About the journal

An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior (ISSN 1474-7049)

Impact factor: 1.704

In debates about scientific publishing over recent years it has been noted many times that the authors of articles for peer-reviewed journals write primarily for ‘research impact’. Unfortunately, established practices, which involve transferring copyright to journal publishers, often achieve precisely the opposite of impact. Many worthy papers appear in small-circulation journals where they languish unnoticed by all but a few who could profit from the ideas they contain. Many specialist journals have fewer than 1000 subscribers, and even very popular journals fewer than 5000. For those interested in evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior the situation is particularly difficult in that our universities are divided into traditional disciplines that have little coherence when the questions under consideration concern fields as diverse as biology, philosophy, economics, neuroscience, history, and psychology. Our professional bodies also reflect arbitrary divisions of inquiry, with the added impediment that they are often concerned more with local (national) political and legal matters than with the dissemination of knowledge.

Of course, since the advent of the Internet, and especially the world wide web, access to information has been transformed, but many of the old barriers remain in place. Although many newspapers make their content freely available, the cost of a journal article published online by a traditional publisher can be more than the price of a textbook, and some publishers do not allow access to individual papers without a full subscription to the print journal. Stevan Harnad notes that,

There are currently at least 20,000 refereed journals across all fields of scholarship, publishing more than 2 million refereed articles each year. The amount collectively paid by those of the world’s institutions which can afford the tolls for just one of those refereed papers averages $2,000 per paper. In exchange for that fee, that particular paper is accessible to readers at those, and only those, paying institutions.

The internet provides an international readership larger than even the largest circulation journals such as Nature, Science, Scientific American, and New Scientist. The journal has distinguished participants and readers in over 160 countries, and at most major universities and research institutes worldwide.

As Evolutionary Psychology has a broad scope covering empirical, philosophical, historical, and socio-political perspectives it has a large and diverse editorial board composed of distinguished and enthusiastic individuals who wish to encourage appropriate submissions across all relevant fields, including original research papers, subject reviews, topic reviews, and book reviews. Each item is published as it is available, with appropriate links being posted to all of our groups and websites. Each item is published in PDF format. This allows articles to be cited as easily as a paper in a hardcopy journal, and also allows for dissemination of material via email to colleagues and interested parties worldwide. This mode of operation will afford authors unparalleled exposure and hence maximum research impact. Contributors are also be encouraged to deposit their work in appropriate eprint archives. To quote Steve Harnad again,

Learned inquiry, always communal and cumulative, will not only be immeasurably better informed, new findings percolating through minds and media almost instantaneously, but it will also become incomparably more interactive.

In his article ‘Is your journal really necessary?’ Declan Butler of Nature writes:

The possibilities of sophisticated matching of personalized editorial selections across large swathes of the literature, and the need to lower barriers to access, should in themselves be sufficient to convince scientists tempted to create low-circulation print journals to consider web-only options. Arguments that electronic-only will hinder access of developing countries to science is nonsense. The reality is that a library in Kinshasa would be lucky if it could afford to subscribe to a handful of print journals; the web promises developing countries access to scientific information they could previously only have dreamed of. But the essential function of a journal is to serve a particular community. The next web revolution will be a plethora of next-generation communities linking papers, people and data. So next time you think about launching a print journal, unless you have sufficient readership to survive in a free competitive market, do your colleagues and science a favour by considering instead what your community needs, and launch the answer online. I predict that this change will occur in under five years; if I am wrong, I will eat my journal.

We cordially invite you to join our international community of dedicated research scientists, scholars, and clinicians.

References

Butler, D. (2000). Is your journal really necessary? Nature, 407: 291.
Harnad, S. (1998). On-line journals and financial fire walls. Nature, 395:127-128.
Harnad, S. (2001). The self-archiving initiative. Nature, 410:1024-1025.

Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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