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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Questions

  • What is topiCS?
  • Which types of submissions are possible?
  • What format is required for submitted manuscripts?
  • topiCS sections versus Special Issues

Preparing a Proposal for topiCS

  • What issues should a proposal for topiCS address?

Editorial Board

  • The role of Associate Editors in topiCS
  • The Board of Reviewers

Associate Editors

  • Contacting prospective authors
  • Word limits, limits on number of authors
  • Publication timeline
  • When will my topic be published?

Reviews and Reviewers

  • Is there a requirement to reject a certain proportion of papers?
  • Who is the audience for my reviews?


  • Help with meeting NIH requirements for PubMed?

General Questions

What is topiCS?

topiCS is a new journal devoted to Cognitive Science. It will be rigorously peer-reviewed. It will also be different from most journals in that the charge to the Associate Editors is to find exciting, under reported work, across the full-range of cognitive science topics, and to recruit the best authors in these areas to submit their work to topiCS.

Which types of submissions are possible?

Many types of submissions may be included in topiCS. What follows is a sampling, not an exhaustive list.

  • New and Emerging:
    New or emerging work from people in disciplines that may not consider themselves to be cognitive scientists, but who are doing cognitive science work. Reviews or updates on established cognitive science areas in which recent years has seen an upsurge of interest and/or a major paradigm shift. Quick publication of award winning work presented at the annual Cognitive Science Conference or of outstanding cognitive science work presented at non-Cognitive Science conference.

  • Integrative and Reflective:
    This category of papers challenges established researchers to not simply report on their current research but to step back and discuss larger issues in cognitive science through Integrative and Reflective papers that go beyond a single research topic to examine broader issues and trends. An example of this is the Visions of Cognitive Science topic that is represented in this first issue by 6 lively and interesting papers from leading members of our community. (See Volume 1, Issue 1 of topiCS.) Another example is the topic Philosophy in Cognitive Science and Cognitive Neuroscience for which Associate Editor Andrew Brooks (Carleton University) has asked leading philosophers to discuss the influence of their philosophy on contemporary cognitive science. Philosophers who are onboard for this topic include William Bechtel, Daniel Dennett, Pierre Jacob, Thomas Metzinger, Zenon Pylyshyn, and Paul Thagard.

  • Great debates:
    Two or more target articles (or two or more groups of researchers) that take different positions on a topic of interest to the larger cognitive science community. Smaller commentary articles discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This category may present a mix of New and Emerging and Integrative and Reflective papers.

  • Commentary and Responses:
    All readers of topiCS are encouraged to send commentaries to the Editor or to the Associate Editor who handled a particular paper. topiCS is serious about encouraging commentaries and a section of each issue will be reserved for the Commentary and Response topic.

What format is required for submitted manuscripts?

With the following exceptions, all submitted manuscripts must conform to the guidance of the APA Publication Manual.
— Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009). (6th ed.). Washington: American Psychological Association. Available from: http://books.apa.org. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


  1. Include figure captions with figures on all manuscript submissions that will be reviewed. Once the paper is accepted for publication then you will receive specific instructions on how to prepare the paper for publication.

  2. You may refer to human subjects as "subjects" rather than as "participants." The term "subjects" has an old and established tradition within empirical studies of human behavior and does not reflect any dehumanizing of the people who are recruited and participate in our studies. Depending on context and the study you may also refer to them in terms that seem appropriate, e.g., operators, pilots, gamers, etc.

  3. By all means, as a courtesey to your reviewers who may drop the paper version of your manuscript on the floor, please number your pages!! Seriously, it is much easier for a reviewer to refer to a paragraph or section if the pages are numbered.

LaTeX Submissions via Overleaf!

We are pleased to announce that LaTeX authors are now first-class citizens of topiCS. Your LaTeX documents may be directly submitted to topiCS from OverLeaf. Please see the instructions in OverLeaf for more information.

topiCS sections versus Special Issues?

Topics selected for topiCS will appear in a section of the journal under the name of that topic. Although there may be a few topics that take up an entire issue of the journal, most topics will appear as a section of one issue with some topics appearing as a section across multiple issues of topiCS.

Preparing a Proposal for topiCS – updated 2017-11-21

First step is to contact the Executive Editor or one of the Senior Editorial Board Members. If they believe your topic is both appropriate and timely you may receive a letter back like the following, which is attached to the Template for Proposals which follows.

Thank you for your query. I believe your topic is appropriate for topiCS and I invite you to submit a full proposal. All full proposals are vetted by the topiCS Senior Editorial Board. Most go through two rounds of review and revisions. Included below is an outline of issues that you should consider in crafting your proposal. As you review the issues raised by my list, remember that if we accept your proposal that we are essentially turning editorial control for a significant chunk of one issue of topiCS over to you. This means that along with ensuring the technical and scientific content that you, and your team, will also be responsible for reviewing, editing, enforcing word limits, and ensuring the timely publication of each paper and of the entire topic.

Section 0 has 5 bullets which discuss how we view the journal, this is informational only.

Sections 1 and 2 are intended to provide an outline for your proposal. Section 1 is content and we suggest 5 major subheadings here, some with subsubheadings. Please note that there are no right answers to these queries. Indeed, many of them are designed to force you to think a little harder than you might have about the decisions available to you in crafting your topic and the ways in which these decisions might shape your issue.

Section 2 lists management issues. If your topic is accepted, you will be managing the submission and review process for most of an issue of Topics in Cognitive Science. You will be asked to worry about aspects of the issue that even most Associate Editors of most journals never have to deal with. Hence, it is very important that you think about the issues we lay out here and provide us with a short discussion of your choices. There is some important material here in terms of helping the journal promote your topic and how the different papers in your topic might be classified by ISI and other indexers.

Throughout. Please remember that the average topiCS paper is shorter than the average CSj one and it often includes a higher ratio of review to new data or new theories. Individually and as a group, your authors should strive to remember that very few readers will be as familiar with your topic and its history as are you and your authors. Although your readers will be other cognitive scientists, you will need to work to help us understand the past, current, and future direction of your topic.

Before you begin writing, please remember that a full proposal should be around 2500 -- 3500 words in length (not counting CVs). Again, there are no best answers to any of these sections, rather the answers you give reflect the type of topic that you are crafting. Some people know exactly what they want to do on each of these. However, most submitters find this list helpful in making them think a little deeper about the sort of issue of topiCS they want to create.

Finally, these questions have evolved over time and reflect the discussions and questions of the SEB with former proposers. We do not mean them to be burdensome. However, please remember that if we accept your proposal we will essentially be handing you responsibility and control of one issue of Topics in Cognitive Science, a highly ranked outlet for leading edge research, established by members of the Cognitive Science Society.


Wayne Gray

Executive Editor

Topics in Cognitive Science

For the template on Preparing a Proposal for topiCS click here

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Help with meeting NIH requirements for PubMed?

The publisher's policy is to deposit the accepted manuscript version of articles based on NIH-funded research to PubMed Central, for public access 12 months after publication, in line with the NIH mandate. This is something that the publisher has been handling since April 2008 for authors who submit to any and all Wiley-Blackwell journals. For more information see: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/bauthor/NIH_policy.asp



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