Journals in Psychology

Journals in psychology, although most of them are not yet Open Access (optimistically speaking) as previous posts have indicated, function as working memory of scientific findings. They usually follow the idea of collecting and saving and commonly sharing findings that have been investigated qualitatively and quantitatively in the world and transmitting them worldwide and onto following generations. Although the idea of free access to most of the journals has not been fulfilled, journals nevertheless guide us through the quickly growing field of research. In order not to get too confused and overwhelmed by the mass of journals nowadays, this post intends to structure the journal world starting historically from the first and only journal in psychology established at the end of the 19th century.

The birth of the first psychological journal

The German professor Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) has been considered as one of the founders of psychology as a science in the way we look at it today. Wundt mounted a campaign to make psychology an independent discipline.  In 1879, he succeeded in establishing the first formal laboratory for psychological research at university of Leipzig.

While forming psychology into a scientific discipline that could compete and educate in the same manner such as the more traditional disciplines like medicine and mathematics, Wundt established the first journal publishing research on psychology. This journal contained the first experimental findings of psychological experiments and subjects in order to share it with later generations.

This stepstone in psychological history has been set in 1789 and still has its enormous impact on the way we see psychology as a science today.

G. Stanley Hall (1846-1924) briefly studied with Wundt.  Then towards the end of the 19th century, Hall reeled off a series of “firsts” for American psychology.  He established America’s first research laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in 1883.  In 1887, he launched America’s first psychology journal.  Hall was the driving force behind the establishment of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1892.  He was also elected the first president of the APA.  The organization was set up by him and 26 others.  Today, there are over 155,000 members and affiliates devoted to the advancement of psychology.

An overview of the variety of psychological journals today

After the first scientific journal of psychology has been established, psychology started to spread over the world leading to a large increase in academic publications annually. Thus, throughout the course of 130 years, the below stated areas of journals have been established to collect and share scientific evidence (the synthesis does not contain all journals that exist in psychology at present).

Area Number of journals in that field
Assessment&Evaluation 52
Child Abuse 32
Child Behavior 48
Clinical & Counselling Psychology 35
Cognition 41
Cognitive Psychology 19
Community & Environmental Psychology 77
Cross Cultural Psychology 152
Depression 14
Developmental Psychology 235
Drug Abuse 51
Educational Psychology 90
Experimental Psychology 88
Family Therapy 42
Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine 253
Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology 8
Industrial and Organizational Psychology 32
Intelligence Testing 7
Psychotherapy 179
Rehabilitation 140
Schizophrenia 13
Social Psychology 12
Psychology and Law 53
Psycholinguistics 22
Miscellaneous 302
Neuropsychology 110
Parapsychology 8
Personality Psychology 62
Psychopharmacology 61
Political Psychology 80
Psychoanalysis 101

Methods of reviewing process: Peer-reviewed

Many scholarly journals use a process of peer review prior to publishing an article, whereby other scholars in the author’s field or specialty critically assess a draft of the article. Peer-reviewed journals (also called refereed journals) are scholarly journals that only publish articles that have passed through this review process. The review process helps ensure that the published articles reflect solid scholarship in their fields.

The Journal of European Psychology Students and its review process reflects a good example of a peer- reviewed journal.

Scholarly journals contain articles written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline. The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report original research or experimentation and to communicate this information to the rest of the scholarly world. The language of scholarly journals reflects the discipline covered, as it assumes some knowledge or background on the part of the reader. Scholarly journals always rigorously cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. Many scholarly journals are published by professional organizations.

While not all scholarly journals go through the peer-review process, it is usually safe to assume that a peer-reviewed journal is also scholarly.

As you have learned from this post, the world of academic psychology is enormous and if you succeed in publishing your research, you will contribute to the active working memory of psychological science.

If you decide to take your first step in the world of psychology journals, start with JEPS, your Journal of European Psychology Students. Our review process is twofold – on one side, the typical scholarly referring describe above. On the other, we try to make it an educational experience for budding future scientists, so you would learn the nooks and crannies of publishing your own paper in the best way possibly – by doing it.

References

Interesting links:

Each of the above stated journals reveals a link when scrolling over it.

http://journalseek.net/psyc.htm

 

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As being part of EFPSA’s JEPS team, Sina Scherer works as JEPS Bulletin’s editor and is currently enrolled in the last year of her Master programme in Work and Organizational Psychology at the Westfälische Wilhelmsuniversität Münster. Her fields of interest cover the areas of Intercultural Psychology, Personality and Organizational Psychology such as Health Psychology.

Sina Scherer

Sina Scherer

Sina Scherer, studying at University of Münster, Germany, and University of Padova, Italy. I have previously worked as JEPS Bulletin Editor and am active in a NMUN project simulating the political work of the United Nations as voluntary work. I am interested in cognitive neuroscience and intercultural psychology, anthropology and organizational psychology (aspects of work-life balance, expatriation).

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  • David

    Thanks for the interesting article – I liked the analogy of academic journals as working memory but was thinking wouldn’t long term memory be a better analogy? If my memory serves me right, working memory is characterised by limited capacity and quick decay of information if not maintained, both of which don’t seem to apply to academic journals?

    Cheers,
    David.

    PS: You write “This stepstone in psychological history has been set in 1789 and still has its enormous impact on the way we see psychology as a science today.”
    –> I suspect this should read 1889?

  • Ivan Flis

    I would say that journals do have a limited capacity and fast decay, at least the bulk of the articles published. Only ‘classical’ works get cited for decades, others are lost in the sheer volume of new research published i.e. article half life is usually relatively short. Classical works usually get worked into textbooks, which in turn are used for educating (or to use a more negative word, indoctrinating) future experts. So I’d say textbooks are the long term memory, while the working one are the journals. Also because journals are the filter of what becomes ‘classic’ and at some point becomes textbook worthy material.

    And yes, I’m pretty sure that year is a typo. But it maybe should’ve said 1879, the founding year of Wundt’s laboratory?