Interview: Dr. Holly Robles on Social Behaviour Trends

Holly Robles, PhD-Interviewer


* What current trends or topics in social behavior research do you find most pressing or exciting, and why?

The more we can better understand the interpersonal issues that affect intrapersonal issues, the more we can develop effective tools to predict both. Predictive analytics is very exciting in that, as a society, we have developed capacities to utilize data and behaviors and better understand market behavior, individuals at risk for more complex and serious issues or behaviors, and whether upstream models of prevention are effective. Social behavior research that integrates the entire ecosystem of an individual’s experiences to predict future outcomes may be the most exciting of all social behavior research of our day. There is still much research to be done on evaluating resiliency and the components of resiliency that can be measured effectively and used for program evaluation. Ultimately, applied social behavior research that provides applications to reduce death or harm by targeted violence, intimate partner violence, or self-directed violence may be the most pressing trend.


* In your experience, what are the primary challenges faced by researchers in advancing the field of social behavior, and how can these be overcome?

Many researchers who are not in academia may struggle with an avenue to appreciate and utilize research from basic research to applied research, whether from finding interest in an app, understanding the current AI/data analytics trends related to research, or finding an organization or company willing to invest in a product that may induce or track behavior change. Cost and sponsorship are frequently problems for research in social behaviors, but many large corporations and organizations are invested in this research for market research, developing effective programs or treatments to address the needs of the employee and society at large, and entering the market with the most-needed technologies. Identifying which organizations are the most innovative and productive in the fields of health and human performance is critical for researchers. Partnerships between universities and corporations can be a highly effective strategy to advance social behavior research and advance products to market.




* How do you believe open-access journals, particularly those like Social Behavior Research and Practice – Open Journal, contribute to addressing the challenges faced by researchers in this field?

The cost of journal access and the cost of funding research are challenges that we oftentimes see in this field. Add “publish or perish” to the requirements of tenure-track professors, and the time limitations associated with carrying a full teaching load. Having open access journals available makes acquiring needed peer-reviewed journal articles available to the entire community. As consumers have more access to virtually anything by searching in the search engine, research that drives decision-making and future research is available to all, and it’s available at no cost. This is a tremendous gift to the research community and society at large.


* What role can open-access journals play in fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among researchers and practitioners in the field of social behavior? 

As a society, we are more and more open to understanding the human psyche to increase health and human performance, and social behavior research is critical to advance our understanding of current practice in this field. When researchers and practitioners are able to collaborate and share knowledge, they are then on a level playing field.  Costly subscription fees or being employed by an academic institution with easy access to peer-reviewed journals are no longer required, and opportunities are open to all.




* How does Social Behavior Research and Practice – Open Journal encourage inclusivity and accessibility in its publications, ensuring a diverse range of perspectives and methodologies are represented? 

Social Behavior Research and Practice – Open Journal is an international journal that publishes authors from around the world in blind submissions. Its editors live around the world and provide a variety of different perspectives from academia, research, and practice.


* In your opinion, what are some innovative ways for academic journals to promote transparency and reproducibility of research findings?

Academic journals must publish with the highest degree of internal scrutiny by experienced researchers and practitioners to ensure that as a profession, we are adding to the body of extant knowledge. We do this by constantly questioning systems, and theories, and proving or disproving hypotheses. For research to be reproducible, there must be sufficient data and detail presented to replicate studies and ensure the reliability of findings. Ensuring that there is accurate contact information for each author is also important, as questions may arise in the methods used.




* As someone deeply involved in the academic community, what do you consider the hallmarks of a high-quality research journal in social behavior? How does our journal meet or exceed these standards?

Topics addressed must be relevant to the era and needs of our society, and a panel of critical reviewers ensures that the presented research is appropriate for publication and the academic community as a body of knowledge. As a researcher, I am personally interested in both basic and applied research in social behaviors to better inform my own research and practices, and the Social Behavior Research and Practice – Open Journal presents thought-provoking case studies, editorials, and research dedicated to helping us improve our understanding of human behaviors in today’s ecosystem.


* Open-access journals are sometimes scrutinized for their peer-review quality. Can you discuss how Social Behavior Research and Practice – Open Journal ensures a robust and transparent peer review process?

The Journal provides a rigorous review process from initial submission to immediate transmission to two double-blind peer reviewers, all of whom are doctoral-level researchers, academicians, and practitioners. As reviewers, detailed feedback is given to authors, with recommendations to publish, not worthy of publication, or varying degrees of edits required for resubmission. Upon approval of both reviewers, the article is reviewed again for formatting and clarity, where it again goes through additional review for plagiarism and suitability. This manuscript is provided to the author for review before it is transmitted to the editor-in-chief for acceptance, rejection, or recommendations for edits for resubmission.


* Given the unfortunate reality of data manipulation and fabrication in scientific research, what measures does our journal take to prevent and address such issues, ensuring the integrity of published research?

The Journal actively monitors and evaluates through multiple processes of editorial board review, use of data analytics to determine if any plagiarism has occurred, and final reviews by the editor-in-chief. Editors review tables, figures, and statistics for any appearance of impropriety and return any manuscripts where there are discrepancies.




* Considering the future, what key areas or questions should social behavior research prioritize to maximize its positive impact on society? How can journals like ours support this vision?

Continuing to address the most significant issues of our day, including violence toward others, behaviors, and factors that contribute to human behaviors, and identifying and understanding better the role of all constructs in human performance and behaviors are critical areas in our society today. How can we improve human performance? How are primary prevention and upstream methods and strategies effective in effecting long-lasting behavior change? What variables can be identified, measured, and tracked to determine the efficacy of programming, learning, or interventions? As we look at our needs for modern society and our future, we continue to demonstrate a long-standing need for understanding human behaviors to modify and improve the human condition.