The practice of registering a scientific study before it is conducted is called pre-registration. Pre-registration of studies serves to prevent publication bias and reduce data dredging. It arose as a means to address the replication crisis. Pregistration requires the submission of a registered report, which is then accepted for publication or rejected by a journal based on theoretical justification, experimental design, and the proposed statistical analysis.
The registered report format requires authors to submit a description of the study methods and analyses prior to data collection. Once the method and analysis plan is vetted through peer-review, publication of the findings is provisionally guaranteed, based on whether the authors follow the proposed protocol. One goal of registered reports is to circumvent the publication bias toward significant findings that can lead to implementation of questionable research practices and to encourage publication of studies with rigorous methods. Registered reports differ from pre-registration: the latter involves creating a time-stamped non-modifiable public record of the study and analysis plan before the data is collected. However, unlike registered reports, the study and analysis plan is not subjected to peer review.
The journal Psychological Science has encouraged the preregistration of studies and the reporting of effect sizes and confidence intervals. The editor in chief also noted that the editorial staff will be asking for replication of studies with surprising findings from examinations using small sample sizes before allowing the manuscripts to be published.
The journal Nature Human Behaviour has adopted the registered report format, as it “shift[s] the emphasis from the results of research to the questions that guide the research and the methods used to answer them”.
The European Journal of Personality defines this format: “In a registered report, authors create a study proposal that includes theoretical and empirical background, research questions/hypotheses, and pilot data (if available). Upon submission, this proposal will then be reviewed prior to data collection, and if accepted, the paper resulting from this peer-reviewed procedure will be published, regardless of the study outcomes.”
Moreover, only a very small proportion of academic journals in psychology and neurosciences explicitly stated that they welcome submissions of replication studies in their aim and scope or instructions to authors. This phenomenon does not encourage the reporting or even attempt on replication studies.
Overall, however, the number of participating journals seems to be increasing slowly as indicated by the Center for Open Science which maintains a list of journals encouraging the submission of registered reports.
- "Registered Replication Reports". Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- Chambers, Chris. "Psychology's 'registration revolution'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- Lindsay, D. Stephen (2015-11-09). "Replication in Psychological Science". Psychological Science. 26 (12): 1827–32. doi:10.1177/0956797615616374. ISSN 0956-7976. PMID 26553013.
- "Promoting reproducibility with registered reports". Nature Human Behaviour. 1: 0034. 2017. doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0034.
- Yeung, Andy W. K. (2017). "Do Neuroscience Journals Accept Replications? A Survey of Literature". Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 11. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00468. ISSN 1662-5161. PMC 5611708. PMID 28979201.
- Martin, G. N.; Clarke, Richard M. (2017). "Are Psychology Journals Anti-replication? A Snapshot of Editorial Practices". Frontiers in Psychology. 8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00523. ISSN 1664-1078. PMID 28443044.
- "Registered Reports Overview". Center for Open Science. Retrieved 2018-11-28.