New developments appear rapidly in unpredictable places. How can we stay up to date on these advances? In an earlier era, we subscribed to a small number of journals and read the tables of contents of a few more. This strategy covered most major developments in one’s field. Those days are over.
Increasingly, groundbreaking new discoveries are published in general science, high impact outlets. The discoveries cover all domains of science, which makes finding topics of most interest to you like searching for a needle in a haystack. Technological innovations have also contributed to the fragmentation of scholarly sources. Google Scholar “knows” what I like to read (although Google appears to be leveraging this valuable resource as a way to make more Google Scholar profiles public). Google Scholar finds articles for me in journals that I didn’t even know existed. People follow threads of citations, taking them to a diverse array of outlets. How are we to cope with the challenges associated with finding the latest developments, which appear in general and specialized journals?
To address this conundrum, the Psychonomic Society’s journal Learning & Behavior under my editorship has launched a new section of the journal to provide an outlook on the field and a venue for discussion of the most exciting current research on aspects of learning and behavior.
Each Outlook paper is an invited, brief, and readable paper, allowing readers to stay up to date on the latest findings, trends, groundbreaking developments, and new ideas. Outlook papers are commissioned by the editors to offer a short review of new work reported in a recent target article, allowing the Outlook author to say something about the target and expand to the author’s views on this part of the field. We aim to have Outlook articles that are vibrant and high-quality, but short (limited to 2 pages).
Some examples. A sample of Outlook articles are available here. In the first issue of 2016, Learning & Behavior published the first Outlook section. Three Outlook pieces appear in the issue, and three more appear as Online First articles. The Outlook section was announced in my recent editorial.
- Beran describes new insights about the concept of zero based on electrophysiological measurements in monkeys, with a target article published in Scientific Reports.
- Zentall critiques evidence for reciprocal altruism in rats, focusing on an article published in Biology Letters.
- Sturdy and Proppe write about the learning that occurs in eavesdropping songbirds, focusing on an article published in Current Biology.
- Vonk writes about eyetracking studies with apes watching film clips, targeting an article published in Current Biology.
- Cheng writes about how grid cells in the hippocampus are shaped by learning geometric features of the environment, featuring an article published inNature.
- Gibson and Mair write about the neuroanatomical pathways that contribute to spatial working memory, targeting an article published in Nature.
To give you a flavor of the outlook features, the last two articles—by Cheng and by Gibson and Mair—are subject to a blog post on the Psychonomics website here.
The Outlook section will be a regular feature of Learning & Behavior. We expect to publish about 3-4 new Outlook articles in each issue of the journal. Each Outlook article will focus on a recent article that reports an exciting new discovery. Please let me know about exciting articles that you come across; you can contact the editors at: email@example.com.
My objective as Editor is to make Learning & Behavior the go-to venue for new and important developments in the field.