Allen Tan, PhD recalls 25 years of PJP.


For twenty five years, the Philippine Journal of Psychology (PJP) was edited by Allen I. Tan, PhD. Dr. Tan completed his PhD in Social Psychology at Cornell University. Through e-mail, we were able to collect his thoughts as the outgoing editor.


The PJP began in 1968 and Dr. Tan started editing the December 1983 issue – a solid 25 years ago! However, he was quick to add that within that period, there were 4 years wherein he did not edit for the PJP, making it a total of 21 years of PJP editing for him. When he first began, he felt that his priority was to catch up on the unpublished issues. He realized that journals in the Philippines are often a few years behind.  So he set it as his personal goal to get the PJP up to date and start publishing it in a regular manner. By the early 1990s, Dr. Tan was able to guide the PJP in largely accomplishing this. Today, the PJP is the envy of many Philippine social science journals who are still a few years behind.


Dr. Tan does however regret having had moments wherein he felt that he sacrificed quality in order to publish an issue on time.  According to him, he rationalized that by being punctual, the PJP would get better submissions.  This worked on the premise that if you have a good article and could submit it to 3 possible journals, you would probably choose the one that would publish your article on schedule rather than to a journal that might take 2 or 3 years to do so. Once or twice, in a rush to get the PJP out on time, Dr. Tan failed to spot a typo on the cover and he shared that these mishaps do haunt him until today (most especially when it was an author’s name which was misspelled on the cover).


Still, despite these trying instances, the PJP has had a great deal of accomplishments. In the 1990s, a web site for the PJP was finally set up; probably making the PJP the first Philippine social science journal to do so.  This visibility led to a number   of submissions that were eventually published.  It also sold a few extra PJP issues. It was Athena, Dr. Tan’s daughter, who served as webmaster. 


When asked about how the PJP has grown and evolved during his term, Dr. Tan shares that the quality of research and articles submitted in Philippine psychology has undergone tremendous improvement. He mentions that back in the 1980s, the PJP had very few submissions; sometimes the authors were unable to make the necessary revisions to make their articles meet publication standards.  At times, they, as editors, had to make the revisions for them in order for the PJP to have enough articles for an issue. Occasionally, they had psychologists submit their whole thesis as is to the PJP for a number did not have the time, interest or capability to re-write their thesis in article form! Today, a different tale is being told, most submissions follow correct journal style. Dr. Tan further elaborates by saying that majority of the background literature nowadays is usually direct and relevant, and the methodologies are generally more rigorous. Also, Dr. Tan adds that there has been a big change in terms of one’s access to information. In the 1980s, he would often allow authors to have long literature reviews because most of the PJP readers did not have access to many of the background researches cited.  Today, with internet access, there is less need for lengthy descriptions of previous studies.


Dr. Tan continues by stating that the growth in the quality of submissions as well as the greater number of articles submitted has allowed the PJP to become a peer reviewed journal.  Many institutions now require a publication in a peer reviewed journal for a faculty member to be promoted.  He adds that the Philippine Journal of Psychology’s own peer review system was established a few years ago by Dr. Regina Hechanova. This has given the PJP a lot more prestige.


Dr. Tan shares that after 25 long years, he has grown very much attached to the PJP, but he acknowledges that it is now time to leave the journal to younger and more capable psychologists. He is however very happy to pass on a PJP that is publishing regularly and improving quality of articles. Dr. Tan’s great efforts have indeed paved the way in doing scientific Psychology in the Philippines. Dr. Tan ends by saying that he wishes to thank the Psychological Association of the Philippines for giving him the privilege of editing the PJP over all these years. 


For Dr. Allen Tan, it has truly been a most fulfilling and rewarding endeavor! (Written by JC Capuno)


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