On the Scientific Discourse Practice in Psychology: Professional Comments and Replies in Different Subdisciplines of Psychology up to 2015

Günter Krampen*
Leibniz-Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID) University of Trier, Trier, Germany

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© 2017 Günter Krampen

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Psychology, ZPID, University of Trier/Germany University of Trier, ZPID, D-54286 Trier, Germany; Fax: 0049-651-2012961; Tel: 0049-651-38323; E-mail:



Scientific communications—including criticisms, comments, and replies—are a significant foundation of scientific progress.


To give an overview on the frequency of written professional comments and replies published in the subdisciplines of psychology till 2015.


Scientometric analyses refer to the psychological databases PsycINFO and PSYNDEX.


Firstly, the results show that 2.8% of PsycINFO and 2.2% of PSYNDEX documents refer to scientific discourse. However, time trends were different, which increased (up to 3.6% at the millennium) and then decreased (2.4% in 2013-2015) in PsycINFO, with an up-and-down trajectory in PSYNDEX (decreasing from 3.5% before 1982 to 2.2% in the 1990s, an increase up to 3.1% at the millennium, and a continuous decrease to 0.9% in 2013-2015). Secondly, distinct differences were observed between the subdisciplines of psychology and with reference to both databases: psychological/health personnel issues, psychology & the humanities, clinical psychology, history & systems, and personality psychology received the most comments and replies in PsycINFO, and educational psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and intelligent systems the least. Most comments and replies related to PSYNDEX were found in sport psychology/leisure, personality psychology, consumer psychology, and experimental psychology, and the least are found in publications on intelligent systems, animal/comparative psychology, history & systems of psychology, and military psychology.


The results are collectively discussed (1) with respect to other indicators of scientific discourse in psychology and other sciences and (2) with respect to the different cultures of scientific discourse between the subdisciplines of psychology in the Anglo-American vs. the German-speaking countries.

Keywords: Scientific discourse, Subdisciplines of psychology, Scientific communication, Psychologists, History of psychology.