SSLA is beginning its forty-first volume, and I am pleased to announce that volume 41 marks the beginning of an additional issue per year. SSLA’s first volume in 1978 had two issues; by 1985, there were three issues per year, and it didn’t take long (1989) to move to four issues per year. Thirty years later and we are adding a fifth issue. In moving the journal along, I stand on the shoulders of Albert Valdman whose vision more than forty years ago brought us to the position that the journal occupies today—a journal that continues to set the direction of the field of second language acquisition with its high-quality and forward-looking publications.
We are at an important crossroads today in the world of publishing and SSLA is at the forefront of these issues. As the field changes (and we certainly have seen changes since the first issue appeared in 1978), the journals where scholarly work appears must also change. There are a number of ways in which SSLA has done this. Replication studies reflect an early innovation of the journal. Albert Valdman recognized the significance of providing a forum for replication studies and in 1993 initiated a replication section, acknowledging the fact that fifteen years earlier, Stephen Krashen had recommended that the “journal devote a special section to replication studies” (15 [4 ], p. 505). Valdman in 1993 recognized that “the way to more valid and reliable SLA research is through replication” (ibid.). In 1997 (19 , p. 67), he continued the emphasis on replication further noting that “[t]he problems of reliability and generalizability are best resolved through attempts at replication. We realized that the system of rewards in academe inhibited investment in research that could be viewed as lacking originality.” When Bill VanPatten and I became co-editors in 2015, and when I became editor in 2017, as part of our commitment to the same principles outlined by Albert Valdman, we maintained this section devoted uniquely to replication studies. Since 2016 we have received eighteen replication submissions.
Important for successful replication is the need to be transparent in research, including inter alia transparency in materials (treatment and assessment), population characteristics, and analyses. SSLA encourages making these available through a research data base such as IRIS (www.iris-database.org) or on the SSLA website. Making materials available allows a careful understanding of all aspects of a study that, in turn, allows replications and expansions of the original work.
SSLA is a staunch supporter of open science trends. Authors who comply with open science practices are eligible to apply for two types of badges (Open Data and/or Open Materials). If awarded, these badges appear on the first page of their article. Badges serve as an incentive for researchers to participate in open communication by sharing evidence for their findings and thereby facilitating replication, critique, extension, and application. These badges also signal to readers when authors have taken explicit steps toward an ethic of transparency in their work.
Of course, the success of SSLA over the years is due to many individuals, including the superb editorial boards (current and past), the editorial assistants (currently, Hima Rawal and Lizz Huntley, graduate students at Michigan State University; past editorial assistants, Magda Tigchelaar and Dustin Crowther), our editor (Amy Laurent), the other talented personnel at Cambridge University Press, and last and most definitely not least, the current associate editors, Kimberly Geeslin, Gregory Keating, and Andrea Révész, and the senior associate editor, Luke Plonsky. Your hard work and insightful input are what make SSLA a leader in the field.
Again, I acknowledge the work of Albert Valdman who made this possible by having a vision of what the journal could be and making it happen. I look forward to the continued success of the journal as we move into our forty-first year.