Where Should I Send My Paper? Input from New Editors

By Ethan Van Norman, Lehigh University, with Robin Codding, Northeastern University; Craig Albers, University of Wisconsin Madison; and Shane Jimerson, University of California Santa Barbara

A cursory look through the topics addressed in the ECF blog sheds light on the numerous challenges associated with conducting research and preparing manuscripts you are likely to face as an early career scholar. Yet, even after the data are collected results are written up, and you’ve finally re-formatted all your tables to be consistent with the APA 7th edition publication manual, an extremely common question that you may ask yourself is, “Where should I send this paper?” Previous blog posts on choosing journals and open access publishing have offered general advice for navigating this decision. The purpose of this post is to dive further into considerations for determining whether your work is a good fit for School Psychology, School Psychology Review, or the Journal of School Psychology.

The fact that you are reading this suggests that you are actively engaged or will be engaged in research that addresses issues relevant to the field of school psychology. Yet, if you have had had the joy of planning training curricula or reviewing training standards, you are well aware that the field encompasses a broad range of topics. As a consequence, school psychology researchers publish in a wide variety of journals with foci that overlap with the broader aims of the field to varying degrees (Hulac, Johnson, Ushijima, & Schneider, 2016). Yet, if you identify as a school psychologist, it is reasonable to assume that your research has some implications for the field of school psychology, and, as a consequence, at least some of your work should be published in journals widely read by your peers, or generalist school psychology journals (Floyd, 2018). To be blunt, it is likely that members of your promotion and tenure committee, as well as external letter writers, will expect that at least some of your work appears in journals widely read by school psychologists.

In 2020, three generalist school psychology journals have or will be undergoing changes in editorial leadership. Dr. Robin Codding from Northeastern University will become the editor of School Psychology (formerly School Psychology Quarterly). Dr. Shane Jimerson from the University of California Santa Barbara will become editor of School Psychology Review. And Dr. Craig Albers will become editor of the Journal of School Psychology. An important recommendation from the previous blog post was that reading commentaries written by incoming editors can help you gain a sense of the editorial priorities and points of emphasis of the journal to make an informed decision about the fit of your paper with that journal. We have tried to facilitate this process by bringing together each editor to answer a common set of questions.

Question 1: What is your vision for the journal moving forward? What major changes if any should authors look forward to?

Robin Codding School Psychology: School Psychology has always prided itself on enhancing the science, practice, and policy of immediately pertinent issues for children, youth, and the adults who support them. We hope to offer scholars and practitioners access to cutting edge science that is grounded in practical applications and address current issues in the U.S and around the world. We will continue to offer high quality and timely reviews of manuscripts. Priority will be given to succinct manuscripts; however, exceptions can be made when justification is provided by authors, for topics that require greater length. School Psychology had a name change in 2019! Consistent increases in annual submissions over several years resulted in the move to offering 6 issues per year necessitating that School Psychology Quarterly be changed to School Psychology.

Shane Jimerson School Psychology Review: BE THE CHANGE is our 2020 vision for SPR as posted at NASPonline.org (SPR is the official journal of NASP — the largest association of school psychologists in the world). BE THE CHANGE is apropos for SPR considering that authors should look forward to the following changes:

  • the partnership with Routledge / Taylor and Francis as the publisher of SPR (for instance, manuscripts accepted for publication will now be featured online first within 30 days),
  • the increased size and breadth of expertise represented among the incoming leadership team (including the range of topics and methodologies relevant to school psychology),
  • expanded Editorial Advisory Board of 130 practitioners and faculty members (including colleagues who will focus their reviews on Methods and Analyses),
  • a new Student Editorial Board to prepare and include the next generation of school psychologists in peer review,
  • the commitment to providing high quality and timely reviews (constructive reviews and decisions within 30 days of submission),
  • the focus on advancing science to inform practice and policy,
  • an opportunity to publish in a journal with increasing reach (over 20,000 practicing school psychologists, over 1,000 graduate educators, over 1,000 leaders across all 50 states, over 1,000 graduate students, in addition to institutional library subscriptions and online indexes),
  • the emphasis on advancing diversification of school psychology, (featuring high-quality scholarship that includes participants from diverse groups, geographic regions, cultural, and marginalized or underrepresented and underserved groups (e.g., LGBQ, transgender, homeless, immigrant-origin, early career, and students),
  • feature scholarship from related disciplines (including education, special education, as well as educational, developmental, counseling, child-clinical, pediatric, community, and family psychology)
  • further emphasis on promoting dissemination of articles (including NASP, T&F, social media, videos, etc.), and
  • special topic sections addressing new frontiers in school psychology (including open calls for all authors to submit their manuscripts for review and consideration).

Craig Albers Journal of School Psychology: I had the good fortune of serving the better part of the past 10 years as an Associate Editor for JSP and have been even more fortunate to have almost all of the AEs continuing in their roles moving forward. Given this stability, I am not envisioning any major changes moving forward – but check back with me in a year! The constantly evolving publishing landscape (e.g., open access, replication) requires that academic journals also evolve, thus one of my responsibilities is to continue positioning the journal in such a way to best disseminate scholars’ work not only for the present, but also in the future. Even without major changes, we will continue to look for ways to further strengthen the journal, enhance efficiencies, and facilitate and increase the reach and impact of the manuscripts published in JSP.

JSP’s goals are not changing; the journal will strive to continue publishing the highest quality research that advances the science of school psychology. We will continue publishing empirical articles on research and practices relevant to psychological and behavioral processes in school settings, including research on intervention mechanisms and approaches; schooling effects on the development of social, cognitive, mental-health, and achievement-related outcomes; assessment; and consultation.

Question 2: Which topics/themes, populations, and methodologies will you emphasize?

Robin Codding School Psychology: School Psychology has a long commitment to publishing high quality manuscripts on a breadth of topics that are relevant to the field and represent the variety of settings, clients, and services that school psychologists engage in. Submissions from scholars and practitioners who engage in research in school psychology and related fields with a focus on promoting the educational, psychological, health and mental health services of children and youth, are encouraged. We encourage submissions that emphasize cross-national and cross-cultural topics as well as elucidate educational disparities. We hope to see submissions that address implementation of feasible, usable, culturally and contextually relevant evidence-based practices and their sustainability. We have four different manuscript submission types. The standard type that School Psychology has always offered is the empirical article. We also offer author guidelines for brief reports, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, as well as advances in research methods. As part of the Open Science movement, authors will generate brief impact statements that summarize each study’s findings for a general audience to increase dissemination and usage of research results. We are also encouraging submission of replication studies and high-quality studies that describe null findings. We are committed to publishing quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies.

Shane Jimerson School Psychology Review: SPR will emphasize empirical studies (quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, single-case), meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and other forms of scholarship that inform prevention, intervention, and support strategies that promote the social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, mental health, and academic development of all children, youth, and their families. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of important topics will be a particular emphasis SPR in the next few years. All authors are encouraged to submit their scholarship to SPRSPR will feature high-quality scholarship that includes participants from diverse groups, geographic regions, cultural, and marginalized or underrepresented and underserved groups (e.g., LGBQ, transgender, homeless, immigrant-origin). SPR will embrace scholarship focusing on diversity considerations, social justice, and diverse populations will be emphasized in general articles as well as in timely special topic sections featuring contemporary science.

Craig Albers Journal of School Psychology: Let me start by saying this: high quality research is valued, whether it be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. If the manuscript (a) addresses a topic connected to the science of school psychology, (b) utilizes appropriate methodologies and analyses to answer the research questions, and (c) is well written, then three critical boxes are checked for submitting that manuscript to JSP. So, the issue isn’t what methodologies will be emphasized, but rather whether the appropriate methodologies and analytic approaches were utilized. JSP continues to welcome submissions utilizing a variety of methodologies.

As mentioned earlier, the journal’s goals are not changing as JSP will continue publishing empirical articles relevant to the science of school psychology; because of this, the quantity and quality of submissions are the primary driving force as to what is published within JSP. With that being said, we must continue to push for more research examining issues surrounding underrepresented groups – broadly defined – and equity. One way to facilitate more research is to increase recognition of these issues, and publishing work in this area increases this recognition. Consequently, getting these manuscripts published, whether in JSP or other professional journals, is critical.  JSP remains committed to advancing our understanding of these issues and we strongly encourage you to consider submitting your work in these areas to JSP.

Special issues provide an avenue for bringing additional attention to current and emerging issues, and moving forward, JSP will continue to publish special issues. Special issues are also one way where we can really draw attention to research with students from underrepresented backgrounds, so we will be working on developing one or more special issues in this area. Andy Garbacz, who has served as a JSP AE since 2014, has agreed to serve as a Senior Associate Editor and will help facilitate special issue development. If you have an interest in exploring a possible special issue, by all means, please let Andy, any of our AEs, or me know as we would love to explore it more with you, support its development, and eventually see it in publication.

Question 3. What advice do you have for authors to determine whether their work is a good fit for the journal?

Robin Codding School Psychology: School Psychology has a wide casting net and audience as the official Division 16 journal of the American Psychological Association (https://apadivision16.org/publications/school-psychology-quarterly/ ). This includes APA Author Features such as the Journals Dialogue Podcast for early career scholars and opportunities to be featured in the Article Spotlight.

I recommend that authors become very familiar with the official journal website. It is helpful for authors to attend to the call for papers to identify the scope of content the journal publishes. School Psychology also advertises calls for special topics on the website with the goal of highlighting work in a particular area. It is useful if authors familiarize themselves with the editorial review board members to find individuals with areas of expertise that match the content and methodology of their study. General author guidelines as well as guidelines for each manuscript type are available on the website and provide specific recommendations for manuscript formatting and fit. I think it is a good idea to read one or two published articles representing a manuscript type to get a true sense of the journal expectations and visualize what the final production looks like. Finally, authors should feel welcome to reach out directly to me, via email, to discuss manuscript fit with the School Psychology.

Shane Jimerson School Psychology Review: Regarding advice for authors to evaluate goodness of fit with SPR — If your scholarship is innovative, high quality, aims to advance science, inform practice and/or policy, or has particular relevance to help support the increasingly diverse children and families in the United States, and you want to receive high quality feedback within 30 days, then SPR is a great journal for you to submit your scholarship. Colleagues are encouraged to visit the SPR website, which includes published articles, aims and scope for the journal, instructions for authors, and the manuscript submission portal. We also welcome pre-submission inquiries, so email us. We encourage early career colleagues to join us, to – BE THE CHANGE – and submit your scholarship to SPR.

Craig Albers Journal of School Psychology: It probably goes without saying that reviewing the journal’s description and the past 2-3 years of publications within a specific journal will give you a really good idea as to the types of topics and methodologies that the journal tends to publish. However, the cautionary note with this approach is that depending on your work, it is possible that the journal hasn’t previously received any submissions similar to yours, whether that is because your work is innovative, groundbreaking, or in an area where others simply have not been conducting research. Thus, in addition to reviewing information provided by the journal, I strongly encourage you to reach out to the journal’s editor or one of the journal’s associate editors and simply discuss with these individuals. As a former AE and now editor, I truly enjoy communicating with authors who are trying to determine if JSP may be the best home for their work.

Thank you to each editor for taking the time to respond to each question.

What tactics do you use to decide where to send your work? Share your tips and tricks below!

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