A multi-year effort to build a global journal community by diversifying authorship base, editorial boards, and peer reviewers

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Nov 14 2023

Author: Guest contributor

The editors of Current Psychology reflect on the actions they took to increase representation and associated benefits for the journal.

Jesus Alfonso D. Datu, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong 

Kara Sage, Capella University, Minneapolis, MN, USA 

Lauren S. Seifert, Malone University, Canton, OH, USA 

Benjamin Rosenberg, Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA, USA 

F. Richard Ferraro, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA

Tell us a little bit about your journal – its vision, scope and authorship base.

Current Psychology presents contemporary research from across sub-fields of psychology with a goal to advance the field of psychology and make a positive impact. We accept cutting-edge research that reflects both empirical and theoretical work in such areas as health, industrial-organizational, media, social, experimental, clinical, and cultural psychology. We have an international author base for our journal, including substantial representation from China, USA, Turkey, Spain, India, Italy, Iran, and authors coming from many other countries across the world.

Your journal has taken a deliberate set of actions to address diversity, and inclusion in the journal. Tell us about what you did and why you felt addressing these issues was an important step for the journal.

If the journal is to provide a representation of what is happening in psychology on a global scale, then authors, reviewers, and Editors from all regions must be encouraged and welcomed. This is how good science happens — when all voices are listened to. We have therefore made an effort to have representation from around the world among our Reviewers and on our Editorial Board. 

We made a concerted effort to enhance diversity (beginning 2017/2018) by inviting authors of accepted papers from countries that were under-represented on our Editorial Board to serve as reviewers. Then, as they gained experience, we sought to move them to the Editorial Board, and eventually into Associate Editor and Section Editor positions (from 2018 through 2023). The effort was a collaborative one, led by the Editor-in-Chief and the Springer Nature Executive Publisher in cooperation with Associate Editors (and later, with Section Editors, when this tier was added in 2022).

Benefiting from Springer Nature’s guidance on seeking diversity, Current Psychology made focused efforts in two recent Associate Editor searches to add Editors from countries outside the United States. We actively sought scholars from countries and regions that are sources of significant numbers of submissions (e.g., regions of Asia and Europe; Middle Eastern and South American nations; and the United Kingdom). 

As a result of these multi-year efforts, we have been able to increase representation from non-Western countries to > 30% on the journal’s editorial board.

What is the impact on the journal of these actions?

The number of submissions from researchers across the globe has exponentially increased over the past several years, which clearly signals growth in the international visibility of Current Psychology in diverse cultural contexts. For example, we are seeing a significant growth in submissions and acceptance of research papers from China. Recruiting associate editors from non-Western societies might have also encouraged scholars from under-represented contexts to actively strengthen the editorial peer review processes; hence, the pool of our reviewers with diverse expertise in psychology expanded. 

Moreover, we believe that the regular editorial meetings and editorial retreat for the past few years — even during unprecedented situations such as in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — have created a supportive, productive, and collaborative climate among associate editors with diverse cultural backgrounds, editors, and senior editor/publishing manager of the journal. Through these highly engaging meetings, we have learned from one another’s unique way of life in their current cultural contexts without compromising our key meeting agenda and performance metrics. No matter how culturally diverse we are, there is a common goal of strengthening this journal’s scholarly and hopefully practical impacts. We hope to continue building on these good practices and explore other equally meaningful pathways to enhance Current Psychology’s reputation and impact indicators sustainably. 

What challenges have you encountered and how have you addressed them?

Three primary challenges come to mind. First, and this is most likely a good problem to have, we receive a ton of submissions. Last year, we had ~6,000, which is magnitudes more than other top psychology journals receive annually. In general, it is great that we receive so many submissions, but it does introduce some issues in managing the peer review process.

Second, the diversity of submissions we receive means we deal with a very wide range of English writing and grammatical proficiency. We often get papers that present excellent science, but that contain writing that is unclear and/or has many grammatical errors. These issues can make evaluating the work difficult — although the data are compelling, the presentation can be lacking. A related issue is that we deal with quite a few issues of plagiarism that, often, are likely due to a lack of shared understanding about publication (vs. malicious intent) so there is a need to raise awareness about best practice in attribution and citation.

Third, our journal has become so popular with international scholars that we receive far more submissions from other countries than from the U.S. This, in and of itself, is not a problem, but we think we want the papers we publish to be somewhat more representative of the field as whole!

About the author

Jesus Alfonso D. Datu, PhD, is an associate professor in the Teacher Education and Learning Leadership Academic Unit — Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. He has more than 100 published journal articles and edited book chapters in the areas of positive psychology, inclusive education, and STEM learning. He has served on the Editorial Board of Current Psychology since 2020. 

Kara Sage received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Oregon in 2012. She is currently an Associate Program Director at Capella University, and previously spent almost a decade in a traditional professor role at small liberal arts colleges. She has conducted research and published her work in a variety of psychology and education journals. She has served in various roles for Current Psychology for almost a decade, currently acting as Section Editor.

Lauren (Smerglia) Seifert, PhD graduated from The Ohio State University in 1994 and has spent most of her career at Malone University, Canton, Ohio, U.S. She became an Associate Editor of Current Psychology in 2018, and is now a Section Editor. She has more than 120 publications and conference presentations in the areas of cognition, memory, word recognition, aging care for persons with dementia/chronic conditions, and aesthetics and the arts.

Benjamin D. Rosenberg is a social-health psychologist with a PhD in applied social psychology from Claremont Graduate University. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Dominican University of California, where he directs the Health and Motivation Lab. Ben has authored or co-authored papers on these topics in journals such as Motivation Science and Social Science & Medicine. Ben has served in various roles at Current Psychology since 2019, and is currently a Section Editor.

F. Richard Ferraro received his PhD from the University of Kansas in 1989 and has been at the University of North Dakota since 1992. He has been Editor-in-Chief of Current Psychology since 2013. He has over 300 publications and presentations in the areas of cognition, aging, human factors, and teaching.


Author: Guest contributor

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