The Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research has undergone an exciting transformation into the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, a peerreviewed, indexed journal, that now accepts manuscripts from all Psi Chi members. This change provides an excellent opportunity to review the evolution of the Journal and submission criteria as well as the twists and turns that the life of a submitted manuscript takes potential authors through once manuscripts are entrusted to the Psi Chi Journal team.
History of the Journal
Volume 1, issues 1 and 2 of the Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research were published as a joint issue with seven empirical articles and an inaugural editorial by Dr. Stephen F. Davis. In an enthusiastic beginning, Davis (1996) wrote, "The twofold purpose of this journal is to foster and reward the scholarly research efforts of undergraduate psychology students and to provide them with a valuable learning experience” (n.p.). In the editorial, Davis also listed the first 20 reviewers for the journal, a veritable Who’s Who of Psi Chi, including such names as Elizabeth Yost Hammer and R. Eric Landrum. Since then, 15 volumes have been published. Each volume since the first has included four issues per year, with five to six articles per issue, amounting to more than 300 published articles authored by undergraduate students.
We take pride in this level of scholarly productivity among our undergraduate students and selfless mentoring by our dedicated faculty. Psi Chi Journal’s intellectual integrity has been safeguarded by six editors: Drs. Davis (1995–2001), Warren H. Jones (2001–07), Christopher Koch (2007–09), Martha S. Zlokovich (2009–10), and Randolph A. Smith (2010–11). The mentoring of authors has been in the capable hands of countless reviewers who have shared their time and talents. Notably, some of the scholars in that original group continue to serve as active reviewers of the journal today.
Changes to the Journal
The Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research builds on the strengths of its predecessor and emerges as an international, fully reviewed, quarterly journal dedicated to the publication of scholarly research authored by members of Psi Chi. In keeping with the tradition of nurturing our members toward scholarly dissemination, the Journal will continue to provide supportive feedback to authors. The Journal will feature work from any field of specialization within psychology and welcomes a broad range of methodologies.
In keeping with our additional tradition of showcasing substantive contributions that stand to further the science of psychology, manuscripts must be original and empirical (see Domenech Rodríguez, 2011). This stipulation means that work should be largely theoretically driven, include research questions or hypotheses, and apply systematic methods and observations to arrive at conclusions regarding the questions of interest. Manuscripts are also peer reviewed (see Domenech Rodríguez, 2011). As such, each manuscript is reviewed by content and/ or methodological experts. For example, a manuscript documenting a qualitative exploration of adolescent identity in incarcerated youths may be reviewed by a faculty expert in adolescent development, a faculty expert in qualitative methods, and another faculty with expertise in incarcerated populations.
One major change in the submissions is that now all Psi Chi members can submit their work as first authors. Undergraduate students who have graduated are no longer limited by the 6-month postgraduation deadline. Graduate students and faculty now can submit as first authors as well. Faculty authors must have a student coauthor. Additionally, reviewers are now prompted in their evaluation forms to take into account the first author’s developmental level so that a first author who is an undergraduate student will be evaluated according to the level of work expected of an undergraduate student. Furthermore, undergraduate authors will continue to receive detailed, comprehensive feedback on their manuscripts as well as narrative explanations. Graduate and faculty authors will receive mostly narrative feedback.
The Life of a Manuscript
A Psi Chi Journal manuscript comes in through our submission portal, which can be found by going to http://www.psichi.org and following the links to the Psi Chi Journal. Once a manuscript is received, the Editor and Managing Editor work together to ensure the basic criteria are met (i.e., author is a Psi Chi member, manuscript is empirical). The Editor then carefully selects three reviewers for each submission. The review process lasts approximately 10–12 weeks, but may take longer during holidays to accommodate reviewers.
The review process is complete when three peer reviewers have provided feedback to the Editor, who subsequently reviews the paper as well and integrates all reviewers’ comments. The Action Editor then integrates the feedback into a decision letter, notifying authors of one of the following decisions: (a) the manuscript is accepted pending minor revisions, (b) the author is invited to revise and resubmit the manuscript, or (c) the manuscript is rejected. Authors whose work has been accepted pending minor revisions or who have been asked to revise and resubmit their manuscript have approximately four weeks to complete their revisions and resubmit the manuscript. The final manuscript is then sent to the Editorial Assistant for a final review of APA style and references. Once cleared, it goes into production under the capable leadership of our Managing Editor. Accepted manuscripts are typically published in the order in which they finish the full process of review and revisions. As the final step, authors wait for the printed Journal to arrive via snail mail!
Expanding Psi Chi Journal’s Potential
Building on a rich history of promoting excellent scholarship among undergraduate student members, the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research embraces change and opens new opportunities for all members to become published authors. This shift will greatly benefit authors and readers alike, increasing submissions, the range of research published, and the likelihood of being indexed in PsycINFO and other leading indexing databases (see Domenech Rodríguez, 2011). Indexing will increase our visibility as an academic journal and will extend our reach so that the work of our authors can be more broadly disseminated.
Davis, S. F. (1996). Inaugural editorial. Psi Chi Journal of
Undergraduate Research. Retrieved from http://www.psichi.org/Pubs/Articles/Article_330.aspx
Domenech Rodríguez, M. (2011, Fall). How does Psi Chi Journal
of Undergraduate Research measure up? Eye on Psi Chi,