Editorial: News from the editors

A Winner of 2011 Developmental Science Early Career Research Prize


We are pleased to announce that the winner of the sixth annual Developmental Science Early Career Researcher Prize for papers published or accepted in 2011 is Dr. Melissa Libertus, currently at Johns Hopkins University, for her paper:

Libertus, M. E., Halberda, J., & Feigenson, L. (2011). Preschool acuity of the approximate number system correlates with school math ability. Developmental Science, 14, 1292-1300.

The award is normally based on a single paper published in the relevant year. However, this year's award also recognises another high quality article by the same author in Developmental Science that fell just outside of the eligibility period:

Libertus, M. E., & Brannon, E. M. (2010) Stable individual differences in number discrimination in infancy. Developmental Science, 13, 900-906.

Taken together, these articles make a very substantial contribution to comprehending how basic numerical abilities present in infants relate to later numerical ability in school age children. Understanding the transitions from infant to childhood competence remains an important challenge in many fields of developmental science, a challenge that Dr. Libertus has embraced.

Change of Editors

The end of 2012 will see completion of the 15th volume of Developmental Science. It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since George Butterworth founded the journal. George's vision was of an exciting interdisciplinary journal focussed on causes of development and mechanisms of change. To this end, he encouraged submissions from multiple disciplines, as long as they could elucidate some aspect of the processes and mechanisms of human mental development. This meant publishing not only the very best of human cognitive and social development research, but also developmental biology, comparative studies with other species, work with atypical populations, neuroimaging, and computational modelling work. He also had a vision of a journal that would foster debate and new perspectives, rather than maintain the current Zeitgeist. Articles that were methodologically sound but controversial were favoured in the belief that debates surrounding new results should be openly discussed in the literature, rather than behind the closed doors of the review process.

After George's untimely death, Mark Johnson took over as Editor-in-Chief, first as an interim replacement, and then in 2001 as a longer-term leader with a desire to implement George's initial vision, as well as to introduce more cognitive neuroscience to the mainstream developmental community. In 2005, Denis Mareschal came on board as Co-Editor-in Chief, and then in 2009, Paul Quinn completed the current trio of Editors.

Developmental Science has become one of the most respected journals in the field of developmental psychology. It continues to attract many more submissions than can be published, and has acquired an impact factor that places it firmly among the top developmental psychology journals. For a relatively new journal to establish itself so rapidly is almost unprecedented, a fact that was recognised when Thompson ISI named the journal a “Rising Star” amongst psychology journals. After 13 years at the helm for Mark Johnson, 8 years for Denis Mareschal, and with Paul Quinn serving in different editorial roles since the journal's outset, we feel that the time has now come for us to step aside, and pass leadership on to a new editorial team who can continue to take the journal forward in this time of rapid change in scientific publishing. Thus, this issue will be the last one published under the current editorial team. From January 2013, a great new team will be in place (to be announced in the next issue).

We are happy to leave the journal in such a healthy state. This is partly a vindication of George Butterworth's original vision, and partly due to the innovations and policies we have striven to implement. However, it is also reflects on the outstanding work the Associate Editors and reviewers have done in selecting and evaluating the manuscripts submitted over all of these years. Finally, the journal could not have been so successful if you, the readers and contributors, had not also chosen to submit your very best work to Developmental Science. While it saddens us to leave a project that we have invested so much in over the years, we take heart in the current success of the journal, and the fantastic future that it has in front of it. To make this vision become a reality…please do continue to send your best work to Developmental Science.