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Stepping stones

Ninety-seven percent of students wish they had more opportunities to publish and serve as journal reviewers and on journal editorial boards, according to research presented by grad students Jennifer Doran and William Somerville at APA's 2010 Annual Convention.

The New School Psychology Bulletin, is a biannual journal that aims to fill that training gap by teaching students reviewing skills, giving students feedback on their papers and providing a tenable route to publication, say Somerville and Doran, the journal's editors.

"We are trying to be a stepping-stone for students who recognize the value of publishing to their careers but need some assistance and training to get where they want to be," says Somerville, a clinical psychology student at The New School in New York.

The journal, now in its eighth year, welcomes psychology articles of any type and length, including theoretical articles and empirical work. The journal accepts about 40 percent of submitted articles for publication, but even students who don't get published learn from the experience, says Doran. "We send every article out for peer review so authors get constructive feedback and the experience of dealing with reviewer comments," she says.

Peer reviewers, who come from a pool of more than 100 graduate students from around the world, complete a reviewer training program that includes reading APA publishing guidelines and other articles on the topic. Somerville and Doran especially encourage reviewers to provide constructive criticism and avoid needless hostility toward authors. "We would love for this generation of reviewers to approach their work with a sense of collegiality and supportiveness," Somerville says.

The journal also offers a short turnaround time, says Doran. Students receive feedback within about four weeks of submitting their papers and may find their studies in print in a matter of months. That can be helpful for students who need a new line on their curriculum vitae in time for job or internship applications.

Preliminary data suggest that the Bulletin is fulfilling its mission. A recent survey conducted by Doran found that 93 percent of the journal's reviewers said the journal sharpened their scientific writing, editing and reviewing skills. Additionally, all of the authors who submitted to the journal last year said the feedback they received was at least somewhat helpful, and 77 percent reported that the Bulletin provided them with training not otherwise available in their graduate school programs.

To submit papers, visit the journal's online portal. To serve as a peer reviewer, e-mail your CV.

—S. Dingfelder