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Announcement Regarding The Merger of Parts A and B in 2006
Editorial announcement
There will shortly be a change to the way in which The Quarterly Journal of Experimental
Psychology is published. For the first 33 years of its life (beginning in 1948), QJEP was
published as a single volume, with four issues per year. In 1981, the journal was split into two
sections: Section A Human Experimental Psychology; and Section B Comparative and
Physiological Psychology. From January 2006, the two sections will merge together, again
forming a single journal.
The motives for this reconciliation reflect the changing concerns of experimental
psychologists over the past 25 years. A bipartite division of the subject, which served the interests
of authors and readers well in the 1980s, is not necessarily as useful today. With this in mind, the
Experimental Psychology Society has decided that it is time to eliminate a split that has become
rather artificial. In fact, there has already been some significant blurring of the topics covered in
the two sections; Section B regularly contains human experimental work, while Section A has
published several important physiological studies as the use of neuroscientific methods continues
to expand in all areas of psychological research.
In bringing together the two sections of the journal, we are particularly anxious to retain
(and, we hope, to extend) the range of material published in the journal as a whole, and to
bring relevant articles to as broad an audience as possible. Each issue of the new format will
contain a mixture of material previously published in sections A and B. We hope that authors
will appreciate the increase in exposure of their articles, and that the readership will benefit
from the added diversity of topics in each issue.
The new, single section journal will retain the Quarterly title, but will be published
monthly—a mild eccentricity which we hope readers will forgive on the grounds that we now
receive enough high quality submissions to warrant this frequency. In recent years, section A has
been published in eight issues per annum, and section B in four, so subscribers to both sections
will continue to receive twelve issues per year. New editorial boards are already in place, and
have been dealing with submissions since January 2005, under the editors-elect for each section.
These will now merge into a single large editorial board chosen to cover the full range of material
we intend to publish (i.e., at least the union of the current Sections A and B). The two incoming
editors (Mike Burton and Simon Killcross) will be joint editors of the new format for the duration
of their editorial terms. Reflecting this merging of editorial process, all submissions may be made
through a central editorial office (currently housed in the Department of Psychology, University
of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ , UK). Our preferred submission route is to receive manuscripts
in electronic format (PDF) to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
We plan to take advantage of the change in format to introduce a number of other
innovations. The most significant is the introduction of a new category of Short Articles. The
intention is to allow authors to disseminate new findings quickly, and at a relatively early stage in
a research programme. Articles under 4000 words in length (including abstract), and with a limit
of 20 references, will be eligible for fast review, and fast-track publication. The quid pro quo will
be that reviews will be light-touch, and little feedback will be given to rejected manuscripts.
“Light-touch” here refers to the fact that reviewers will be asked to make categorical accept or
reject decisions for manuscripts. Of course, the standard of the articles will have to be at least as
high as those accepted through the normal route. Although we believe that the new category of
Short Article will be attractive both to authors and to readers, we remain committed to the
publication of longer articles, describing more complete programmes of research. Hence, QJEP
will continue to be a home for multi-experiment papers, through which authors can make
significant theoretical advances. We will also maintain two further features that have appeared in
the current Sections A and B: scholarly review articles on focused topics, and occasional special
issues devoted entirely to selected research areas. Ideas for either of these features are always
welcome. Furthermore, we hope that the length of time taken for careful and thorough review of
submitted articles will be offset by the PrEview service, which gives readers access to all articles
in press as soon as possible after acceptance; as ever we will strive to keep publication lags to a
minimum. To accommodate these changes we will not be publishing book reviews in future
QJEP has always been a general journal, covering a wide range of topics. Submissions in
all areas of experimental psychology will continue to be welcome, and our definition of
“experimental” will continue to be broad. We expect to publish articles that employ traditional
experimental methods, as well as studies using, for example, the latest neuroimaging techniques
or computer simulation. The scope of the journal is defined by the psychology it covers, rather
than the methodologies used. We would, however, make one observation. One reason for
publishing research findings in a more general journal, rather than one of the many specialist
journals that now exist, is that the likely readership is so much larger, extending the potential
impact of articles. However, to take full advantage of this, one must consider the impact of a title
on the disinterested reader. We would urge authors to make their titles accessible to the nonspecialist:
not clichéd or punning, but informative beyond the small group of peers who would
read the article wherever it was published.
Journals cannot survive without authors. As incoming editors we aspire to make QJEP
more and more attractive for authors. Authoritative and punctual reviewing contributes to
this aim, as does the PrEview system, and (we intend) the new short-report facility. We hope
that we can also be reactive, and so we issue an invitation to authors: please take part in the
development of the journal by contributing suggestions and comments on its performance.
The incoming editorial board is diverse and enthusiastic, and certainly open to new suggestions.
Finally, we should also comment that our reviewers allow us to maintain the high
standards of the journal. In an age of competing demands, we are extremely grateful to those
who continue to perform this time-consuming duty.