Why African researchers should join the Psychological Science Accelerator

The goals of AfricArXiv include fostering community among African researchers, facilitate collaborations between African and non-African researchers, and raise the profile of African research on the international stage. These goals align with the goals of a different organization, the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA). This post describes how these goals align and argues that joining the Psychological Science Accelerator will benefit members of the AfricArXiv research community through increased collaboration and resource access.

What is the Psychological Science Accelerator?

The PSA is a voluntary, globally distributed, democratic network of over 500 labs from over 70 countries on all six populated continents, including Africa. Psychology studies have traditionally been dominated by Western researchers studying Western participants (Rad, Martingano, & Ginges, 2018). One of the primary goals of the PSA is to help address this problem by expanding the range of researchers and participants in psychology research, thereby making psychology more representative of humanity.

This goal is consistent with the goals of AfricArXiv: addressing the lack of non-Western psychology researchers entails raising the profile of African psychology researchers and fostering collaborations between African and non-African researchers. In addition, the PSA in particular has an interest in expanding its network in Africa: although the PSA wishes to achieve representation on all continents, at last count only 1% of its 500 labs were from Africa.

How the PSA can benefit the African research community

The shared goal of the PSA and AfricArXiv is thus to win/recruit a group of African researchers to join the PSA and its programmes on internationally acclaimed research in psychological science. We are committed to expanding the profile of members of the African research community.

Any psychology researcher can join the PSA at no cost. Member labs will have the opportunity to contribute to PSA governance, submit studies to be run through the PSA network of labs, and collaborate and earn authorship on projects involving hundreds of researchers from all over the world. PSA projects are very large in scale; the first global study run through its network (Jones et al., 2020) involved more than 100 labs from 41 countries, who collectively recruited over 11,000 participants.

The PSA generates a large amount of research communication, which can all be shared at no cost through AfricArXiv. The PSA datasets that involve African participants are available for free for secondary analysis. These datasets may be analyzed with a specifically African focus, and the resultant research can again be freely shared via AfricArXiv.

The specific benefits of PSA membership

The first step to obtaining the benefits of the PSA is to become a member by expressing an in-principle commitment to contribute to the PSA in one way or the other. Membership is free of charge.

Once you are a member, you gain access to the five following benefits:

  1. Free submission of proposals to run a large, multi-national project. The PSA accepts proposals for new studies to run through its network every year between June and August (you can see our 2019 call here). You too can submit a proposal. If your proposal is accepted during our peer review process, the PSA will help you recruit collaborators from its international network of 500 labs and provide support with all aspects of completing a large, multi-site study. You can then submit any research products that result from this process free of charge as a preprint on AfricArXiv.
  2. Join PSA projects. The PSA is currently running six multi-lab projects, one of which is actively recruiting collaborators. In the next two weeks, the PSA will accept a new wave of studies. As a collaborator on one of our studies, you can collect data or assist with statistical analysis, project management, or data management. If you join a project as a collaborator, you will earn authorship on the papers that result from the project (which can be freely shared via AfricArXiv). You can read about the studies that the PSA is currently working on here.
  3. Join the PSA’s editorial board. The PSA sends out calls for new study submissions on a yearly basis. Like grant agencies and journals, it needs people to serve as reviewers for these study submissions. You can indicate interest in serving as a reviewer when you become a PSA member. In return, you will be listed as a member of the PSA editorial board. You can add this editorial board membership to your website and CV.
  4. Join one of the PSA’s governance committees. The PSA’s policies and procedures are developed in its various committees. Opportunities regularly arise to join these committees. Serving on committees helps shape the direction of the PSA and puts researchers in touch with potential collaborators from all over the world. If you are interested in joining a committee, join the PSA newsletter and the PSA Slack workspace. We make announcements of new opportunities to join our committees on these outlets.
  5. Receive compensation to defray the costs of collaboration. We realize that international collaboration can be challenging and expensive, particularly for researchers at lower income institutions. The PSA is therefore providing financial resources to facilitate collaboration. At present, we have a small pool of member lab grants, small grants of $400 USD to help defray the costs of participating in a PSA research project. You can apply for a member lab grant here.

Conclusion

The PSA aims to foster collaboration on our large, multi-national and multi-lab projects. We believe these collaborations can yield tremendous benefits to African researchers. If you agree, you can join our network to gain access to a vibrant and international community of over 750 researchers from 548 labs in over 70 countries. We look forward to working with you.

This blog post written by Adeyemi Adetula and Patrick Forscher and is cross-posted at AfricArxiv.

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