Introduction to Volume 3, Issue 1 of topiCS


With this issue, topiCS begins its third year of high-quality papers with on-time print and electronic publication of each issue. In recognition of our fast entry into the ranks of journal excellence, the ISI Web of Science has announced that topiCS will be included in the Social Science Citation Index as well as the Current Contents: Social and Behavioral Sciences Index. We will receive our first Impact Factor in the 2011 edition of the Journal Citation Reports, which will be released in Summer 2012. This is great news for our past, current, and future authors as well as our topiCS Editors. It means that papers in our first two volumes are already highly cited. Of course, we knew we were doing well; however, it is very gratifying to have our collected labors acknowledged by the folks at Thomson Reuters.

This issue of Topics in Cognitive Science introduces a new topic, continues an annual tradition, and includes a commentary and response on a paper published in our January 2009 issue (Volume 1, Issue 1). Computational Methods to Extract Meaning from Text and Advance Theories of Human Cognition has been shepherded by Danielle McNamara (University of Memphis). Counting her excellent introduction, there will be nine papers on this topic, five of which appear in this issue with the rest appearing in 3:2.

We also continue our tradition of publishing the Best Of papers that have appeared in recent cognitive science conferences. All Best Ofs have been triply reviewed: once to get into a conference, once as a prize winner for that conference, and once for topiCS. This year’s crop of four Best Ofs include two each from the 2010 Cognitive Science Conference and the 2010 International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. Although there were other Best Ofs that met our criteria, those authors declined our invitation because they were already in the process of including their conference work as part of a longer journal publication.

Our final topic is a Commentary by Benjamin Hilbig (University of Mannheim) and Tobias Richter (University of Kassel) and response by Henry Brighton and Gerd Gigerenzer (Max Planck Institute for Human Development) on the paper, “Homo heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences” (Gigerenzer & Brighton, 2009). We believe this commentary and response serve to deepen the discussion begun in the original paper and we are sure that the cognitive science community will enjoy this exchange.

In August, we delivered our first annual report on topiCS to the Cognitive Science Society’s Governing Board. For that report, we assembled a variety of statistics focused on estimating how well we did in our first year (Volume 1, 2009) in relation to our big sister journal, Cognitive Science. As we could not compare citation counts, our report highlighted the number of downloads of 2009 papers in the 16-month period from January 2009 to April 2010. This is a partial count because it is limited to papers downloaded from the Wiley-Blackwell journals website. In that period, we had 11,205 downloads of 2009 topiCS papers compared to 9,826 downloads of 2009 Cognitive Science papers. Obviously, with their 30+ years of publication, Cognitive Science had vastly more total downloads than topiCS, but we are very pleased that our first year attracted so much positive attention from the cognitive science community. Note that at that time (April 2010), our number-one download was the paper by Gigerenzer and Brighton (2009) that is the subject of the commentary that appears in this issue.

As always, topiCS encourages commentaries and new topics. Send your commentaries directly to me at along with a short note. If you are proposing a topic, please open communications with a short first note (about 300–650 words or fewer) and be sure to consult the topiCS FAQ page,, for Preparing a Proposal for topiCS.