Pre-registration, broadly defined, is a research practice that some journals are implementing to ensure higher quality research.
Some journals require researchers to submit their research rationale, hypotheses, design, and analysis plan before collecting data. Other journals provide the option to do so.
Similar to the typical journal review process, pre-registration can undergo revision and/or rejection. Once accepted, researchers can collect data. After the study is completed, the final article will undergo a second round of reviews. Articles cannot be rejected due to the outcome of the study but can be rejected for other reasons, such as failing to employ proposed manipulation checks or if there are extensive and unjustified changes to the pre-registered research designs.
For more resource regarding the discussion surrounding pre-registration, refer to the right column.
Types of Pre-Registration
According to the Association for Psychological Sciences, there are three types of pre-registration.
1. Pre-Registration (Unreviewed Pre-Registration)
Researchers create detailed descriptions of their research plans and save them in a time-stamped, uneditable archive. These plans can be shared with reviewers, editors, and fellow researchers upon request.
2. Registered Reports (Reviewed Pre-Registration)
Researchers submit detailed proposals for their studies to a journal before conducting the study. If accepted, the studies are published regardless of their outcomes.
3. Registration Replication Reports
This is a variant of the registered reports. They are focused on direct replication of one or more original findings. Many labs follow the same preregistered plan, and the results from all of those independent studies are published collectively regardless of the outcomes of individual studies.
Where to Pre-Register
There are many online platforms by which you can pre-register. The individual platforms make it easy to pre-register; you just have to follow their instructions. Refer to the following list of links to the individual websites to determine which to use.
Platforms Less Relevant to Behavioral Research
Journals That Endorse Pre-Registration
Below is a list of some relevant journals which endorse pre-registration in some form (i.e. registered reports accepted as regular submission etc.). Refer to this sheet (correct as of August 2015) for more information.
Journals Offering Registered Reports
- Advances in Methodologies and Practices in Psychological Science
- American Journal of Political Science
- American Political Science Review
- American Politics Research
- Animal Behavior and Cognition
- Attention, Perception & Psychophysics
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognition & Emotion
- Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications
- Comparative Political Studies
- Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology
- Experimental Psychology
- Journal of Accounting Research
- Journal of Business and Psychology
- Journal of European Psychology Students
- Journal of Experimental Political Science
- Journal of Media Psychology
- Journal of Personnel Psychology
- Judgement and Decision Making
- Management and Organization Review
- Nature Human Behaviour
- Perspectives on Psychological Science
- Political Analysis
- Political Behavior
- Political Science Quarterly
- Political Science Research and Methods
- Public Opinion Quarterly
- Royal Society Open Science
- Social Psychology
Journals Offering Some Features of Registered Reports
- Communication Methods and Measures
- Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology