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Feature Story 

Creating an Open-Access, Practitioner-Friendly, Scientific Journal for I-O Psychology: The Case of Personnel Assessment and Decisions (PAD)

Scott Highhouse
Bowling Green State University

Dennis Doverspike
Doverspike Consulting

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In 2015, we launched a new journal, Personnel Assessment and Decisions (http://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/pad/). We strived to create a new journal that would: (1) counter the trend away from practical scientific research; (2) be no cost to authors and readers; (3) ease the burden on reviewers; (4) publish shorter and more accessible articles; and, 5) begin to respond to calls for changes in the basic nature of the publication enterprise (see Highhouse, 2015). So far, we believe that we are aligned with these goals. It is free to read and publish in the journal. The articles are of interest to both researchers and practitioners. Reviewers are asked to focus on only major, substantive issues in the first round of review. The articles are brief (maximum 4000 words), and readable. Of course, changing the nature of the research and publication process is a much longer term goal.

Here is the most recent issue published on June 1:

  • Communicating Criterion-Related Validity Using Expectancy Charts: A New Approach. Cucina, J. M., Berger, J. L., and Busciglio, H. H.

  • Stop Interrupting Me! Examining the Relationship Between Interruptions, Test Performance, and Reactions. Lawrence, A. D., Kinney, T. B.; O'Connell, M. S., and Delgado, K. M. 

  • Using O*NET to Develop a Framework of Job Characteristics to Potentially Improve the Predictive Validity of Personality Measures. Burrus, J., and Way, J. D.

  • Timeliness Is key to the candidate experience. Ryan, A. M., Ali, A. A., Hauer, T., and French-Vitet, J.

  • Video Killed the Interview Star: Does Picture-in-Picture Affect Interview Performance? Horn, R. G. and Behrend, T. S.

It is notable that 11 of the 14 authors in this most recent issue currently occupy practitioner roles. We believe that we have broken through the ivory ceiling with PAD!

We must confess, however, that there are some challenges involved with starting a new journal—especially an open-access one. The philosophy behind open access is the unrestricted online availability of scholarly research. Whereas scholarly journals were traditionally available only to those affiliated with libraries able to afford subscription costs associated with for-profit journals, open-access journals are available to nonacademic professionals and to academics in third-world countries. Despite the good intentions of open access, however, people remain skeptical of online journals. We suspect that people are aware of predatory journals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_open_access_publishing) and erroneously lump open-access journals into the same category.

A related issue is that many people think open access means that all submissions will be published regardless of quality. In fact, we have a rigorous review process, with a great group of regular reviewers who are asked to conduct focused, expedited reviews that focus on the major points in a constructive manner. 

This initial skepticism can make it difficult to recruit distinguished scholars to serve on open access editorial boards and can make it difficult to generate submissions. For PAD, a major breakthrough was persuading Neal Schmitt to sign on as an associate editor. Once Neal took the leap of faith, it was smooth sailing recruiting the other distinguished associate editors: Sasha Chernyshenko, Mikki Hebl, Cornelius König, Nathan Kuncel, Dan Putka, and Mike Zickar.

Another challenge associated with open-access publishing is the cost associated with a manuscript management system, as well as the labor involved with copyediting and formatting. In the case of PAD, we had a number of avenues of support. First, the BGSU library provided us with the platform to host the journal and the Psychology Department supported a graduate student who served as the journal’s editorial assistant. Finally, financial support for copyediting was provided by the International Personnel Assessment Council (IPAC), in part by a gift from Harry Brull and Myra Barrett. Although this sounds daunting, there are highly successful open access journals operating with less fancy platforms (e.g., http://journal.sjdm.org).

It will take time for PAD to establish an impressive impact factor, and we do not expect to immediately jump onto the “A” list. We can promise, however, that the journal contents will reach an international audience, a built-in practitioner base, and an audience of peers with similar research interests. Visibility among one’s relevant constituency should be an important factor in choosing an outlet—in many cases, it trumps impact factor.

We hope that the initial success of PAD will inspire others to consider introducing open access journals in areas where there is a void or niche need. We could envision future journals focused on other topics of interest to researchers and practitioners in I-O (e.g., attitude measurement and change). We also want to encourage readers to submit their work to PAD for publication consideration. In addition to general research articles, the journal has a section devoted to measurement issues and a section for research-based innovations in practice. We are also willing to consider ideas for alternative types of research articles or publishing formats. I-O psychology needs new publishing models. We believe PAD is one such model.

Reference

Highhouse, S. (2015). Editorial: Why a new journal?, Personnel Assessment and Decisions 1(1), Article 1. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/pad/vol1/iss1/1