Editorial vision and goals for the International Journal of Comparative Psychology
Charles I. Abramson
Laboratory of Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Biology
Department of Psychology
Oklahoma State University
This note presents a summary of the editorial priorities to promote the International Journal of Comparative Psychology’s continuing mission to publish high-quality articles. In addition, I present a number of points to help potential contributors gain a better sense of the type of topics we are seeking to publish.
Keywords: International Journal of Comparative Psychology, vision, priorities
As I begin my three-year term as the new Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology (IJCP), I would like to share with our readers and potential contributors my vision for the journal. Since the founding of the IJCP in 1987, its continuing mission is to publish high-quality articles. This mission began with our founding editor. Dr. Ethel Tobach, and was maintained by subsequent editors Robert N. Huges, Leslie J. Rogers, Sally A. McFadden, Mauricio R. Papini, David Washburn, Stan Kuczaj, Daniela Brunner, and Heather M. Hill. This mission will not change.
The journal was created as the official organ of the International Society of Comparative Psychology (ISCP). Founded in 1980, the society encourages the study of comparative psychology internationally, seeks to acquaint the international community of scholars to the benefits of comparative psychology, and promotes the training of the next generation of comparative psychologists. For a brief history of the IJCP and ISCP see the website:https://escholarship.org/uc/uclapsych_ijcp/journalhistory.
My priorities and those of the Associate Editor Dr. Erin Frick and the IJCPmanagement/copyediting team (Susana Cisneros, Malin Lilley, Sara Guarino, Andrew Marshall, Jennifer Tobey, Anjelica Martinez, Jenna Williams, Dylan Davidoff, Olivia Minneyand Riley Wincheski) is nothing short of returning comparative psychology to its rightful place among the pantheon of psychology. We expect to accomplish this by:
1. Continuing the tradition of the IJCP by not charging open access or related fees. As the journal is international in scope, many of our readers and potential contributors simply cannot afford the open-access fees, manuscript processing fees, and/or reprint fees required by other journals. The IJCP staff strongly believes in the free flow of information unhindered by financial gain. The journal management team accepts no remuneration. We are all volunteers brought together by our love of comparative psychology. As we charge no fees of any kind, we expect to become the “go-to” resource for those wanting to learn more about comparative psychology.
2. Increasing the range of topics in the IJCP. We will solicit manuscripts in the following areas:
a. History of comparative psychology. Such articles can take the form of biographies, obituaries, and/or movements. We are especially interested in publishing biographical material of comparative psychologists from developing countries and regions. We are also interested in publishing biographical material of individuals from under-represented groups. Departmental histories related to the establishment of comparative psychology programs are also welcomed.
b. Articles with commentary. For a number of years, the IJCP has been accepting special issues. We will continue this tradition and expand it to include topical articles with commentary. The authors of the target articles will respond to the commentaries. The articles will be in the style of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
c. Observations. Observation is a cornerstone of comparative psychology. We are particularly interested in well-documented observations of the behavior of organisms.
d. Notes. We are willing to consider short articles in the form of “research notes” describing the results of preliminary work.
e. Comparative psychology “in action.” We would like to publish papers illustrating how comparative psychology is used to solve real-world problems. For example, I have co-authored a paper showing how comparative psychology is used in pet industry litigation (Abramson & Black, 2017).
f. Review articles. We will solicit review manuscripts that provide critical assessments of comparative psychology written in the style of Psychological Bulletin and the Annual Review of Psychology.
g. Book reviews. We welcome critical assessments of books of interest to comparative psychologists. Especially of interest are books from developing countries and regions.
h. Apparatus papers. We are interested in publishing apparatus papers. One of the cornerstones of comparative psychology is the apparatuses we use. My first publication was an ant apparatus that appeared in Behavior Research Methods and Instrumentation under the editorship of Joseph B. Sidowski (Abramson et al., 1977). Over the years, I found it difficult to find outlets for publishing apparatus/technique papers of interest to comparative psychologists. The papers we are seeking can be descriptions of individual apparatus/techniques or review articles assessing a particular class of apparatus/techniques. We expect that such articles will contain schematics and video clips showing how the apparatus/technique works. The general style of the articles will be similar to that found in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE).
i. Teaching papers. One of our goals is to make the IJCP a vital resource for the teaching of comparative psychology at all levels of the educational system. For example, with the trend for homeschooling, there is no reason that the IJCP cannot be the main source of activities for students.
3. Submission rules. Authors should follow the submission rules. These rules are in place in part to help the editorial staff with the timely processing of manuscripts and we expect your best work. As we are all volunteers our time is valuable and it is best spent on substantive issues rather than correcting a myriad of errors.
a. Closely check for typos, errors, and misspellings. While most manuscripts may have a typo or two, those with an excessive amount will be returned. Proofread the manuscript before submission. Typical errors are that citations are not properly referenced (i.e., does not follow the latest edition of APA formatting, references are cited but not included in the reference list, or vice versa), the reference style is inconsistent or references are missing readily available information required for APA formatting, statistical notation that is reported does not follow latest APA edition formatting, tables are not formatted properly or contain adequate notes in the description, and figure captions do not match the figures. Please also make sure that your papers follow general IJCP formatting regarding section titles and headers. Check your submissions carefully.
4. Pre-screening. Manuscripts will undergo a pre-screening process to assess if the manuscript is formatted correctly, or if there are numerous commonly found errors as listed above. Manuscripts found to contain multiple common errors will be returned to the author for corrections prior to the review process. There will also be another pre-screening prior to the paper entering IJCP copyediting. This is done to ensure timely processing of the manuscript through the publication process.
b. Include line numbers. Line numbers make editing the manuscript easier as both the editorial staff and reviewers can rapidly focus on the issues and more effectively convey to the author any concerns during the review process.
c. Doi numbers of references must be included at the time of submission. All journal citations must have an accurate doi number. If the doi numbers are not provided the manuscript will be returned. Before submitting the manuscript, make sure that the links to the doi numbers work.
d. Encourage the use of supplemental materials such as video clips. The IJCP has the ability to include supplemental materials. We would like to encourage our authors to make use of this feature – especially video clips. If a potential contributor is not sure about whether a submission is appropriate, they should feel free to contact me.
If there are any questions on what is required for a properly submitted manuscript contact me.
5. My background. As the new Editor-in-Chief, I feel it is important to provide some background information on my qualifications. I have always been interested in the comparative analysis of behavior since the time I was a freshman at Boston University (BU). At BU I had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of animals including the traditional rats and pigeons along with non-traditional animals such as ants, fish and monkeys. As a graduate student, my dissertation committee was composed of H. Marcucella, J. M. Harrison, and M. E. Bitterman. I had the opportunity to work with M. E. Bitterman at the University of Hawai’i in 1979 and again from 1983-1985. It is my experience in Hawai’i where I first began to work with honey bees and gained a lifelong appreciation for the comparative analysis of learning.
Over the course of my 35-year career I have had the privilege of working with over 30 different species of both invertebrate and vertebrate animals (and plants) in a wide range of both basic and applied problems. My experience is considerable and my work has taken me to over 25 countries and produced over 300 publications and 21 books on assorted topics. I have been fortunate enough to be recognized for my contributions both in the United States and abroad. Concerning editorial boards, I have served on many over the years both in the United States and abroad. These and my other experiences put me in a unique position to increase the profile of the IJCP.
On the negative side, over the course of my career, I have witnessed the decline of comparative psychology. I have written about this on several occasions (e.g., Abramson, 2015) and have experienced opinions ranging from “let it die” to ‘it has been absorbed.” I strongly believe that comparative psychology is a vital area and is worth saving. This is why I decided to accept the position of Editor-in-Chief. The editorial staff and I believe that the IJCP can reverse this trend. I can imagine no better area of psychology than comparative psychology.
Abramson, C. I. (2015). A crisis in comparative psychology: Where have all the undergraduates gone? Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1500. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01500
Abramson, C.I., Collier, D.M., & Marcucella, H. (1977). An aversive conditioning unit for ants. Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation, 9, 505-507.https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03213986
Abramson, C. I. & Black, T. E. (2017). Importance of comparative psychology in pet industry litigation. Journal of Social Sciences, 13, 118-123. https://doi.org/10.3844/jssp.2017.118.123