Language Development Research: An Open-Science Journal

Read author guidelines (PDF) before submission, and ensure your article includes a standalone Data, Code and Materials Availability Statement.

Science is for everyone. We set up Language Development Research (ISSN 2771-7976) because we don't believe in locking articles behind paywalls, in charging taxpayers and universities to publish research they've already funded, or in privileging papers that are "exciting" over those committed to scientific rigour. We believe that open science is better science. We uphold the highest standards of research integrity. We insist on open data and materials, and commit to publishing every article that is judged by our peer review process to meet our criteria for methodological and theoretical rigour.

We invite submissions of empirical and theoretical investigations of children's language development: typical and atypical, mono-, bi- and multi-lingual, spoken, signed, or written. We are also interested in the exploration of any topic or population relevant to language development, broadly construed (e.g., second language learning, artificial language learning, adult psycholinguistics, computational modeling).

Fiercely independent, we are answerable to no one except the scientific community and our 30-member strong Editorial Board of respected researchers. Please browse our articles (below on this page), learn more about the journal and its editorial policies, and, when you're ready, submit your article.

Open editorial search: Editor-in-Chief

Dear Colleagues,

Language Development Research (LDR) is soliciting nominations, including self-nominations, for a new Editor-in-Chief. As an independent open-science journal (ISSN 2771-7976) founded in 2020, LDR publishes empirical and theoretical investigations of language development, broadly construed. Submissions are peer-reviewed, and if accepted, are published fully open-access with no publication fees.

The work of the Editor-in-Chief is supported by a team of Action Editors and a 30 member Editorial Board. The incoming Editor-in-Chief’s term is set to begin in March 2025 for a duration of up to five years (non-renewable). The deadline for nominations is July 1, 2024.

Please note, although LDR is seeking nominations for an Editor-in-Chief, joint applications for Co-Editors-in-Chief are also welcome. Letters of interest and questions regarding the position can be sent to Patricia Brooks (, Head of the LDR Editorial Board, and Danielle Matthews (, Member of the LDR Editorial Board and Co-Chair of the Search Committee.

LDR is committed to publishing “any empirical or theoretical paper that is relevant to the field of language development and that meets our criteria for rigour, without regard to the perceived novelty or importance of the findings.” The Editor-In-Chief is responsible for screening submissions for relevance to the journal and compliance with Open Science policies and for assigning an Action Editor. Upon acceptance, the Editor-in-Chief is responsible for checking that the final manuscript conforms with LDR guidelines, obtaining a DOI, publishing the manuscript, and adding it to the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Call for papers: Special Issue on The Development of Metaphor Comprehension

Whether or not children can understand metaphor (e.g., ‘John is a lion,’ conveying that John is strong and brave) has been a matter of contention in the developmental literature for several decades (for reviews, see Gibbs, 1994; Pouscoulous, 2011; Vosniadou, 1987; Winner, 1988/1997). Much of the research on metaphor comprehension in children was conducted during the 1970s and 80s and suggested that children’s abilities with figurative language are only attained in early adolescence (Asch & Nerlove, 1960; Winner, 1988/1997; Winner, Rosenstiel, & Gardner, 1976). Some more recent research suggests that the lack of understanding found by early studies was linked in part to the complexity of the tasks used and attests instead to an early metaphorical ability emerging during the preschool years (Deamer, 2013; Pouscoulous, 2011; Özçalışkan, 2005).

Despite the recent resurgence of interest in studies of metaphor development, the field is missing a coherent account of how metaphor comprehension abilities develop throughout childhood. This gap may be due to methodological differences, but there could also be theoretical conflicts. For instance, the idea that children go through a prolonged literal stage, processing language literally regardless of context, persists in some recent accounts of figurative language development (Levorato & Caccari, 1995, 2002). This position, however, is at odds with other findings in pragmatic development, which highlight children’s early pragmatic competence (Matthews, 2014). There is a clear need to integrate insights from children’s metaphor and figurative language comprehension into the broader research context of pragmatic development.

The aim of the special issue is to bring together researchers who work on metaphor development across the lifespan from different theoretical perspectives and methodologies. We especially encourage papers that link theoretical and empirical research, for instance by conducting theoretically informed empirical studies or by empirically testing and comparing the predictions of existing pragmatic theories of metaphor comprehension development. We also welcome methodological papers. We invite authors to submit their original research manuscripts via (for author guidelines, see: When submitting, please be sure to select Metaphor Comprehension Special Issue in the Article Type/Section box.

Important dates
Submission deadline: 1 May 2024

(Action) Editors
Ingrid Lossius Falkum & Mary Beth Neff