Academic journal, Psychology, Social Psychology

Introducing the Journal of Psychosocial Studies

We continue to introduce journals on which the School’s academics have editorial roles. Dr David W Jones, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, introduces the Journal of Psychosocial Studies.

I am the Joint Editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies, with Liz Frost (at University of West of England) (https://people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/ElizabethFrost). As Editors, our job is to take initial views of submitted articles then seek appropriate reviewers, liaising with the Editorial board to do that. We also steered the journal from being an informal on-line publication to one that has been adopted by a publisher – Policy Press, in 2019. 

The recognition of the journal by a publisher was the fruition of the labour of love of a group of people over many years. A number of us in various institutions (including the Open University)  had for a couple of decades been using the term ‘Psychosocial Studies’ to describe what we did. In 2014, we formed the Association for Psychosocial Studies http://www.psychosocial-studies-association.org/. It has a formal membership, constitution and is recognised by the Academy for Social Sciences

 We take the view that the hard divide between psychology and other human science disciplines has not been helpful to the development of our understanding of ourselves and our social worlds. Psychosocial Studies is therefore a transdisciplinary area of enquiry, drawing insight from sociology, history, cultural studies, etc  as well as psychology. It has always incorporated a commitment to include the work of those in practice (working with people), particularly those involved in the various forms of psychotherapy, social work, criminal justice and youth work. The psychological models used in Psychosocial Studies tend to be those more sympathetic to the work of practice, as well as to translation across disciplinary boundaries where methodologies that are less dependent on positivistic assumptions are more common. Psychoanalytic thinking has often been a characteristic of Psychosocial Studies, but is not obligatory. 

Liz and I jointly edited the on-line only version of the journal (published on the APS website) and had long discussions with Policy Press over a couple of years which led to their adopting the journal and publishing it in print and electronically through university libraries. It is early days for us as we are only just beginning our second year as a formally published journal, but we can see both the costs and benefits of such a move. 

The benefits of being formally published are that it is good for the profile of our work, it encourages people to publish with us as the work is more likely to be formally recognised as published in a peer review journal. We also have some of the work – like copy-editing and proof reading – done for us now! 

The biggest cost is that the journal is no longer freely available. It can be accessed through the libraries of universities (and other organisations) if they pay for subscription*. It is also available for members of the APS – and we make sure that we have a low cost membership for those on low income or who are still students. 

We have also lost some flexibility as publishing on a website allowed us more freedom to publish art and images, for example. We still want to encourage people to submit work that does not conform to the normal strictures of an academic article, so we have an ‘open space’ feature that allows for shorter, less formal and more expressive work to be published. We are keen to encourage a variety of voices and also we welcome submissions from students. We aim to have a constructive review process that will support authors to get their work published.   

The re-launch edition consisted of 14 articles, commissioned from five continents as we want to encourage Psychosocial Studies as a broad and global endeavour. 

*Open University staff and students can access the Journal of Psychosocial Studies through the OU library.

The journal website can be accessed here:    https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/journals/journal-of-psychosocial-studies

Read about David Jones’ work here http://www.open.ac.uk/people/dwj88

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