H P B   F A Q

Health Psychology Bulletin (HPB) is a disruptive open access journal that encourages full disclosure and explicitly welcomes both direct and conceptual replications, null findings, reports of failed manipulations, as well as empirical papers and reviews. HPB is specifically designed to address some problems in the way health psychology research is traditionally published. Because of these innovations, the journal has this dedicated Frequently Asked Questions page.


  • Which papers can I submit to HPB?
    All academic papers can be submitted to HPB. HPB explicitly welcomes reports of null findings, reports of failed manipulations, reports of studies where circumstances prevented collection of sufficient datapoints as dictated by the power analyses, reports of direct as well as conceptual replications, but also ‘regular’ empirical, theoretical, and review papers. Note, however, that the EHPS also publishes Psychology & Health and Health Psychology Review, which may be a better fit. 
  • How much are the Article Processing Costs (APC)?
    The APC is €400 for EHPS members (the first author must be an EHPS member) and €500 for papers where the first author is not an EHPS member. 
  • I did a study with four authors. The first author is the only one who happens to not be an EHPS member. Can we get the discount anyway, because after all, three of us are EHPS members?
    No, sorry. Note, however, that membership is only €75 and has many advantages besides the APC discount, so becoming a member is a clear win-win. 
  • Which papers are likely to be accepted?
    HPB’s vision is that once data have been collected, the scientific community has the duty to publish them. Thus, as long as the paper is reported ‘ruthlessly honestly’, and all methodological flaws are named, discussed, and the conclusions are consistent with what the data permits, the paper should normally get accepted. 
  • What about papers where the data is not published alongside the paper?
    If authors are unable to fully disclose (i.e. publish the replication package (questionnaires, stimuli, source code, protocols etc) and the analysis package (data, analysis scripts, output, etc) alongside the paper), the probability of the paper being rejected is larger. Still, however, the manuscript can in itself prove useful enough to warrant publication as judged by the reviewers and editors. However, authors should always make every effort to comply with the full disclosure policy. 
  • Does HPB provide copy-editing services?
    No, HPB does not provide copy-editing. This responsibility lies with the authors. Editors will point out to authors if a manuscript requires additional copy-editing. If you would like professional copy-editing, your editor will be able to put you in touch with somebody at the publisher (Ubiquity Press), who can then recommend a service, should you require such a recommendation.


  • So HPB’s vision is that all data should be published. Really all data? How about data collected for education, e.g. in a course?
    Well, HPB does not force researchers to submit data that they themselves do not think are worth publishing. At the same time, it would be arrogant to assume that anybody currently knows with certainty which data will be interesting in 10 or 20 years. Meta-analysts may be able to answer research questions that we currently cannot conceive yet with data that we currently do not deem very interesting. In addition, even when collecting data for education, e.g. in a course, why collect data that is useless? And – when exactly can one be certain data are useless in the first place? In fact, some codes of conduct that researchers must comply with, such as the code of ethics for research in the social and behavioural sciences involving human subjects that all Dutch researchers must follow, provide for this. This code states: “A positive review of the research protocol shall be obtained only if [i]t is reasonably plausible that the scientific research will lead to relevant insights in the field of the social and behavioural sciences.5“, and this footnote reads “5 Including research that is executed within the context of education with students as participants.” Of course, this can be interpreted by ethical committees and institutional review boards; but the underlying principle that the assessment of whether data is worth collecintg should lie ‘at the gate’ seems sensible. Thus, the position of HPB is that ethical committees and institutional review boards determine which data collection efforts are worthwhile; and therefore, all data, once collected, may lead to relevant insights, and therefore warrants publication.


  • How does one compile an analysis package for qualitative research? After all, transcripts often contain identifying information.
    Regarding qualitative research, an analysis package ideally contains 1) anonymised transcripts (or other sources, e.g. photographs); 2) the coding structure that the researchers arrived at, or, if coding happened independently, all coding structures that were generated; 3) the fragments that were coded with each code. If it is not possible to anonymise the transcripts, these can be omitted. In that case, only the coding structures and the coded fragments are included. If the coded fragments are also not anonymisable, only the coding structures are included. Note that in many countries, anonymising qualitative data as soon as possible is simply considered due diligence from a legal perspective. In other words, researchers have the responsibility to anonymise their qualitative data as soon as possible, regardless of any plans to publish them. After all, identifying information is rarely of scientific interest, but may pose risks to the participants if ever made public through human error or malice. In addition, many ethical committees and institutional review boards requires researchers to have data management plans that address this anonymisation phase.


  • In which bibliographic databases is HPB indexed?
    Currently, HPB is indexed by Google Scholar, CrossRef, JISC KB+, SHERPA RoMEO, and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), as well as being available for harvesting via OAI-PMH. For more information, see http://www.healthpsychologybulletin.com/about/.
    In addition, we aim to have HPB indexed in PsycINFO, PubMed Central, and Web of Science as well. PsycINFO indexing will be requested when 20 articles have been published; PubMed Central indexing when 50 articles have been published; and Web of Science indexing can be requested once HPB has published at least 12 articles a year for two consecutive years. Therefore, the speed with which HPB will be indexed more widely is a function of the number of submissions (and ultimately, publications) HPB receives.


  • HPB’s vision is that once data have been collected, the scientific community has the duty to publish them. Does this mean that I can never reject an empirical paper?
    No. You can definitely reject a paper – just not on the basis of the study outcomes, or even on the basis of flawed methodology. However, it is your task as a reviewer to work with the authors (in a collaborative reviewing procedure) to make sure the final article is completely transparent, honest, and integrous. Many authors have a habit of trying to ‘polish’ their manuscripts, to make studies seem like they were conducted flawlessly. Editors and reviewers often do not demand authors to expose all weak points of a study. However, at HPB, that is exactly the point. Every report should explicitly discuss everything that can be learned from the study. Thus, if a study has flawed methodology, work with the authors to make sure all those flaws are explicitly discussed. This means that many papers will not be able to draw any conclusions; instead their main contribution to the field will be a list of lessons for future research. However, the vision of HPB is that these contributions are much more valuable than conclusions that crumble on close scrutiny. This means that the only reason to reject a paper is if the authors refuse to write up their report with completely integrity. They may refuse to conduct certain analyses; they may refuse to disclose certain procedural problems; or they may refuse to remove or alter some conclusions in their discussion. In HPB, such cases are the main grounds for rejection. 
  • If HPB in principle accepts all papers that were reported transparently and with integrity, isn’t the workload for reviewers and editors huge?
    The HPB editorial procedures are designed to make sure the editorial and reviewing capacity automatically scales upwards as submissions increase. For example, the reviewer pool is automatically extended as more papers are submitted, as authors who submit papers automatically become reviewers. Because all reviews become public, reviewers can be evalauted and invited to become exeuctive editors on the basis of their reviewing quality. In addition, the system with executive editors and senior editors enables executive editors to acquire extensive editing experience under ‘supervision’ of the senior editors, thereby providing a convenient pool of prospective senior editors. So the answer should be no: the workload should remain very manageable. 
  • How many papers will HPB publish per year? Or more relevantly: how many papers should I expect to edit/review as editor/reviewer?
    We have no idea. This journal is so different from other journals that it’s very hard to predict. Ideally, many researchers will submit ‘file drawered’ papers, so in theory, we could get many submissions. On the other hand, it’s hard to predict how fast the journal will become known to people, and whether people will want to invest time in submitting a paper they may have ‘file drawered’ years or decades ago, especially as the journal does not have an impact factor (yet). The journal may be (but will not necessarily be) terminated if fewer than 6 articles are accepted and fewer than 6 further articles are under review before April 2017, or when HPB publishes less than 24 articles in 24 months. And another recently started OA journal, Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine, published around 75 articles in it’s first full year. Therefore, something around 5 papers a month seems a reasonable educated guess, which means that reviewers (which includes the entire editorial board) would be expected to review around 1-2 papers per year, and editors would edit about 2-4 papers per year.

For more information, see the HPB website.