Ensuring Double-Anonymized (Masked) Peer-Review

MISS offers authors to remain anonymous (and by default reviewers are anonymous anyway). The journal submission system collects information on the submitting author(s), which is not shared with reviewers, only with associate editors handling the submission.

To ensure double-anonymized (masked) peer-review, remove all author names from the manuscript title page in the main article text (upload those names on a separate title page). Additionally, take the following steps regarding the main article text and file properties:

    1. Delete identifying information in the text body, for instance, names when citing own research in the text, in references, or in footnotes (instead you may use “Author, 2020”). However, this strategy is sometimes not feasible or advisable, and reviewers may have a legitimate interest in checking, verifying, or consulting your previous work to understand certain parts of the submitted manuscript better. If your own cited work is essential for understanding and for ensuring transparency, you can include your names in citations and references. To remain anonymous, abstain from phrases such as “As we have shown earlier (Doe, 2019), …” and instead use “As has been shown earlier (Doe, 2019), …”.
    2. If you submit your manuscript (and supplemental files) as (Microsoft) Office files, any author identification should also be removed from the file properties. For instance, you can do so by clicking: File > Save As > Tools (called Options with Macintosh) > Security > Remove personal information from file properties on save > Save.
    3. Response letters (like supplements) will also be examined by reviewers. To remain anonymous, you need to remove any identifying information in the supplements and from the supplement files. The same applies to response letters accompanying a revised submission.
    4. Although the editorial system provides some mechanisms to guard against de-anonymization, file names could possibly reveal author identity (e.g., JohnDoe_response_letter.docx).
    5. It may be advisable to check the contributors in the Acknowledgment section. Please, anonymize all names (researchers, affiliations etc.) that could lead to author unmasking in the review process; instead present such Acknowledgements in the Cover Letter.

It is solely the authors’ responsibility to ensure proper anonymization. Editors will neither check nor change anonymity-related information. You need to carefully follow the steps above and anticipate situations where information might identify you.

If a paper is conditionally accepted, then a mandatory Contributorship Template needs to be filled where information on all authors/contributors is provided, including their respective contributorships (according to the CRediT System). This information will also be made available within the paper upon publication of the article.

General Submission Guidelines

  • Originality
    • Work should be original. It should not have been submitted for consideration or published (whole or in part) elsewhere.
    • The article states whether a pre-registration of study or pre-registration with analysis plan exists, and, if so, allows journal access during peer review for verification.
    • Submissions that have been previously distributed as online preprints will be accepted.
    • The journal encourages submission of replication studies. Please indicate this specifically in the Cover Letter.
  • Review Process
    • Manuscript handling:Each submission will be sent to the Editor-in-Chief who will appoint an Associate Editor (assuming all guidelines are met), who in turn will then usually seek and invite at least two appropriate reviewers, before a decision on the submission is made. Desk rejections are possible if a lack of quality or lack of fit prevent further handling of a submission.
    • Masked Review: MISS supports double-anonymized (masked) review (see Ensuring Double-Anonymized Peer-Review).
    • OJS platform: Any decisions made (reject, accept, minor revision, major revision) and further steps will be communicated electronically (within the OJS editorial system and via emails).
    • Plagiarism: Please note all submissions are subject to plagiarism screening.
    • Word limits: We encourage authors to make good use of the word limits (depending on the article type you submit), which allows authors to describe their results and conclusions in fair detail. The possibility to refer the reader to supplementary material should help observing the (rather soft) limits. Whenever limits are substantially exceeded, please be in touch with the editor first about the necessity.
    • Statistical Reporting: Authors are asked to report the exact level of significance (e.g., p = .055 or p = .045). Automated stats checking will be used to check for statistical plausibility.
    • Tables: We encourage the use of tables for summarizing the results with the appropriate inferential (including CI and, where appropriate, effect size ES) and descriptive statistics (e.g., N, M, SD).
    • Figures: For diagrams, we encourage authors to use the color scales/palettes that would ensure robust greyscale distribution (please try using "viridis" package in R or consult the ColorBrewer tool when choosing specific hues that are colorblind safe).
    • Formatting: All texts should respect the PsychOpen GOLD Formatting Guidelines, which substantially reflect the rules of the APA Publication Manual (Seventh Edition).
  • Licensing your work:
    • After your work has been published in MISS you can share your article freely (CC-BY-4.0 license agreement).
  • Open Science Badges:
    • Your work may qualify for Open Science Badges (open data, open materials, pre-registration). Please indicate in the cover letter if you anticipate your work to be eligible for any of these. Upon the eventual acceptance of the manuscript, the publisher may request a formal application from you in this regard.

Article-Type Specific Submission Guidelines

Please adhere to the following guidelines on the structure and content of your manuscript, depending on the specific article type preferred for the submission.

Irrespective of the specific article type, any submission based on empirical data must explicitly state the availability of data and analysis code and their respective locations (alternatively their unavailability). Supplemental materials must be posted to a trustworthy online repository (exceptions must be identified at article submission).

New Measurement Instrument

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Theoretical background (research domain, construct definition, motivation for new tool, measurement approach)
  • Instrument (purpose/application field, item format, item wordings, response options, scoring/weighting scheme, rules for aggregation to scale level etc.)
  • Scale development (item selection, sample(s)/recruitment/descriptives, test construction, measurement model)
  • Quality Criteria (objectivity, reliability, validity, subpopulation comparability/equivalence and fairness, norms/reference ranges)
  • References
  • Supplemental (online) material: instructions, questionnaires (mandatory); code/syntax for analysis of scores, code/syntax to replicate analyses, datasets/databases (encouraged)

International Adaptation of Measurement Instruments

  • Title Page (title or subtitle should include the phrase "A Translation" or "An Adaptation")
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Theoretical background (research domain, construct definition, motivation for new tool, measurement approach)
  • Instrument (source/reference instrument: purpose/application field, item format, item wordings, response options, scoring/weighting scheme, rules for aggregation to scale level etc.)
  • Scale development (item selection, sample(s)/recruitment/descriptives, test construction, measurement model, translation/adaptation process)
  • Quality Criteria (objectivity, reliability, validity, international comparability/equivalence and fairness, norms/reference ranges)
  • References
  • Supplemental (online) material: instructions, questionnaires in all presented translations (mandatory); code/syntax for analysis of scores, code/syntax to replicate analyses, datasets/databases (encouraged)

Validation of Measurement Instruments

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Introduction (background to the study, aims, literature review, motivation for study)
  • Methods/Experiment (may be presented as an Appendix instead; aim, design, setting, participants and materials of the study; clear description of all processes and methods employed; type of statistical analysis used, including power calculations if appropriate)
  • Results (findings of the study including results of statistical analysis, if appropriate)
  • Discussion (may be combined with Results to a ‘Results and Discussion’ section; implications of the findings in the context of existing research; limitations of the study; any practical or operational issues involved in performing the study, and any issues not covered in other sections)
  • Conclusions (main conclusions, explanation of the importance of the findings, and relevance to the field)
  • References
  • Supplemental (online) material: please refer the reader to existing instruments and standard procedures/instructions associated with the instrument, and clarify if any deviation from standard procedures occurred (mandatory); code/syntax for analysis of scores, code/syntax to replicate analyses, datasets/databases (encouraged)

Short Report

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Background (theoretical background, established instruments used, quality or validation status, research domain)
  • Main Text (use subsections that match the scope of the contribution; present methods, statistical analysis, and major findings; discussion of any practical or operational issues involved in performing the study, and/or the adaptation of instruments and procedures, as well as any issues such as limitations not covered in other sections)
  • Conclusions (main conclusions; any recommendations for future use of an instrument or relevant procedural adaptations)
  • References
  • Supplemental (online) material: instructions, items/questionnaires (mandatory); code/syntax for the analysis of scores, code/syntax to replicate analyses, available datasets/databases (encouraged)

Systematic Review

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (structured abstract that should not exceed 300 words, and that must be structured into separate sections):
    • Background: the context and purpose of the review, including the review question
    • Methods: how the review was performed, including data sources, study eligibility criteria, participants, and interventions; study appraisal and statistical analyses used
    • Results: the main findings, including results of search and assessment of evidence base
    • Conclusions: brief summary and potential implications for research and/or policy/management
    • Registration: authors are asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number (if available)
  • Background
    • This section should be written in a way that is accessible to researchers without specialist knowledge in that area and must clearly explain why a systematic review on this topic was needed and what it aimed to contribute to the field. The section should end with the main question(s) of the review and a brief statement of what is being reported with reference to participants, interventions, outcomes and study design (PICO).
    • You may also wish to use this section to mention discussions that have been organized with stakeholders, and the role of stakeholders in the formulation of the question should be described and explained.
  • Methods
    • This should include a clear description of all stages of the review process and the design of the review, the setting, the type of participants or materials involved, and the type of analysis, including:
      • Searches: search terms and languages, comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the search, search strings and/or combinations of searches, databases, searches for grey literature, i.e. contacts, searches on internet, use of specific search terms or strings, filtering or limitations and literature provided directly by stakeholders. Tables and lists of bibliographies, search terms and databases or other information can be provided as additional files.
      • Study inclusion and exclusion criteria: provide explanation about the rationale followed to include/exclude articles, including specific study characteristics (PICO, length of follow-up, etc.), specific report characteristics (year of publication, language, etc.) and study selection procedures (screening).
      • Potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity: potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity should be discussed here and should be identified by discussions with stakeholders and experts as early as possible.
      • Study quality assessment: how you are planning to or have assessed the study quality. Describe the methods used for assessing risk of bias of individual studies, including specification of whether this was done at the study or outcome level, and how this information was used in any data synthesis. Discussions with experts and stakeholders at early stages should help identify the methodological standards for the topic of interest.
      • Data extraction strategy: what sort of data do you expect to find or have finally extracted and how you computed effect sizes and their variability.
      • Data synthesis and presentation: report the qualitative and quantitative methods you used to synthesize and present the data, as well as elements you anticipate or have identified such as effect modifiers, type of methodologies and their current appraisal, biases etc. Describe any additional analyses (sensitivity, sub-group analysis, meta-analysis) done and indicate which were pre-specified.
    • For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewer's Handbook.
    • If existing, refer to an accessible review protocol. Authors are additionally asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number, if available.
  • Results and Discussion
    • The results and discussion should be presented separately. The results and discussion sections may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings. Results of each stage of the review should be clearly reported, including:
      • Review statistics: i.e., the number of articles found in the search and included at each inclusion/exclusion level, along with any relevant information on the distribution of the studies found (e.g., geographical location and source of study). A flow diagram (conforming to relevant reporting guidelines, e.g., PRISMA) reporting the inclusion/exclusion process should be presented.
      • Study quality assessment: a summary of what the different studies found, the confidence in the results of the different studies, what biases were present in each of the studies, and quality of the different studies needs to be included.
      • Quantitative synthesis/Meta-analysis (if applicable): if effect sizes can be calculated for the included studies that measure similar outcomes, then a quantitative assessment of these effect sizes should be attempted, including summary statistics of the mean effect, confidence in the mean, the range of effects and sources of heterogeneity in the effect. Please note, if there are many confounding variables or outcome measures such that effect sizes which measure the same outcome cannot be calculated then a summary statistic should not be calculated.
      • Evidence of effectiveness: a detailed evaluation of the information on the impact of the intervention that the papers give, what evidence of an effect is there and what is the strength of the evidence including the critical appraisal of the articles. In addition, there needs to be an unbiased assessment of what level of evidence the studies provide.
    • Speculation within the discussion section should be limited only to suggestions for further enquiry or analysis, e.g., potential reasons for heterogeneity in outcome, including the possible effect modifiers and impact of variation in the study variables such as experimental design. A section on review limitations should normally be included, including limitations due to the search strategy and bias in articles found, as well as limitations due to underlying bias within studies found such as baseline bias and confounding variables. Gaps in the information provided by the studies should also be highlighted.
  • Conclusions
    • This section should clearly state the main conclusions of the article and give a clear explanation of the implication for policy/management summarizing the state of the evidence base and the extent to which this informs decision making in relation to the review question and any measure of uncertainty surrounding the outcome. In addition, it should also provide a clear explanation on the implication for research summarizing the shortcomings of the current evidence base in terms of knowledge gaps and the need for primary research.
  • References
  • Supplemental (online) material (code/syntax to replicate analyses, available datasets/databases)

Test Review

  • Title Page (title should start with the phrase "Test review: ", followed by the name of the reviewed test)
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Main text (body of the article, split into subsections with short, informative headings):
    • Test Description and Specific Subtest Descriptions
    • Test Manual, Test Materials, and Administration
    • Test Construction, Item Analysis, and Measurement Model
    • Standardization Sample(s)
    • Quality Criteria for Interpretation of Test Scores (→ objectivity, reliability, validity)
  • Conclusions (main conclusions and explanation of the importance and relevance of the test or measurement instrument)
  • References

Meeting Report

  • Title page (title should start or end with the phrase "A Meeting Report")
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Main text (body of the article, may be broken into subsections with short, informative headings)
  • References (to the extent that works are referenced in the text body)
  • List of abbreviations (they should be defined in the text at first use, and listed at the end)

Advances in Methodology

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (unstructured abstract)
  • Introduction
  • Methods (incl. literature search)
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions (no more than 3-5 sentences)
  • References
  • Supplemental (online) material (code/syntax to replicate analyses, available datasets/databases)