A quick update on the Journal of Cultural Evolution

Apparently, June is the month I write a blog post about the “Journal of Cultural Evolution” (or whatever will be its name) project, so I will keep the tradition alive. All begun for me five years ago (!), and, hopefully, we are getting closer to some tangible result.

Many things changed from then. Cultural evolution is starting to be a recognised discipline, with its own society. The first successful conference was held last year in Jena, and the next one will be in October in Tempe, Arizona. More and more academic journals are accepting quantitative and evolutionary studies of culture, including the new Nature Human BehaviourEvolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, and an “Evolutionary Human Sciences” journal (I hope this is the correct title) which will soon start for Cambridge University Press.

Many people feel however that there is still need for a dedicated journal, and within the Cultural Evolution Society we set up a publication committee. In the spirit of full transparency, and as this might be of interest to the members of the society at large, and perhaps to others, here is a short highlight of our plans.

We are working to a journal with the goal of providing a space for, for example, opinion/debate pieces, long pieces that would be more difficult to publish elsewhere, datasets, preregistered reports, and so on. In addition, while details are still not settled in stone, we plan to take full advantage of recent innovations and ideas from the open science movement (quoting – more or less literally – Claudio Tennie: “a cultural evolution journal should culturally evolve journals!”): the journal will be self-published, online-only, open access and cost-free for authors, and we intend to experiment with various forms of peer-review (one option I like is a mixed form, where submitted papers, if accepted by the editor for review, are accessbile online for possible “open reviews” and, in the same time, sent to “traditional” invited reviewers).

The platform we expect to use is the Open Journal System (one example that influenced our choice is the journal Meta-Psychology) and we hope to be able in the next months to hire a person to set-up the platform. If all goes well there will be some news about it – perhaps before the yearly blog post next June! – and, as usual, comments and feedbacks are welcome.



[Here the usual, vaguely related, flickr picture to avoid the ugly empty placeholder when sharing the post in social media…]


3 thoughts on “A quick update on the Journal of Cultural Evolution

  1. Thanks for the update Alberto and I hope this gets off the ground eventually. In the meantime, apart from those journals you mention, allow me to plug the Cultural Evolution research collection at Palgrave Communications. The collection is rigorously peer-reviewed, fully open access, and offers a platform for all areas of cultural evolution, with no upper limit on the number of articles we can publish. So while we wait for a “home” journal, at least we can enjoy a spacious and well appointed hotel :).
    More details: https://www.nature.com/palcomms/for-authors/call-for-papers#culturalevolution

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