What we are looking for
Without our contributors, we are nothing. Partly our approach is born out of necessity; we don't have a big team of staff writers, or much of a budget for freelancers. But more than that, it's a choice – there are other publications which feature psychology and psychologists, but we're fairly unique in the prominence we give to their own voices. That's important to us.
But it's not an easy way to fill our pages month after month, not to mention the website day after day! So we're constantly appealing to your better nature, for you give your time and knowledge in return for our support in reaching a very large and diverse audience (around 60,000 in print, and 1.5 million web users per year).
Elsewhere on this website we summarise our many formats and some general advice about writing for us. But we thought it might be useful to give specific emphases here, which we can periodically update.
In short, we're increasingly interested in promoting excellence in psychology, and you can help us in three ways:
1) Just get in touch. This has to be the main message: I'm always on the end of an email at [email protected] and if you're doing something in psychology which might engage and inform other psychologists (and many non-psychologists through our website), then more often than not there is something we can do to help. We feature lots of 'day in the life' type pieces with a personal angle leading into consideration of more professional issues; research overviews; opinion based articles; reviews, of books and psychology out there in 'culture'; interviews; historical pieces; and much more. The magazine itself is a good guide, but just drop me a line!
2) Tell us if you're a potential cover star! I'll be honest, over the years I think we've done pretty well at widening our pool of contributors to include many more starting out on their journey in psychology. This is important. But what we sometimes find harder to come by is pieces by those who are well-established in their field… those whose research or practice genuinely has the clout to carry one of our covers. If you think your research and practice has that potential, come forward, particularly if you've somehow managed to avoid featuring in our pages up til now! And if you know somebody else that fits the bill, tip-offs are always welcome.
3) Chip in when we put calls out for special features. From time to time we put out calls – mostly on Twitter @psychmag – for contributors to special features, aiming to represent all corners of the discipline. Here are some ongoing examples, which I will amend from time to time:
a) Is it possible for us to write a feature on 'the psychology of the night' without mentioning sleep? We would like to hear your ideas for angles, relevant research etc.
b) Schooling the good citizen: Increasingly, our nation’s schools are being asked to take a prominent role in tackling major societal concerns. They are tasked with shaping the healthy, happy and harmonious citizens of the future. If a whole generation can be schooled way beyond the ‘3 R’s’ – addressing issues such as racism, obesity, gender, mental health, knife crime and more – might we be able to consign such pernicious ills to the history books? We would like to hear from the psychologists drawing on theory, research and practice to deliver in a school environment. What are they doing, how are they overcoming challenges, and is it working?
c) Can you write about the 'marvellous mundane': the banal, trivial, everyday, overlooked, seemingly inconsequential things, which actually reveal bigger truths when you delve into them? I'd love to hear your ideas around that: areas of psychological research or practice that you can scarcely believe someone has bothered to look into, a tiny tatty thread that you pull on and everything unravels. Similarly, we're interested in 'Something about nothing': areas of psychology and life which are defined by an absence, inactivity, by not doing or being something?
e) Do you have a 'lost finding', and might it tell us something about the way forward for psychology?
f) What is 'psychology's non-stick frying pan'? Physical objects which serve as demonstrations of psychology's contribution to the world.
g) Halloween special. Might you have an interesting take on the spooky or otherworldly? In particular, we're always considering a feature on 'Surviving the zombie apocalypse'.
h) What are the 'hot topics' psychology should be focusing on in the next few years? Areas where we can be making a real impact, or should be.
i) What makes for a good scientific collaboration? We would like to hear from pairs of researchers/practitioners about what has made their partnership productive, the highs and lows, tips for others etc.
j) Why do we need psychology, and what does psychology need? That's this year's question for our new 'VIP Programme' to identify and nurture new writing talent in psychology.
These are just a few current ideas, mostly at the not-so-serious end of what we do. Writing for us should be fun. We'll make it worth your while! And if you don't want to actually write it, we've always got the option of a chat with me or our journalist.
So do get in touch, please! We're growing all the time but we're looking to improve as well, and we're currently seeking your views in a reader survey to help us do just that. We can't do it without you.
Dr Jon Sutton
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