JSPP operates a rigorous and transparent peer-review process that ensures scholarly excellence. Manuscripts submitted to JSPP undergo an initial screening, usually by one or both of the main editors (and sometimes an additional associate editor), to assess whether a submission matches JSPP’s general profile. Specifically, even if the manuscript is otherwise strong, a manuscript that does not meet the following criteria may be desk-rejected:


  • Does the manuscript substantially advance the understanding of social or political problems, their reduction, or the promotion of social justice?
  • Does the manuscript contribute to JSPP as a forum for innovation, questioning of assumptions, and controversy and debate?
  • Does the manuscript have the potential to inspire applications in education, policymaking, professional practice, or advocacy and social action?


  • Does the manuscript make its theoretical positioning explicit, and does it critically engage with alternative theoretical perspectives?
  • Does the manuscript draw on constructs and theories from the literature in social and political psychology – while remaining open to other disciplinary perspectives?
  • Does the manuscript consider the historical, political, and socio-cultural context that shapes research questions and findings?

Methodology (for empirical manuscripts)

  • Are the methods and analytical procedures appropriate? Are they thoroughly and transparently documented and justified? For quantitative research: are data, instruments, and analysis scripts provided, or does the manuscript give justification why this is impossible or inadvisable?
  • Is the selection of participants justified for the research questions examined and the conclusions drawn; and are the sample characteristics sufficiently documented (e.g., race/ethnicity, location, gender, SES, where recruited and how)?
  • Is the sample size appropriate and justified (e.g., through statistical power analysis for quantitative studies or relevant guidelines for qualitative research)?
  • Are limitations (e.g., ecological validity, generalizability, possibilities for causal inference, distribution of key variables) critically discussed, particularly where findings rely on cross-sectional data from single, unrepresentative, and/or non-transferable samples of participants, or where participants are exclusively students or drawn from crowdsourcing sites (e.g., MTurk)? Is there sufficient documentation of steps taken to ensure data quality and trustworthiness (e.g., attention and comprehension checks)?
  • In single-study manuscripts reporting quantitative data, is the empirical evidence and quality of the data sufficiently strong to warrant publication as a stand-alone study? Are the conclusions drawn from this single study without replication sufficiently cautious?

Optional features (added benefits)

  • Does the manuscript relate to issues relevant to regions of the world underrepresented in psychological research, or do research participants belong to populations underrepresented in psychological research?
  • Does the manuscript introduce new research methods, or use multiple methods or methods underrepresented in psychological research?

Having passed this first stage, manuscripts are assigned to a handling editor, who will organize the peer-review process and recruit reviews from at least two (sometimes three or four) experts. The review process uses a broad range of criteria, not only focusing on scientific rigor but also including aspects that are sometimes less prominently considered in other journals, such as creativity of methodology and potential to open up new avenues as described above. We aim to reach a first decision within three months of submission.

For manuscripts that have previously been rejected at other selective peer-reviewed journals, authors may submit the prior reviews and decision letter/s along with their revised manuscript and cover letter, and the editors may make use of these materials in the review process.