Policies and Publication Ethics

To ensure ethical standards and best practices of scholarly publishing, Social Psychological Bulletin (SPB) has implemented a set of editorial policies as guidance for

As part of the PsychOpen GOLD journal platform (operated by the Leibniz Institute for Psychology, ZPID), SPB follows common policies for PsychOpen GOLD journals, adapted as necessary to the specific article types and content published by SPB.

1. Journal Managment and Publishing Policies

  • Open Access Policy

    Social Psychological Bulletin (SPB) provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. SPB also charges no author fee for submission or publication of papers.

  • Copyright

    Authors who publish with SPB agree to the following terms: Articles are published under the  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). Under the CC BY license, authors retain ownership of the copyright for their article, but authors grant others permission to use the content of publications in SPB in whole or in part provided that the original work is properly cited. Users (redistributors) of SPB are required to cite the original source, including the author's names, SPB as the initial source of publication, year of publication, volume number and DOI (if available).

    Authors may publish the manuscript in any other journal or medium but any such subsequent publication must include a notice that the manuscript was initially published by SPB.

    Authors grant SPB the right of first publication. Although authors remain the copyright owner, they grant the journal the irrevocable, nonexclusive rights to publish, reproduce, publicly distribute and display, and transmit their article or portions thereof in any manner.

  • Permanency of Content

    In accordance with widely accepted standards of scholarly publishing SPB generally does not alter articles after publication: "Articles that have been published should remain extant, exact and unaltered to the maximum extent possible" (STM, 2006. Preservation of the objective record of science). In cases of serious errors or (suspected) misconduct, SPB publishes corrections, expressions of concern and retractions (see below).

    Corrections. When serious errors become apparent after the publication of an article, SPB publishes a correction note. Serious errors may be incorrectly reported results, but may also be errors that significantly impede the understanding or evaluation of the results. These errors must not invalidate the article as a whole (which would result in a retraction). The editor(s), in consultation with the author(s), will decide whether serious errors exist. If an error is found to be serious in this way, the journal publishes a correction note that is linked to the article. In addition, readers who have downloaded the article proir to the publication of the correction will be notified of the correction via the Crossmark mechanism. In generall, the original, published article itself remains unchanged. Only in very rare exceptional cases (e.g., if an article was published without figures due to a production error) may a corrected article version be republished. This is usually indicated in the Article History by a corresponding additional publication date for the "corrected version of record" (cVoR) and described in a Publisher Note.

    Retractions and Expressions of Concern. In accordance with the "Retraction Guidelines" by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) SPB will retract a published article if

    • significant parts of the findings prove to be unreliable due to honest error (e.g., miscalculation);
    • the article, in whole or in part, is based on scientific misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication or falsification of data or results, unauthorized use of data or materials, copyright infingement or other serious legal issues;
    • the peer review process has been compromised or manipulated, or the author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest that, in the view of the editor, may have had an impact on the reviewer recommendations or editor decision; 
    • the findings have previously been published elsewhere without disclosure to the editor and proper crossreferencing;
    • the article reports unethical research.

    An article is retracted by SPB publishing a retraction note. Apart from rare exceptions (e.g., copyright infringement), retracted articles remain online. To prevent results of the retracted article from being considered in future research SPB takes various measures to clearly identify a retracted article as such (e.g., by linking the retraction note to the article and vice versa and by adding an appropriate watermark to the article PDF). In addition, readers who have downloaded the article proir to the publication of the retraction note will be notified of the retraction via the Crossmark mechanism.

    If an investigation is underway that might result in the retraction of an article, SPB may choose to alert readers by publishing an expression of concern.

    Alerting Readers to Changes. SPB uses Crossref’s Crossmark service to notify readers of significant changes to articles after they are published. By clicking the Crossmark button embedded in article web pages and PDF files, readers can retrieve information about post-publication corrections, retractions, additions of supplementary materials, or new article versions. By participating in Crossmark, SPB (through its publisher PsychOpen GOLD) agrees to maintain its content and promptly register any updates.

  • Allegations of Research Misconduct

    Allegations of research misconduct should be address (anonymous or non-anonymous) to the editors-in-chief (editors@spb.psychopen.eu). If the Editors-in-Chief decide that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim they will investigate it following the appropriate guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). In any case, the Journal will protect the Whistleblower's identity.

  • Plagiarism Screening

    Crossref Similarity Check logo

    SPB uses Crossref’s Similarity Check service to screen articles for originality. Prior to publication, SPB articles are checkecd against a huge corpus of published research papers (including open access as well as restricted/payed articles), online documents, and other sources. Based on a detailed Similaity Report editor(s) are able to evaluate the originality of the manuscript and prevent publication of plagiasized content. Read more at Crossresf's Similarity Check & Reseachers page.

  • Archiving

    This journal ensures the long-term availability of its contents by partnering with CLOCKSS. CLOCKSS system has permission to ingest, preserve, and serve this Archival Unit.

  • Complaints and Appeals

    Complaints, critisicm, or feedback about management, services, policies etc. should be send to the Editors-in-Chief (editors@spb.psychopen.eu). Complains against reviewers or handling editors and appeals against final editor decisions should also be send to the editors-in-chief (editors@spb.psychopen.eu). An editor-in-chief will consult the case with the reviewers and the handling editor and – if necessary – other members of the editorial team. Complains against editors-in-chief can be addressed to the president of the Polish Social Psychological Society (PSPS), Tomasz Grzyb (tgrzyb@swps.edu.pl). (SPB is the official academic journal of the PSPS.) The PSPS President can then set up a committee of inquiry that will analyse the case more carefully and make a final decision.

  • Confidential Data and Privacy

    The Journal collects data only to fulfill the standard functioning of peer-reviewed journals. Read SPB's Privacy Statement

2. Author Policies

  • Authorship

    Authorship is an important concept in scholarly publishing implying credit and accountability. Therefore transparent and widly shared standards for authorship are needed.

    Responsibility of Each Author. SPB adopts the following statement of authorship by McNutta et al. (2018) which is based on a similar statement develped by th International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). It is expected that the following authorship standards will be met by SPB authors:

    Each author is expected

    1. to have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work; or have drafted the work or substantively revised it;
    2. to have approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author’s contribution to the study);
    3. to have agreed both
      • to be personally accountable for the author’s own contributions
      • to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.

    (see McNutta et al., 2018)

    Transparency about the specific contributions of each author is encouraged. This can be achieved by a CRediT author statement (assistence in creating such a statement is provided by the tenzing tool).

    Responsibility of the Corresponding Author. For every submission one author has to be assigned as Corresponding Author. The responsibility of the Corresponding Author is :

    1. ensuring that all listed authors have approved the manuscript before submission
    2. ensuring that all authors receive the submission and all substantive correspondence with editors, as well as the full reviews
    3. verifying that all data, materials, and code, even those developed or provided by other authors, comply with the transparency and reproducibility standards of both the field and journal (see SPB’s implementation of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines).

    (see McNutta et al., 2018)

    Acknowledging Non-Author Contributions. Any personal, non-financial support to the published work that do not quailfy an individual for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements statement of the paper (provided that the individual agrees to be acknowledged).

  • Originality of Submissions and Related Publications of the Authors

    SPB publishes original research which has not been previously published elsewhere. Previous or concurrent publications of the author(s) based on the same or closely related research must be properly acknowledged and cited. It is made clear in the manuscript in which way(s) it represents a novel contribution to warrant consideration for publication in SPB (no redundant or piecemeal publications). Note: Replications of previous work are explicitly welcomed if identified as such.

    The authors acknowledge and properly cite all sources used in writing their paper and in conducting the research presented in the paper. SPB uses software to screen submitted content for originality (plagiarism check). 

  • Preprint Policy

    Prior to submitting their article and prior to acceptance and publication in SPB, authors may make their submissions available as preprints on personal or public websites. Preprints are versions of the submitted article before peer-review (or other quality assurance procedure as part of the publication process). Published conference papers, presentations, posters etc. are considered preprints, provided they are not published in a peer-reviewed conference proceeding.

  • Transparency and Reproducibility

    SPB takes transparent, reproducible, and open science very seriously. Therefore, SPB has committed itself to implement the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines comprising eight transparency standards. Upon submission of a paper, authors will have to confirm that they have included appropriate statements (e.g., about the availability of data, code, materials, other documents, preregistrations) within their papers, and all papers will be checked regarding their adherence to the journal's adopted TOP standards. For details visit our Open Science page including TOP Implementation Guidelines for Authors.

  • Competing Interests and Financial or Non-Financial Support

    Competing Interests of the Authors. Research (study design, research methods, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results) may be influenced by financial or non-financial interests and relationships of the authors. Therefore, authors have to disclose any possible competing interests that editors, reviewers or readers may reasonably want to know for evaluating the research. The authors' relationship to the journal, such as when editors publish their own research in their journal, should also be disclosed, as should any editorial role (if any) the authors have held during the editorial process of their article.

    • If no competing interests are declared, the authors agree to the following statement: "The authors have declared that no competing interests exist."

    Funding/Financial Support. In order to recognize the contributions of funders, increase research transparency and disclose possible competing interests of authors, all sources of research funding must be disclosed. Specificall, authors must disclosed if reserach funders or sponsors have interfered in any way with the research process (study design, methods, analysis, interpretation, reporting).

    • If there are no funding/financial sources reported, the authors agree to the following statement: "The authors have no funding to report."

    Acknowledgements/Non-Financial Support. Any non-financial support from other persons or organizations that do not qualify for authorship but have made a valuable contribution to the research or the preparation of the article should be acknowledged. For example, the support may have consisted of statistical or mathematical advice, software training, help with graphics, assistance with data collection, proofreading, etc. Supporters may be named personally or in a anonymized form (whichever the supporters prefer).

    • If there are no such sources reported, the authors agree to the following statement: "The authors have no additional (i.e., non-financial) support to report."
  • Research Involving Human and Animal Participants; Research Involving Children, Adolescents, and Vulnerable or Incapacitated Study Participants

    All manuscripts reporting studies that involve human or animal participants must include an ethics statement that provides the following information:

    • Confirmation that the research adheres to recognized ethical standards (e.g., APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Declaration of Helsinki). The respective standard must be properly cited.
    • Confirmation that guidelines are followed as required by the affiliated institution(s) in which any of the authors are affiliated with (this pertains to all authors). If these guidelines require approval by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or by an equivalent ethics committee, confirmation that the study was approved by the respective committee (include the name of the awarding body and a reference number if available). If the study has been granted exemption from requiring ethics approval, indicate the committee that granted exemption and clearly state the reasons.
    • (Only in case of human participants.) Confirmation that participants were properly instructed and that they gave informed consent. Authors are responsible for ensuring that human research participants' anonymity is carefully protected. Authors are also responsible for following the guidelines for experimental studies with human participants as required by the affiliated institution(s) to which each of the authors is affiliated, this pertains to all authors.
    • (Only in case of vulnerable populations.) If the study examined vulnerable populations (individuals who are unable to give full informed consent themselves), the authors must confirm in the manuscript that written informed consent was obtained from the parents or guardians. The age of majority for this purpose is determined by the country in which the study participants live (usually between 16 and 18 years of age). If no written informed consent was obtained, but only oral informed consent, the authors must indicate and justify this in the manuscript.

    Example 1.

    This research was approved by the Research Ethics Board at Carleton University (File 2022-456). All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (2013).

    Example 2.

    At the time these studies were conducted, our faculty had no Internal Review Board to grant ethical approval. However, we certify that the research adhered to the ethical principles of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010). Informed consent was attained by asking participants to continue only if they were willing to participate and if they had read and understood the instructions and information provided. Participants were told that participation was voluntary and that they had the right to withdraw from the study at any time. Upon completion of the study, participants were fully debriefed. The data were anonymized and treated confidentially.

    Example 3.

    Our research did not rely on personal-identifying data which forms an exception form ethics approval under the Norwegian Law (Norsk Senter for Forskningsdata). Therefore, no ethics approval has been required. Informed consent was obtained from all participants.

    Example 4.

    The study doesn’t require ethical review because it involves observation of people in public places where no intervention was staged by the researcher; the individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy and dissemination of research results does not allow identification of specific individuals.

3. Reviewer Policies

  • Competing Interests of the Reviewers

    Invited reviewers are asked to disclose potential competing interests before agreeing to review a paper. Sources of possible competing interests are manifold: personal, social, professional, or financial  (e.g., mentor-mentee relationships, research collaborations, working at the same institution, business relationships, competition for funding). But also political, religious or ideological reasons might impair an unbiased evaluation of the research. Even if author names are blinded, reviewers possibly know or guess who is doing this research which in turn could result in competing interests.

  • Confidentiality and Trustworthiness

    Reviewers must treat any document and information obtained through peer review strictly confidential and must respect the intellectual property of the authors.

  • Principles of Good Practice

    • Reliability. Reviewers should accept a reviewing request only if they are able to complete the review within the deadline set by the journal. If they need more time this should be clarified with the journal editors before accepting to review.
    • Competency. Reviewers should accept an reviewing request only if they have the required expertise. If they think that they are qualified to review only some (substantial) parts of the paper this should be clearly indicated in the review.
    • Respectfulness. Reviewer comments should be respectful, non-offensive, and focused on content. See the Reviewer Guidelines for suggestions on important aspects to consider when writing a review.

4. Editor Policies

  • Competing Interests of the Editors

    Editors should not handle articles where financial or non-financial competing interests might influence their actions and decisions. Editors can publish articles in their own journal but should not be involved or intervened in any form in the peer review and decision-making process. If an SPB editor is an (co-)author of a submitted paper (that is subject to peer-review), then the editor-in-chief will ensure that the paper is assigned to a guest handling editor, i.e., a handling editor who is not an associate editor or editors-in-chief. In addition, this (co-)author's affiliation with the journal and his/her (lack of) involvement in the peer review of the submission will be disclosed in the declaration of Competing Interests.

  • Confidentiality and Trustworthiness

    Editors must treat any document and information submitted to the journal strictly confidential and must respect the intellectual property of authors and reviewers.

  • Diversity and Inclusion

    SPB recognizes that scientific innovation and quality of ideas benefit greatly from the inclusion of diverse perspectives representing both diversity in the world and in our field. In order to facilitate an open and inclusive community of researchers we implement several initiatives (and we invite suggestions for more improvement).

    • First, monitoring the extent to which the composition of the editorial board and the reviewer pool reflects the diversity of perspectives in terms of gender and geographical region helps us evaluate the progress on the goal toward greater inclusiveness.
    • In order to broaden the reviewer pool we invite researchers interested in joining us in this role to contact the journal (editors@spb.psychopen.eu).
    • To create an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone we ask authors, reviewers, and editors to pay attention to bias-free language. In doing so, we recommend following the Inclusive Language Guidelines and recommendations on Bias-Free Language by the American Psychological Association.
    • Finally, we fully understand that communicating research becomes more challenging when using English as the second language. In order to support authors who are non-native English speakers we offer proofreading of the accepted papers. We hope that by doing so we can help researchers of various backgrounds overcome at least some of the barriers that might prevent them from sharing their research.