Here you will find information for authors: the scope for the first issue (the mind sciences), the formalities, and the publication pipeline. The Journal of Trial and Error is open access and uses double-blind peer review.

Please read carefully our guidelines before submitting your article. If you have any questions, reach us at info@trialerror.com. Once you are ready to submit, you can do so here.


Publication fees

For the upcoming issue, we don’t charge processing fees. We have been funded by the Utrecht University Funds and the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science and the Humanities. This gives us the resources needed to process the articles and establish the digital infrastructure needed to have a functional online journal. 


Scope (first issue)

The first issue will be on the sciences of the mind, in specific, neuroscience and psychology. We are looking for contributions from a diverse range of subdisciplines. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Neuroscience
    • Cognitive;
    • Cellular;
    • Molecular.
  • Psychology
    • Neuropsychology;
    • Cognitive Psychology;
    • Engineering Psychology/Ergonomics;
    • Clinical Psychology.

The submission may not have been previously published, in part or in whole, nor may it be before another journal for consideration.


Format and structure

We are looking for articles describing “failed” research. This means research that failed to reject the null-hypothesis, either because the theory did not confirm to nature, or because of “higher” methodological flaws. “Higher” methodological flaws are considered methodological mistakes that could not have easily been avoided and provide insights for current research that might (unwittingly) commit the same errors.     

So, what to do when you have decided you want to publish with the Journal of Trial and Error? It’s actually rather simple. We ask that you format your paper in the APA style and use their reference system as well. Make sure that all authors comply with our authorship guidelines. In addition, we ask you to follow these steps:

  1. Put the title in a separate file (this is to ensure anonymisation). For further information on how to anonymise your submission, please visit this page.
  2. Make sure the word count of your article (including references) is between 3000 and 6000 words.
  3. Send in the separate file and the main file to info@jtrialerror.com. The main file should include:
    1. Around 5 keywords;
    2. A take-home message [two/three sentences, signals reader ‘how’ to read, gives ultimate, straight-to-the-point conclusion];
    3. An abstract of around 200-300 words;
    4. A purpose section – this outlines the initial idea behind the article and can be referenced again in the conclusion to explain in which regards the research “failed” (with regards to the initial purpose);  
    5. An introduction;
    6. A method section;
    7. A discussion;
    8. A conclusion.  
  4. Optionally, you can add additional details that would greatly help the humanities side of the project:
    1. Your personal motivation for conducting this research; A description of your daily research practices; Exploratory vs Theory-driven experimentation: which approach did you use? Can you be explicit about your reasoning style and experimentation practices?
      1. ‘Frowned upon’ exploration/ad hoc vs idealistic theory-driven scientific method.      
  5. Any third-party-owned materials used must be identified with appropriate credit lines, and permission must be obtained from the copyright holder for all formats of the journal.
  6. Make sure tables are all cited in the main text and are included within the text document.
  7. Ensure figures are all cited in the main text and are uploaded as supplementary files. Figures/images have a resolution of at least 150dpi (300dpi or above preferred). The files are in one of the following formats: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS (to maximise quality, the original source file is preferred).
  8. All patients included within case reports or other article types in which an individual or a group of individuals can be identified must have signed consent forms, or had had their guardian do so.

The editorial pipeline

What happens when you submit? This is the pipeline that your article will go through:

  1. The experimental paper manuscript is received and pre-processed according to the subdiscipline, and a group of editors is chosen from the pool of researchers in the network;
  2. The chosen editors find appropriate peer-reviewers (2/3). The editors know the identity of the author(s), and the author(s) knows the identity of the editors; but its is double-blinded between the author(s) and the peer-reviewers;
  3. The peer-reviewers process the document, give comments, and forward it to the editor. The editor combines and sends it back to the author(s).
  4. The author(s) replies to the comments of the peer-reviewers and finalises the product.
  5. Steps 3 and 4 can be repeated according to the editors’ or peer-reviewers’ judgement.
  6. When the final manuscript is ready, it can be sent to the humanities editorial pipeline
  7. When the reflection is ready, it is sent to the author(s), who has the right to comment and reply. Their comments will be taken into consideration in the editorial pipeline of the reflection.

All these formalities contribute to what JOTE will look like: a collaboration between the sciences and humanities, with the clear purpose of bettering them both. This is both an ambitious and a humble objective. Ambitious in its purpose, as one journal, to positively change so many fields and humble in the realization that the sciences and humanities are already conducting very rigorous, good research. Each science article in JOTE will be accompanied by a reflection article, written by a humanities scholar. When needed and wanted, the scientist and humanities scholar can communicate via the editor with each other about key parts.


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