Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making Information for Authors

(Updated October 2018)

The Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making is the premier journal of the Society for peer-reviewed original papers of scientific merit examining how people engage in cognitive work in real-world settings and how that work can be supported through the design of technologies, operating concepts and operating procedures, decision-making strategies, teams and organizations, and training protocols. Thus, the journal publishes rigorous approaches to the observation, modeling, analysis and design of complex work domains in which human expertise is paramount and multiple aspects of the work environment may drive performance. This scope is quite broad and may include:

  • Naturalistic and ecological studies of domain-embedded cognitive performance, including knowledge and reasoning
  • Cognitive task analyses, cognitive work analyses, and field research for knowledge elicitation
  • Experiments emphasizing cognitively rich environments and a reliance on domain experts working as individuals or in teams
  • Design and evaluation of complex and joint cognitive systems, the application of computational models of human and team performance, or empirical analyses capturing critical information on the impact of system designs on cognition and collaboration
  • New theories and methods for integrating cognitive engineering with system design.

Thus, the scope of the journal is broader than one approach, one method, one purpose or one focus area. Instead, submissions to the journal should consider their impact across three components:

  1. Contribution to a target domain. A paper focused on a target domain may change, for example, how researchers view the role of the human in their work environment, how designers frame their task of supporting this role, and the development of training protocols and decision making strategies appropriate for the domain. Such an impact requires research that tackles a real problem, no matter how messy, and values ecological and task validity in its research methods.
  2. Contribution to other domains. JCEDM research is not limited to point solutions. Tough problems underlie our research in terms of understanding the human contribution to complex work domains, and demonstrating rigorous, repeatable methods in one domain that others can apply to other domains. Some models and methods are intended to be formative and thus the measure of the worth is whether they are systematically helpful to those designing teams, operations, training and technologies.
  3. Contribution to theory underlying work in complex environments. Cognitive performance in complex work environments often cannot be explained in terms of one behavior, one theory or performance at one task, or fully replicate it in a laboratory. However, submissions to JCEDM should demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the relevant human factors literature—and in return may also identify where further fundamental human factors research is required in the lab to support further extension to the messy complexities of real operations.

There is no numerical formula for weighting these three contributions when evaluating submissions — one study may focus more on impacting a target domain or problem, a second study may focus more on generalizable methods to support design, and the third may explore the theory of how humans pattern their decision making in quick and dangerous situations. Each paper in JCEDM can (and should) identify its own sweet spot, balancing ecological and task validity, generalizability, and insight into the human contribution within complex work environments. This invites authors to articulate the intended impact of their research, and to demonstrate the ability of their research method to achieve it.

FAQ: Publication of Accepted Work in the Proceedings

May I publish the research in my HFES Annual Meeting Proceedings paper in the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making?
Suitably revised papers printed in the HFES Annual Meeting Proceedings may be submitted for consideration in the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making.

What does "suitably revised" mean?
The Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making publishes original, previously unpublished work that represents theoretical and practical advances. Papers published in this journal must adhere to the ethical guidelines regarding duplicate publication as described in the code of conduct of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (A detailed discussion can be found in the APA Manual 6th edition.) Although duplicate publication of data is generally prohibited (in part because of issues raised for meta-analyses), the ethical standards allow for some exceptions when the data that were previously published are presented in a different way that represents a significant advance of theory or practice, and when there is proper acknowledgement that the data were previously published elsewhere. Solely adding length to a proceedings paper typically is not sufficient to warrant publication in the journal. The key consideration is whether the publication represents a significant advance beyond what has been published previously, such as introducing new data, reanalyzing or reframing previous data in a more substantive manner, or providing a broader discussion or context for qualitative data and/or presentations of new designs or methodologies than was possible in a proceedings paper.

For the HFES Proceedings, can I publish a summary of the Annual Meeting proposal I submitted for review?
Yes. Once a proposal for a conference presentation is accepted for the HFES Annual Meeting, authors have the option to publish a five page proceedings paper, or up to a one-page abstract of the proposal (view an example). Regardless of the eventual publication option chosen by the authors, a full proposal must be submitted for consideration by the peer reviewers recruited by Technical Program Chairs so that they have sufficient information to determine the quality of the work for presentation at the HFES Annual Meeting. These strategies may help mitigate future concerns about duplicate publication in the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making.

Sample Articles

HFES recommends that prospective authors read sample articles in preparation for making their submissions. A link to available articles from previous issues may be found here.

Manuscript Preparation

Manuscripts should be prepared according to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed., 750 First St., N.E., Washington, DC 20002: 800/374-2721). Manuscripts will not be considered for publication unless they are prepared according to these instructions.

  • Language: Only articles written in English will be considered.
  • Typing the paper: All material should be typed, double-spaced, in no smaller than 10-point font on pages with one-inch margins. Each page should be labeled with the title of the paper and the page number.
  • Sections: In addition to the body of the manuscript, papers should include the following information: article title, name of each author and the authors' primary institution, abstract (200 words maximum), and author biographies (75 words maximum). NOTE: If you are going to request a double-blind review of your paper, please do not include any identifying author information anywhere in the paper. Tables and figures should be grouped at the end of the paper. Contact information for the corresponding author should be provided, including mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address.
  • Format: All files should be in editable format. No restrictions on color figures are placed in the online version of the paper; at the editor's discretion, a limited number of color figures can be published in the print journal where they will particularly contribute to the clarity of the paper.
  • Length: While the journal does not impose a fixed page limit on each submission, the journal itself has a limited annual allotment for printed pages. The writing should provide a sufficient but not excessive description of the key elements of the topic of interest and thewriting should be direct and to the point. Each manuscript will be reviewed to ensure it is an appropriate length.
  • Figures/Tables: Please ensure figure and table files are in their native formats (i.e. TIFF/EPS/JPEG/XLS formats). Three helpful resources for preparing figures are  "Guidelines for Presenting Quantitative Data in HFES Publications" (Gillan, Wickens, Carswell, & Hollands, 1998); "The Time Has Come for Redundant Coding in Print Publications”; and "Applications of Color in Design for Color-Deficient Users."
  • Online Appendices: Where the theoretical contribution of the paper can be best amplified by a substantive description of the target work domain or of other considerations such as a unique test facility or methodology, papers may be accompanied by an appendix. This appendix will be archived online with the paper (but not printed in the paper publication of the journal); content of appendices, mirroring the online format, can include color figures, videos, audio clips, download-able applications and other formats reflecting the journal's online multimedia capability.


The Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making is a refereed journal. Authors may request a totally blind review.

Allow approximately 10 weeks for the first review. Papers that have been published elsewhere in the open literature in the same form, in any language, will not be considered or accepted. Suitably revised papers printed in the proceedings of technical meetings may be submitted for consideration.

Articles that are not in the public domain are copyrighted in the name of HFES. A copyright release must be executed before a manuscript can be published.

How to Submit

Submissions must be sent electronically via

Authors will be asked to identify at least three keywords which should identify their target domain, method and other research descriptions to help identify the most appropriate reviewers.

At the editor's discretion, a limited number of color figures can be published when color is necessary to convey meaning that would be lost were the images to be reproduced in black and white. Charges may apply; to inquire about publishing color images in your submission, contact the HFES Publication Manager Kate Jacobson (312-673-5462).


When quoting more than 150 words from another source, or using a table or figure from another source, it is necessary to obtain written permission from the copyright holder of that source. In the case of adaptations of tables and figures drawn from other sources, written permission must be obtained if more than 40% of the original material is used in the adapted table/figure. Following acceptance of your manuscript, submit permission letters to HFES when the final production-ready manuscript is ready for uploading.

Additional guidance about reprint/reuse permission may be found here.

Open Access Publication Option

Upon final acceptance, authors may choose open access (OA) publication of their work by paying a fee of $1,500. OA papers are made available free of charge as soon as they are published online. If you work is accepted and you wish to opt for OA publication through SAGE Choice, please contact HFES Publication Manager Kate Jacobson (312-673-5462)

For more information, contact HFES at c/o Kate Jacobson, 330 N. Wabash Avenue, #2000, Chicago, IL 60611, or at

Research Data Sharing and Open Data: The journal is committed to facilitating openness, transparency and reproducibility of research, and has the following research data sharing policy. For more information, including FAQs please visit the SAGE Research Data policy pages. Subject to appropriate ethical and legal considerations, authors are encouraged to:

  • Share your research data in a relevant public data repository
  • Include a data availability statement linking to your data. If it is not possible to share your data, we encourage you to consider using the statement to explain why it cannot be shared.
  • Cite this data in your research