The Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development is a highly respected, widely distributed, and arguably unique serial publication in developmental science. It provides authors or collaborative teams of authors a platform for disseminating conceptually rich and empirically distinguished work thatsupports the SRCD mission—to advance developmental science and promote its use to improve human lives. Because "monographs" are, by definition, lengthy individual volumes that address specialized topics, they offer authors the space needed to present innovative conceptualizations and to detail complex empirical work that would be difficult if not impossible to cover within the page-constraints of most journals.
Long, however, is not an alluring quality on its own, particularly in an era in which 280-character tweets are used to disseminate national policies, and in which the expression "tl;dr" ("too long; didn't read") is used to explain why class assignments remain unread (see this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education titled, The Plague of tl;dr). Monographs of the SRCD must, therefore, be more than long. To be accepted for publication, a manuscript must be judged as providing a significant contribution to one or more aspects of developmental science.
Such contributions can be achieved in varied ways. For example, a Monograph may be used to integrate results of multiple waves of testing in longitudinal studies; to illuminate connections across diverse developmental processes (e.g., cognitive, social, and neurological) with respect to some phenomenon of interest; to analyze a given topic at different levels of analysis using different disciplinary perspectives, methods, and traditions; to consolidate and extend large and varied research literatures (e.g., via meta-analysis); to examine developmental phenomena as they operate in and are affected by diverse ecological contexts defined by individual or intersecting ethnic, geographic, economic, political, or historical qualities. Monographs may also serve as an outlet for scholarship that describes and demonstrates new developmental tools (e.g., for data acquisition, visualization, analysis, sharing, or replication).
The examples just given reflect two of the core goals identified in SRCD's Strategic Plan—one to advance cutting-edge and integrative developmental science research and the second to promote racial, cultural, economic, national, and contextual diversity in that science. Monographs are also well-positioned to serve a third SRCD strategic goal—promoting the application of developmental science to policies and practices that improve human well-being. That is, Monographs offer opportunities to describe contributions of developmental science to conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating national and global programs and policies in arenas as diverse as parenting, education, physical and mental health, economic policy, community development, workforce development, and family policy, to name only a few.
As is also suggested by the various examples given, although Monographs are intended to address specialized topics within developmental science, they are not intended to be unduly narrow. Indeed, most Monographs should be of interest to a wide swath of SRCD members as well as to scholars and practitioners representing a wide range of other disciplinary and organizational allegiances. To this end, a Monograph should be comprehensible to (and engaging for) the general reader at the same time that it is valuable for colleagues who share specific research interests with the Monograph's authors. Furthermore, as suggested by words such as 'integrate', 'consolidate', and 'connect' threaded through the examples, each issue is expected to be a fully-integrated volume written in a single voice. As such, even when a Monograph involves multiple scholars who work from diverse perspectives and who contribute in different ways, the Monograph is indexed as a single unit, linked to a single author or authorship team as a whole. (Information about how individuals' specific roles may be indicated is described in the Submission Guidelines.)
Monographs—Past and Future
Monographs have an extensive reach both within and beyond the United States. First, each issue is automatically distributed to every member of SRCD, meaning that there is a large base of over 5,000 individual subscriptions. The series is also available to readers through over 5,000 institutions that hold licenses or subscriptions, and through over 7,500 developing-world institutions that make Monographs accessible though the support of philanthropic initiatives. The series attracts about 4,000 to 6,000 unique visitors a month, and about 35,000 to 45,000 downloads annually. In short, Monographs penetrate the scholarly community broadly and often.
The reach and impact of Monographs are expected to grow through a new web- and media-based initiative entitled Monograph Matters (MM). As described in more detail on the Monograph Matters About page, its goal is to expand readers' engagement with and use of Monographs by providing varied materials and activities such as invited commentaries, reader-author discussions, teaching materials, and the like. To diversify the audiences that use Monographs, authors, editors, and the SRCD Communications Office are developing outreach and dissemination activities such as press briefings, webinars, and moderated discussions.
Monographs of the SRCD—like the Society in general—seeks diversity, and thus there are no restrictions on who may submit manuscripts. For example, potential authors need not be members of the Society for Research in Child Development, they need not have any specific higher degree, and they need not be identified with any particular discipline.
It is strongly recommended (although not required) that potential authors consult with the Editor before submitting a full manuscript by sending a very brief description of the idea directly to her (Lynn Liben, firstname.lastname@example.org). If there appears to be a potential fit with Monographs, the author will be invited to submit a short prospectus. The prospectus (in Microsoft Word format) should be sent as an email attachment to the Editor who will respond directly to the author. Additional details about this process are found in the Submission Guidelines.
Submitted manuscripts should be in the range of 150 to 225 double-spaced manuscript pages (1" margins on all sides), inclusive of all material (e.g., tables, figures, references). As explained in the Submission Guidelines, manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition, 2010). Complete manuscripts should be submitted electronically to the Monographs ScholarOne Submission Portal. At submission, various assurances are required (e.g., regarding ethical treatment of participants) and authors are invited to provide suggestions about possible reviewers, commentators, and about the audiences for which their work may be relevant. Again, additional details may be found in the Submission Guidelines.
Submitted manuscripts undergo peer review. Every effort will be made to reach an editorial decision as quickly as possible, but given the length of Monograph manuscripts, the review process is typically time-consuming. Please feel free to contact the SRCD Editorial Office, email@example.com, to inquire if you have not received a decision within 4 months of submission. More generally, questions about editorial policy or content should be directed to the Editor, Lynn Liben, firstname.lastname@example.org; questions about manuscript preparation and submission should be directed to the SRCD Editorial Office, email@example.com.