Duane Wegener served as the editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB), from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016. SPSP spoke with Duane about how a sense of duty shaped his decision to take on the editorship, the rewards of seeing papers develop through the review process, what it was like to anticipate future trends as a result of having an insider perspective, and more.
Some highlights from the interview are below. For greater detail and additional questions, you can access the full interview.
SPSP: What attracted you to the position of Editor for PSPB, and why do you think it is important to be involved in professional organizations?
Duane: I was willing to take on the position in part because of a sense of responsibility, or even duty. I’ve spent my whole career using the peer review system, and so I’ve always felt that it’s only right for me to then be an active part of that system. When I’m not editing, I do a lot of reviewing. I try to do a thorough job, so over the years, editors keep asking me to review. So serving as an editor, then, is just a natural extension of that same sense of responsibility to contribute to a system that has been crucial over my career. I think that if people are going to use and benefit from the system, it only seems right for them to contribute to that system, and that’s how I’ve approached it throughout my career.
Another part of what drew me to the position was that I also wanted to shift the staffing model at the journal. In my own past editing, some of which had been at PSPB and some of which had not, I’d been both in situations where I handled a large number of manuscripts per year – 50 or more new manuscripts each year – and others that were more manageable, like 25 or so per year. And that makes a big difference.
SPSP: What was the best part of serving? What was your most memorable experience while you were in this role?
Duane: In a lot of ways, the best part was serving with a really great team of editors. And among that team, I should single out my co-editor, Lee Fabrigar, who was fantastic. We worked very closely together throughout the term, and he really deserves a lot of the credit for how well our editing term went. We also had a really terrific team of Associate Editors.
More personally, in terms of handling papers and such, to me the most rewarding part was having a paper that maybe initially had a really good core to it that needed some work and seeing that develop through the review process into a really strong published article. For that to happen, it requires quality input from reviewers and hopefully from the editor, as well, but it really also requires openness to that feedback from the authors and willingness on their part to put in additional work conducting additional research, developing a deeper theoretical approach, and all of those things. When all of those elements come together in a paper, that’s really the fun part for me as an editor – to see a paper really improve throughout the process and become a really strong piece of work, I think, is the most rewarding part of editing.
SPSP: What did you learn from serving in this role? What was something that surprised you about the role?
Duane: Even though we had a broad coverage of research areas with our team, I or Lee would often handle papers that extended beyond our (or our team’s) direct expertise (or sometimes an editor with that expertise was already pretty overloaded). That ends up stretching one and you learn about things that are new. There’s a certain reward to that.
Also, you see papers from the inside that maybe aren’t ready and don’t end up in the journal, but you see them, and I couldn’t have necessarily anticipated some of the places in the world that are producing research and writing papers in personality and social psychology. I got a bit of a sense of what, in 20 years, the landscape might look like in terms of where authors are from in our top journals. That has certainly changed from 20 years ago until now, and I expect from my experience at PSPB over the last 4 years that, in the next 20 years, it will be a much wider variety yet of places that people are doing this work. That will be exciting to see.
Being able to see things from the inside, you do see things like that: trends that are maybe not there yet, but are coming. And it’s very interesting to see that develop.
Thank you to Duane for his service, and for sharing his insights.