About our redesign

Dr Paul Redford (Chair, Psychologist Policy Commitee) and Dr Jon Sutton (Editor) explain the thinking behind the latest changes.
Time is the devourer of all things - so runs one interpretation of our January cover image. Goya’s painting depicts Saturn, driven wild by the act of killing and devouring his own son in order to safeguard his position of power. Nine years have passed since the last redesign of The Psychologist: let’s hope we survive the latest transition with our sanity, while cementing our position as the publication for psychologists.

The changes are not simply cosmetic. We have tried to emphasise, in design and content terms, unity within diversity - both of the profession and of the material available to the editor. Several new formats celebrate common ground and create a fully integrated ‘one-stop’.

For example, we have introduced a ‘Looking back’ section - stories and lessons from the history of psychology. A ‘Methods’ section, due in the coming months, will aim to cover developments and applications in methods and ethics in their broadest sense. A ‘teaching and learning’ section, also due in the coming months, will cover issues of importance for how we bring on the next generation of psychologists. The final ‘one on one’ page poses some key questions for major figures in the world of psychology - we think this is a great example of how The Psychologist can engage and inform at the same time.

In response to reader feedback we have moved the President’s column to open the Society section, emphasising its role in communicating the latest work of the Society. Letters have moved to the back end, to distribute the most popular material throughout the publication and to give us more flexibility in production. Media has moved to the end of news, as there is often considerable overlap between the two. We are hoping to carry more features by our staff journalist and other freelancers - we hope you’ll agree that the latest of these shows that this is a great way to present the diverse views of psychologists from across the discipline, in a timely fashion.

You may notice that some things have gone altogether. We felt that there was simply too much dead weight in subsystem notices, diary and books received - these made up several pages which our research suggested most readers would not miss. Perhaps more importantly, in the internet / email age we felt that there were decent alternative ways to fulfil these functions. A range of options are still available to Society subsystems, not least the chance of actually having more space in the Society pages for events and developments with genuine cross-subsystem appeal. Advertisers can flag up their events in print and online for very reasonable prices. And we will be carrying a full list of books received, along with extra reviews, here on the website.

The Student page is perhaps the most notable absentee. The bottom line here is that we were struggling to fill it with appropriate material each month, and that any such material is still likely to find a home in the future, particularly in our new careers, teaching and learning and methods formats. If it’s good enough, it’s no longer confined to the ghetto of the student page, which perhaps sent out the message ‘only read this if you are a student’.

Oh, and we now incorporate Psychologist Appointments. Partly this is a financial decision in an extremely difficult and competitive climate of advertising; but mainly it is in response to reader research, and it reflects the drive to create a fully integrated, one-stop shop for all that is new and good in the world of psychology. Since the careers-related articles were added to the Psychologist Appointments supplement, it seems too good to throwaway. For those of you concerned about the extra storage on your shelves, don’t be - with a couple of decent book ends, you’re only talking a couple of extra centimetres a year.

In terms of the main, ‘expert review’ articles, changes to the way we present them aim to emphasise that this is the more ‘journal-esque’ material, in that it has been through a peer-review process. However, as always the main aim is to engage the interest of a wide audience; to give busy readers a take-home message and further resources to follow up in their own time; and to ensure the knowledge contained in the article is discussed and disseminated. To support this final aim, we have introduced an ‘abstract’ panel which will now be picked up by the online abstracting services.

This should ensure that our authors’ work spreads as far and wide as possible. With an average issue readership of over 57,000, press releases and licensing deals with similar French and Polish publications, The Psychologist is quite simply the best place to reach a large audience of your peers. Many authors comment favourably on the experience in terms of the useful contacts it brought them.

So don’t wait to be asked, write for us now. The Psychologist relies on your contributions, there are formats to suit all angles and levels of input, and a supportive editorial process to ensure that your message is presented in an appropriate and effective manner.

Perhaps the main message is that The Psychologist remains your publication, and we need your contributions and feedback.

Back to our January cover image. As Old Father Time, Saturn is both builder and destroyer. In ancient cosmology, Saturn was feared as a bringer of pestilence. Let’s hope that in our case he heralds a rather brighter future, in which our editorial team and members work together to build a publication that everyone can be proud of.

Dr Paul Redford (Chair, The Psychologist Policy Committee)
Dr Jon Sutton (Managing editor)

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