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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

All articles submitted to HPB are initially assessed by an Editor, who decides whether or not the article is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable for peer review are assigned to one or more independent experts, who assess the article for clarity, validity, and sound methodology.

Authors may be invited to recommend or ask for the exclusion of specific individuals from the peer review process. The journal does not guarantee to use these suggestions. All reviewers must be independent from the submission and will be asked to declare all competing interests.

HPB operates a double-blind peer review process, meaning that authors and reviewers remain anonymous for the review process. The review period is expected to take around four weeks. Reviewers are asked to provide formative feedback, even if an article is not deemed suitable for publication in the journal. For the majority of submissions, peer reviewers will be selected from the journal's long list of editors.

Based on the reviewer reports the editor will make a recommendation for rejection, minor or major revisions, or acceptance. Overall editorial responsibility rests with the journal’s Editors-in-Chief, who are supported by an expert, international Editorial Board.

Reviews and editorial communication are mandatorily unblinded and published upon an accepted article's publication. 

The journal is happy to accept submissions of papers that have been loaded onto preprint servers or personal websites, have been presented at conferences, or other informal communication channels. These formats will not be deemed prior publication. Authors must retain copyright to such postings. Authors are encouraged to link any prior posting of their paper to the final published version within the journal, if it is editorially accepted.

Data Policy

The journal recommends Full Disclosure of all data associated with their submission, encouraging authors to make this openly available, according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). This should be linked to from a Data Accessibility Statement within the submitted paper, which will be made public upon publication. If data is not being made available within the journal publication, a statement from the author should be provided to explain why. Data obtained from other sources must be appropriately credited. When depositing data for a submission, the below should be considered:

  • The repository the data is deposited in must be suitable for this subject and have a sustainability model.
  • The data must be deposited under an open license that permits unrestricted access (e.g. CC0, CC-BY). More restrictive licenses should only be used if a valid reason (e.g. legal) is present.
  • The deposited data must include a version that is in an open, non-proprietary format.
  • The deposited data must have been labelled in such a way that a 3rd party can make sense of it (e.g. sensible column headers, descriptions in a readme text file). 
  • Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, the studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. The identity of the research subject should be anonymised whenever possible. For research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their legal guardian). 
  • A ‘Data Accessibility Statement’ should be added to the submission, prior to the reference list, providing the details of the data accessibility, including the DOI linking to it. If the data is restricted in any way, the reasoning should be given. 

A list of data repositories is available at http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Data_repositories.

Please see the Author Guidelines for more information about HPB's Full Disclosure policy.

Preprint Policy

The journal allows authors to deposit draft versions of their paper into a suitable preprint server, on condition that the author agrees to the below:

  • The author retains copyright to the preprint and developed works from it, and is permitted to submit it to the journal.
  • The author declares that a preprint is available within the cover letter presented during submission. This must include a link to the location of the preprint.
  • The author acknowledges that having a preprint publicly available means that the journal cannot guarantee the anonymity of the author during the review process, even if they anonymise the submitted files (see review policy).
  • Should the submission be published, the authors are expected to update the information associated with the preprint version to show that a final version has been published in the journal, including the DOI linking directly to the publication.

ORCID

The journal strongly recommends that all authors submitting a paper register an account with Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID). Registration provides a unique and persistent digital identifier for the account that enables accurate attribution and improves the discoverability of published papers, ensuring that the correct author receives the correct credit for their work. As the ORCID remains the same throughout the lifetime of the account, changes of name, affiliation, or research area do not effect the discoverability of an author's past work and aid correspondence with colleagues.

The journal encourages all corresponding authors to include an ORCID within their submitting author data whilst co-authors are recommended to include one. ORCID numbers should be added to the author data upon submission and will be published alongside the submitted paper, should it be accepted.

Competing Interests, Funding and Ethics 

To ensure transparency, all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing interests guidelines can be viewed here.

In addition, authors are required to specify funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in the submitted manuscript (see Author Guidelines). All authors must confirm that they fit the definition of an author (see Authorship Guidelines), during submission.

Corrections and Retractions

The Press handles different kinds of error in accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), where applicable. All articles have their proofs checked prior to publication by the author/editor, which should ensure that content errors are not present. Please contact the editorial manager if you believe an article needs correcting.

Post-publication changes are not permitted to the publication, unless in exceptional circumstances. If an error is discovered in a published article then the publisher will assess whether a Correction paper or Retraction is required. This ensures that the error can be appropriately corrected, whilst the integrity of the publication record is not broken. Please contact the publisher for the full Correction/Retraction policy.

Misconduct and Complaints

Allegations of misconduct will be taken with utmost seriousness, regardless of whether those involved are internal or external to the journal, or whether the submission in question is pre- or post-publication. All reasonable steps will be taken to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication. If an allegation of misconduct is made to the journal, it must be immediately passed on to the publisher, who will follow guidelines from the Committee  on Publication Ethics (COPE) on how to address the nature of the problem. Should the matter involve allegations against a member of the journal or publishing team, an independent and objective individual(s) may be sought to lead the investigation.

Should an author wish to lodge a complaint against an editorial decision or the editorial process in general they should first approach the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, explaining their complaint and ask for a reasoned response. Should this not be forthcoming or inadequate, they should raise the matter with the publisher, who will investigate the nature of the complaint and act as arbiter on whether the complaint should be upheld and investigated further. This will follow guidelines set out by COPE.

Section Policies

Pre-registration

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Pre-registered study report

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Empirical paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Systematic review or meta-analysis

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Theoretical/debate paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Open Methods paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Design paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Editorial Policies for Reviewers

As a Health Psychology Bulletin reviewer, it is important to keep HPB’s specific profile in mind. One of the goals of HPB is to remedy the ‘File Drawer’: studies that remain unpublished and thereby distort effect size estimates through systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Another goal is to accelerate science by making sure all lessons that can be learnt are communicated in the literature. Because of this, HPB publishes all papers that communicate one or more of such lessons, such as reports of failed manipulations, null findings, and replications. This means that common reasons to reject papers in other journals are no grounds for rejection for HPB:

  • HPB does not reject papers because the study is insufficiently novel;
  • HPB does not reject papers because the manipulation failed to work;
  • HPB does not reject papers because the expected results were not obtained;
  • and HPB does not reject papers because a very similar study was recently published already. 

There should normally be only one reason to reject a paper, and that is if the authors refuse to revise the paper (on the basis of review comments) such that the conclusions are consistent with those that can be drawn based on the data. As a reviewer, therefore, important responsibilities are for example to:

  • Make sure that every weakness in the employed methodology is acknowledged as such and accurately described;
  • Make sure the analyses are appropriate given the research question(s);
  • Make sure the analyses are interpreted correctly, paying attention to for example:
    • Omitted effect size estimates;
    • Omitted confidence intervals;
    • Neglect to take the increased likelihood of making Type-1 errors, as more associations are examined, into account;
    • Important steps in the analysis that are not described;

In other words: HPB welcomes all reports of empirical research, but an important condition is accurate description of the methods and results. The focus is on learning what can be learned, as opposed to achieving a narrative consistent with a given theory.

In addition, the reviewing process is seen as a collaborative effort to optimize the quality of empirical reports. It is important to be constructive and civil. To promote this, as well as make it possible for reviewers to claim credit where appropriate, the review procedure will be unblinded upon completion, regardless of whether a paper is accepted or rejected. That means that reviewers agree, upon submission of their review, with the publication of their review on the HPB website.

The review procedure

For submissions that do warrant serious review, the HPB review process is two-tiered.

In the first tier, the introduction and methods sections are reviewed. In this tier, the reviewers focus on the clarity of the introduction, the justification of the design and operationalisations, and the proposed analyses. Note that in most cases, the data will already have been gathered, and therefore, it is most useful to comment upon the way the authors describe and justify their choices, rather than requesting, for example, the use of different operationalisations or sampling methods. Data gathered using inferior methods are not useless. They are less useful, but still of value from a meta-analytical perspective, if for no other reason than that they can help shed light on exactly how much less useful. Many scientific reports gain a lot in terms of usefulness if the readers have access to the original materials, both to facilitate replications and to prevent others from repeating the same errors. Therefore, in the first tier of the review process, also inspect the Replication Package, making sure it makes replication of the study relatively easy.

In the second tier, the results and discussion sections are submitted, as well as the Analysis Package, containing the raw data, analysis scripts, and relevant analysis output. In this tier of the review process, the emphasis is on optimizing the analyses and representing the outcomes of those analyses as accurately as possible. As a reviewer, an important responsibility in tier two is to make sure that the conclusions of the paper are consistent with the data. Some authors have preferred outcomes that they will try to ‘sell’ using the analysis outcomes, and it is important to prevent this from happening. Instead, encourage authors to stick to the data.

Ideally, the only reason HPB rejects papers is because authors refuse to conduct the appropriate analyses or to rewrite their discussion section to properly reflect their methodology (as designed and executed, which may be different) and/or the patterns in the data. This can happen if authors are unwilling to set aside preconceptions/preferences/hopes they had before they started collecting data.

Of course, in most cases authors, reviewers, and editors will be able to arrive at a manuscript that accurately reflects how the data were gathered and what can be concluded. In that case, the paper will be published, along with the review history.

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