AIF with exemplary information provided can be found here.
Q: Do submissions have to use an AIF?
A: Yes, completing the online AIF in the journal submission system is mandatory for all submissions. However, some submissions (e.g., comments) will have only few information to provide, while others (e.g., empirical papers) will have more to report.
Q: Why is an AIF needed in the first place?
A: At PS, the AIF serves several purposes. First, it makes the traditional cover letter obsolete because all information needed is gathered in one place. Second, it provides more standardization of information across submissions which is important for a fair treatment of each submission. Third, several questions in the AIF are modeled after a consensus-based transparency checklist, geared towards gathering information on openness and transparency implementations. Several questions in the AIF have to be answered, but some only become available once certain responses have been given. This makes it easier for journal staff and editors to evaluate to what extent papers have, for example, followed openness and transparency guidelines, among other things. Compliance with journal guidelines will be checked and enforced.
Q: Do I have to submit a cover letter with my paper?
A: No, not in the initial submission. However, if you are resubmitting a revision, you must include a response letter to the comments of the reviewers and handling editor.
Q: Are paper templates used in PS for submissions?
A: Papers submitted to PS should use the official paper template that can be downloaded here. Only submissions using the supplied template will be further processed in the system.
Q: Are PS paper templates mandatory?
Q: The official PS Paper Template seems to be only available in a MS Word document format (.docx). Are other formats supported or planned?
A: Currently not.
Q: What information needs to be provided in the official PS Paper Template?
A: The paper template asks for a paper title, running head, and version date; whether a submission is "fresh" (i.e., first submission) or a resubmission (i.e., after a review round); what the paper category and type (if applicable) is; whether the paper was invited or not; whether the paper should be considered as part of a collection (i.e., a Theme Bundle or a Controversy Exchange); the optional (!) listing of authors on the paper (if the authors would like to reveal their identities); an English abstract (max. 150 words) and max. 8 keywords; an optional abstract with keywords in another language (if wished); a bulleted list of 3-5 key insights from the paper (max. 10 words per point); a relevance statement (max. 250 characters, including spaces); an optional plain language statement (500-750 words); and any URLs to different kinds of supplements (if applicable). After providing this information, the manuscript can be copy-pasted into the template. Tables and figures should be directly embedded into the text instead of being appended at the end.
Q: Why are paper templates used in PS?
A: This way all necessary information can be gathered in an easy and standardized way in one place. Further, the PsychOpen team of the publisher (ZPID) will have an easier time extracting all necessary information to generate the final proofs of accepted papers. This will result in a faster production of the paper.
Q: Are there also other templates that need to be used?
A: Yes, but these are only made available when a submission has been conditionally accepted. Once a paper has been conditionally accepted, the editorial decision letter will contain further information on how to compile all relevant information and files. This includes completing three additional template forms: (1) Contributorships (providing details on all authors, their order, and contributorship roles); (2) Statements (on funding, competing interests, other manuscript versions, ethics, acknowledgements, other notes); and (3) Supplements & Badges. These forms all need to be filled out fully and correctly to garner a full acceptance.
Q: What happens after a conditional acceptance?
A: If a paper has been conditionally accepted, then one zip-file containing everything should be submitted to the system. This zip-file should contain (1) the updated, final version of the manuscript; (2) fully completed Contributorship, Statements, and Supplements & Badges template forms; (3) all supplements files; and (4) any high-resolution images (if figures are included in the paper). Importantly, this zip-file will be the basis for the final acceptance of the submission.
Q: So much has to be considered when submitting to PS, it feels a bit cumbersome, and many things seem to be handled differently than at other (personality psychology) journals. Why is that?
A: We have already tried to make the publication process as transparent and structured as possible, but we will continuously work on improving it for all parties involved. The current procedures represent a necessary trade-off. The journal templates, forms, and AIF are all geared towards establishing a common and standardized framework that allows easy access to essential information. This is also important for the publisher ZPID (which is not a commercial one) so that they can produce accepted papers more easily and faster with the limited resources at hand.
Q: Is pre-registered work treated differently?
A: No, pre-registered research and also Registered Reports will be held to the same quality standards as other research. A pre-registration does not necessarily imply higher quality (e.g., one could also pre-register false or nonsensical information and plans), but it makes it easier to spot and reduce degrees of freedom and other related issues. Further, it may increase trust and transparency, and the latter may make quality control in fact easier.
Q: Are manuscripts peer-reviewed? What are the policies?
A: Yes, each paper is usually peer-reviewed before publication by at least two external reviewers (pre-publication peer-review). In the future, we will also offer post-publication peer-review. More information can be found here. If our system, choices, and processes do not work for our journal and/or empirical evidence amounts that they provide disadvantages to certain groups of people or quality of papers, we reserve the right to change policies later on.
Q: What kind of instructions do peer-reviewers get from PS?
A: General information can be found here. Apart from that, we instruct reviewers to (a) be critical but constructive, solution-oriented, fair, and polite as well as (b) provide crisp, to the point, well-structured, and coherent reviews to authors.
Q: If reviewers have questions, how can they get in contact with journal staff or the handling editor?
A: While email communication is an option, we encourage using a special feature in the OJS system titled “Discussion”. A reviewer can post an inquiry or include additional information there, and journal staff and/or handling editors can respond. This way a direct dialog can be created between reviewers and the journal.
Q: Will there also be post-publication peer-review?
A: Currently not yet, but we are planning on how to best implement this.
Q: Is streamlined reviewing available when a manuscript has been rejected elsewhere?
A: Yes, we offer this service. If a streamlined review is wished, then authors need to indicate so in the AIF and also provide the editorial decision letter, reviewer comments, and author responses regarding the previous version of the paper. The handling editor will decide whether or not streamlining will be granted. The paper could also be desk-rejected or sent out for a regular round of review. If streamlining is granted, then either one external reviewer is sought (who will be instructed to only check certain aspects and work fast) or the handling editor will make a decision (e.g., some revisions or accept).
Q: Are authors anonymous? Do reviewers know their identities?
A: For now, the default mode in the journal submission system is “double-anonymous”, but the journal is not committed to such a procedure. We believe in choice and transparency, and as such it is up to both the authors and reviewers to identify themselves or not. This means that some authors may opt to identify themselves (i.e., by inserting the author names into the official PS Paper Template), while others will not.
Q: Are peer-reviews anonymous?
A: For now, the default mode in the journal submission system is “double-anonymous”, but the journal is not committed to such a procedure. We believe in choice and transparency, and as such it is up to both the authors and reviewers to identify themselves or not. This means that some reviewers may include their names in their review or not.
Q: Can (or should) peer-reviewers sign their reviews? Do authors know the reviewers’ identities?
A: As a default, authors are not made aware of the reviewers’ identities. However, in line with the journal’s policy to enable choice and transparency, reviewers may identify themselves in a review round (i.e., they will be asked if they want to disclose their name or not). Notably, such a disclosing will only be visible to the authors; whether a reviewer’s name should also be indicated on the published paper is a different and independent question.
Q: Are reviewers’ names indicated on published papers?
A: Published papers indicate, for reasons of transparency, the number of pre-publication review rounds and reviewers. Reviewers are asked in each review round whether or not they want their name indicated on the paper. If they decline in each round, then their names will not be published. This choice is independent of whether a reviewer identifies themselves to the authors in the review process.
Q: Are reviewers’ reviews published?
A: The reviews of pre-publication peer-reviewers are not published as a default. However, in line with our policies on choice and transparency, reviewers can indicate in each review round whether or not they want the particular review they are submitting published alongside the paper (if it is accepted in the end). The authors also indicate in a Supplements & Badges Template form whether they wish for any pre-publication peer-reviews to be published as supplements to the paper in PsychArchives. If both parties agree to the publication, then the review is published as a supplement. Notably, the reviewer’s identity will only be disclosed on their review if the reviewer also agreed to have their name indicated; if not, no name will be given.
Q: If reviewers’ reviews are published, are their identities also disclosed?
A: Reviewers can choose between not having their review published, having it published with their name, and having it published without their name.
Q: Which choices do reviewers have?
A: Reviewers can make several choices in in each review round. These choices are independent of each other, and a reviewer may make different choices in each review round. Specifically, reviewers can choose to (1) disclose their name to the authors in the confidential review process, (2) have their name indicated on the published paper (if accepted), and/or (3) have their review published alongside the paper (if accepted) as a supplement (though the authors need to agree to this also), with or without their name attached to the review. Although these may seem many choices to make, they ensure that reviewers have all choices possible, may receive appropriate credit for their work, and can instill more transparency. The journal does not express any preferences, and the choices are solely up to the reviewers.
Q: Where are pre-publication reviews published?
A: If both reviewers and authors agreed to the publication of the reviews, then they will be made available as supplements to the accepted paper on PsychArchives. Editorial staff members collect all information from reviewers from the journal submission system, compile reviews, and send them on to ZPID's PsychOpen staff. The latter then uploads the reviews to PsychArchives and links to them in the paper while copy-editing and type-setting.
Q: Are pre-publication reviews copy-edited and type-set?
A: No. They will be made available “as they were” during the review process (simple copy-paste into one document).
Q: Will all agreed pre-publication reviews be inserted into one document if they should be made openly available?
A: Currently yes.
Q: How are reviewers’ efforts credited or valued?
A: We value reviewers’ time, energy, and effort very much. They are the backbone of our quality control. One way to honor their contributions is to give them the option to identify themselves to authors and readers as well as have their reviews published (with or without disclosing their identities). However, we realize that this only applies to reviews of accepted papers. We will continually work on measures to show appreciation for our reviewers and honor them. In this regard, we of course always welcome suggestions and feedback (see here).
Q: Can reviewing for PS be acknowledged on Publons?
A: We currently do not have a deal with Publons, so reviews or their confirmation are not automatically transferred to a Publons profile. However, reviewers may of course individually have their reviews acknowledged there if they wish to do this.
Q: Are peer-reviewers paid?
A: No, they are not. We appreciate the hard work reviewers put into their reviews, and they represent an important pillar of our quality control. However, we simply do not have the funds to pay them for their time and efforts (even if we wanted to). But we also do not monetize authors’ articles or make profit off the journal, so there are no funds to be reinvested. Indeed, the journal runs entirely on public and association funding from the ZPID and EAPP and, as such, constantly incurs costs.
Q: How long does the pre-publication peer-review process take?
A: This depends on a host of factors (for which we do not have any hard data yet), such as how fast potential reviewers can be identified, how fast they accept invitations, and how fast they provide their reviews. Typically, reviewers have one week to accept or decline a reviewer invitation. If accepted, then reviewers usually have three weeks to complete their review. Reminders are also sent automatically by the system. Currently, the journal is too young to have any empirical data on average response times. However, with time, we will publish relevant numbers here.
Q: How much time do reviewers have to provide their review?
A: The system default is set to allow for one week to accept or decline a review and allow three weeks to submit a review. However, there are several valid circumstances why a reviewer may decline, accept, or submit a review later than an intended deadline. The handling editors will closely monitor the timelines of their papers and do their best to ensure a swift but thorough review process. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that sometimes competent and willing reviewers are hard to find, and they themselves have many obligations.
Q: How many rounds of reviews are intended?
A: Handling editors are encouraged to use, as much as possible, only one or two rounds of reviews and, if further revisions are required, work directly with the authors. Nonetheless, certain circumstances (e.g., unusually complex or rare analyses, major overhaul of a paper, additional data included, etc.) may make it necessary to (re-)consult reviewers or even request new ones in revision rounds. That notwithstanding, PS will generally seek to provide a fast and lean process with useful feedback on submissions.
Q: Which types of editorial decisions are possible on papers?
A: We currently distinguish beween: Reject (no resubmission encouraged), Reject (resubmission as a completely new manuscript encouraged), Major Revision, Moderate Revision, Minor Revision, Conditional Acceptance, Full Acceptance.
Q: Where can I find (annual) statistics on the journal (e.g., number of papers submitted, number of decision types made, etc.)?
A: These will be published on the PS website here and occasionally also referenced in roundmails (subscribe here).
Q: What are supplements?
A: Empirical articles to be published in PS need to make supplements openly available. These will usually be, among others, materials (e.g., stimuli, questionnaires, tests, etc.); codebooks; analysis scripts, code, or syntax; data (raw and/or processed); additional analyses (e.g., tables, figures); and any other files that would help independently reproduce and replicate the findings reported in the paper. However, they can also be preprints (or previous versions of the paper) and/or pre-registrations.
Q: Are supplements reviewed in PS?
A: Reviewers are asked to also examine the supplements and consider them in their reviews.
Q: How are supplements handled in PS?
A: Upon submitting an empirical article, URLs should be provided in the official PS Paper Template, linking to all relevant supplements in an open online repository. Notably, any repository can be used at this point. Should the paper be conditionally accepted, then authors must submit all supplements files to the journal (in one zip-folder, along with some other documents). The supplements will then be uploaded by ZPID’s PsychOpen staff to PsychArchives, the official repository of PS. The newly generated links and DOIs will then be inserted in the proof of the paper by copy-editors. The original files at the other repository can remain as they are; the files uploaded to PsychArchives will usually carry a CC-BY 4.0 license.
Q: Do supplements have to be stored in PsychArchives?
Q: Do I have to upload supplements to PsychArchives myself?
A: Currently no. Supplements will be uploaded by ZPID’s PsychOpen staff for you after you have supplied all relevant files (which are cataloged in a Supplements & Badges template form that you will receive with an editorial decision letter). However, in the future, self-uploading to PsychArchives will be available and gradually become mandatory.
Q: Is PS partnering with an openly available and free online repository?
A: Yes, PsychArchives.
Q: What is PsychArchives?
A: PsychArchives is a product of ZPID (Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information), which is an Open Science Institute for psychological research (founded in 1971), funded by the German federal and state governments. PsychArchives provides an online repository for preserving a variety of digital research objects (DROs), with different publication types (preprints, primary, and secondary publications), research data, tests, pre-registrations, multimedia, and code. It provides easy and free access to DROs according to the FAIR principles, which implies the commitment to ensure that research and research data are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable.
Q: What are the benefits of using PsychArchives (and not a different service)?
A: PsychArchives offers five core benefits. First, being government-funded for the long-term, it is not vulnerable to commercial risks and can thus guarantee the permanent and unaltered availability of files. Second, files can obtain a persistent identifier (DOI). Third, PsychArchives files are enriched with comprehensive metadata which increases their discoverability and reusability. Fourth, PsychArchives employs strict user guidelines and can thus ensure consistent and rigorous quality standards across the board. Fifth, PsychArchives is integrated into the wider spectrum of research and publication tools offered by ZPID.
Q: How long does it take to produce an article and have it published on the journal website?
A: The exact time depends on several factors (e.g., length and complexity of the final article, to what extent authors upheld formatting standards, responsiveness of authors to copy-editing queries, total amount of papers to be produced in any given week or month, etc.). Perhaps a good estimate is that most articles may be published on the website 3 to 6 months after acceptance. However, with time, we will publish relevant numbers here.
Q: The lag time between acceptance and online publication seems pretty long to me. Why is it so long?
A: This journal is not published by a large corporate publisher that operates commercially. ZPID is a non-profit organization that relies on German public funding. It takes care of all publishing, archiving, and dissemination steps (just like a commercial publisher would), but there is a limited amount of staff and time available. Further, ZPID also hosts other open-access journal that it needs to attend to. Thus, there will be some lag time.
Q: Is there anything that can be done to shorten the lag time between acceptance and publication?
A: Yes. Please try to adhere closely to the standards, guidelines, and recommendations set forth by the journal (see here, here, here, and here). Failure to meet these guidelines may not only result in papers being sent back to authors, but can also significantly delay the production stages of already accepted papers.
Q: My paper has been accepted (yay!), but I am a bit worried about the lag time until it is published on the journal website. What can I do in between?
A: You can of course already disseminate your paper as much and as far as you like (e.g., via email, online social media, etc.). In fact, we recommend uploading the accepted version of the paper to public and trusted repositories, such as PsychArchives. Please note that it is perfectly fine to do this because the article is published under a CC-BY 4.0 license.
Q: Articles and supplements are published in PS under a CC-BY 4.0 license. What does that mean?
A: A CC-BY 4.0 license means that authors retain ownership of the copyright for their article and supplements, but they grant others permission to use the content of publications in PS in whole or in part – but only provided that the original work is properly cited (including authors' names, PS as the initial source of publication, year of publication, and DOI) and any changes made indicated.
Q: Wait a minute … Even after publishing my article in PS, I am still the copyright owner? This means I could “re-publish” my article elsewhere?
A: Yes. Authors may publish the contents of their manuscript in any other journal or medium (e.g., a blog post, handbook chapter, etc.), but any such subsequent publication must include a notice that the manuscript was initially published by PS. Authors grant PS the right of first publication, but this does not preclude any subsequent publications in any other formats (regardless of any changes made to the initial content). However, other publication outlets and publishers may not allow for such a repurposing, and they should not override the original CC-BY 4.0 license.
Q: What does “granting PS the right of first publication” really mean?
A: Although authors remain the copyright owner, they grant the journal the irrevocable, non-exclusive rights to publish, reproduce, publicly distribute and display, and transmit their article or portions thereof in any manner. Notably, authors of the paper and other third-party redistributors may do the same – but only if they properly give credit to the original PS publication (citing authors' names, PS as the initial source of publication, year of publication, and DOI).
Q: Several empirical articles will contain supplements (e.g., materials, data, code, etc.) that are published with the article. What kind of license do these have?
A: If no other provisions have been made, all supplements will also be published under a CC-BY 4.0 license. We may be able to offer different licensing options with supplements submitted to PsychArchives in the future, but for now CC-BY 4.0 is the default.
Q: If the supplements (e.g., materials, data, code, etc.) are published under a CC-BY 4.0 license, what does that mean for them?
A: Basically, the situation is the same as for the articles: Authors retain ownership of their supplements, they grant PS (and PsychArchives) the right to publish them first, and any redistributors (e.g., the authors, third parties) need to properly cite the supplements when they use them (citing authors' names, PS as the initial source of publication, year of publication, and DOI).
Q: Wait a minute … Does this mean I am giving my precious data away when publishing it as a supplement under a CC-B 4.0 license?
A: This depends on what you mean by “giving it away”. There are several issues to consider.
First, for empirical articles, PS has the policy that data to reproduce the findings must be openly accessible or made available easily (see here). However, not all data are created equally. Public data can often not be directly shared, and then authors simply explain how that data could be obtained. Further, some own data may not be shared for legal, ethical, or moral reasons, and in such cases this is openly stated in the paper. Papers can be published without the data, but compelling justifications need to be given. If data cannot be shared, PS still expects that any code, syntax, or scripts may be shared. Further, authors may also upload “mock data” that mimic the actual data so that the code, syntax, or scripts can be run on something.
Second, it is important to reproduce the findings of the article. If one has a complex data set, but only uses a fraction of its data, then not the entire data set, but only the fraction needs to be made available. For transparency, the article should state where the fraction comes from and what else there is in the main data set; but only the fraction data need to be shared.
Third, in a certain sense, others can of course use the data and would not even need to include the authors in a publication to do so (whether this would actually occur is a different question). However, they would definitely be obliged to cite the source of the data (citing authors' names, PS as the initial source of publication, year of publication, and DOI). Thus, the authors do get credit for their data.
Q: How is openness and transparency generally handled in PS?
A: Information on the standards, guidelines, and measures implemented in PS can be found here.
Q: How are the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines implemented in PS?
A: PS takes good, transparent, reproducible, and open science very seriously. Thus, all published papers will have underwent screening regarding to what extent they have fulfilled Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines. The TOP Guidelines outline eight modular standards that can be implemented at three different tiers (with Tier 1 being the least, and Tier 3 the most rigorous option). PS is committed to following Tiers 2 and 3 of the TOP modules. More information can be found in here, especially in the table and under “Implementation Guidelines for Authors”.
Q: Do submissions need to meet the TOP standards?
A: Yes. Papers that do not meet the standards cannot be published in PS.
Q: Does the journal use Open Science badges?
A: Yes, Open Science badges will be indicated on the final proofs.
Q: How is badge eligibility determined?
A: Upon a conditional acceptance, authors receive a Supplements & Badges template form in the decision letter. Authors need to complete all questions and state for which badges they are applying. Journal staff will next check if all assumptions are actually met, and then badges can be granted.
Q: What is indicated on the published papers?
A: In the interest of openness and transparency, each published paper in PS contains several pieces of information (an overview can be found here under "Openness and Transparency on Published Papers").
Q: How were associate editors selected?
A: Associate editors were based on (a) geographical representation of major world regions (see the map under "Associate Editors" here); (b) gender parity (i.e., 50% women); (c) variation in academic age and status (i.e., mix of early-, middle-, and late-career researchers); and (d) diversity in fields of expertise to cover a wide array of topics.
Q: Are there any statistics on diversity and inclusion?
A: These can be found here and will be updated continually as more data come in.
Q: The statistics show that diversity and inclusiveness aren’t quite achieved yet. What gives?
A: We agree, and that is why we will continually work on improving our diversity and inclusiveness.
Q: How will diversity in general be pursued?
A: We plan to foster diversity by three interrelated expansions that set our journal apart from more traditional and narrower top-tier personality journals: Expansion of the field, expansion to the public, and expansions in geography. First, the journal is multidisciplinary in scope and also actively seeks out contributions from fields of science other than psychology (e.g., genetics, anthropology, sociology, computer science, economics, educational science, medicine, political science, etc.). Second, the journal welcomes papers that concern how personality science can inform, and be informed by, societal and geo-political issues, public interest, policy, and applied practice. Third, the journal aims to foster regional diversity and inclusion by a diverse editorial team, special invited topics, and public outreach initiatives.
Q: Where can I get the latest information on PS?
A: You can subscribe to newsletters and roundmails here. Further, announcements can also be found here.
Q: I have a question, issue, concern, feedback, idea, or wish. How can I tell you?
A: We always like to hear from you, so there are multiple ways. To leave feedback (see here), please let us know how we are doing and how we can further improve. If you have an inquiry, you can contact editors[at]ps.psychopen.eu.