The British Journal of Psychology centenary: A preliminary content survey and its problems


BPS History of Psychology Centre, 33 John Street, London WC1N 2AT, UK (e-mail:


The preliminary findings are reported of a review of the contents of the British Journal of Psychology 1904–2003 undertaken to mark the journal's centenary. This identifies (a) the top 11 categories of paper published and their patterns of distribution, (b) an apparent change in the nature of papers published after 1983, (c) the overall pattern of category-introduction, showing a dramatic change in 1965 and (d) a provisional typology of the principal patterns of distribution over time. Major conceptual and practical problems arising in the categorization of papers, and their implications, are discussed. Some reflections are offered on the possible value of research of this kind and on the nature of the journal itself.