Feature

Thirteen of the 28 most influential psychology journals of the last century were published by APA, according to a ranking conducted by The Serials Librarian, an international publication for librarians.

Four of the seven top journals in the general category are published by APA: American Psychologist, Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Review and Psychological Methods. The other three journals listed are American Journal of Psychology, Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Psychological Science.

The ranking, "The Best of the Century in Psychology" was compiled by Daniel E. Burgard, an instructional services librarian at the health science library at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. To find what he calls "the psychology journals that were the most important to the most people most of the time in the 20th century," Burgard looked at:

  • Previous lists of journal rankings.

  • The number of citations for the journals, as compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information's Journal Citation Reports.

  • The amount of time a journal has had an impact on the field.

"It would be hard to call a five, six, or even 10-year-old periodical a 'journal of the century' regardless of how good it is," Burgard explains. A few publications with less than two decades of publishing history did sneak onto the list, including Behavioral Neuroscience in the biological/physiological category, which started in 1983 after splitting off from the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology and has since become an influential journal in its own right.

The other six categories of journals used in the ranking are applied, clinical/abnormal, developmental, experimental, mathematical, and personality/social.

Stories of how some journals came to belong to APA are fascinating, says Burgard, alluding to examples like the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, which was donated to APA by its creator and editor, Morton Price, in 1925. Once owned by Psychological Review Publishing, Psychological Bulletin was sold to APA in 1924 in a $5,600 package that included Psychological Review, Psychological Index, Psychological Monographs and Journal of Experimental Psychology.

APA took them and made them better, Burgard says. "That's probably the major success story of journal publishing, especially in psychology in the 20th century."

"It is a ringing endorsement of the strong peer-review editorial process and the outstanding contributions of the many psychologists who have served as editors, associate editors and reviewers--and authors--over the last 100 years," says Gary VandenBos, executive director of APA Publications and Communications.

"APA has been the driving force of publishing psychological information in the 20th century," says Burgard. "We'll see what happens in the next century."