Why Publish a Registered Report? Three Experts Share Their Insights

September 10, 2018 Elizabeth Moylan

As part of this year’s peer review week activities, we’re hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, September 12th to discuss Registered Reports. Serena Tan (Senior Editor, Publishing Development, Wiley) will be chairing the discussion and inviting perspectives on the Registered Reports initiative from guest speakers Nidhi Bansal (Editor-in-Chief, Cancer Reports) Daryl O’Connor (Chair, British Psychological Society Research Board) and Eric Prager (Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Neuroscience Research).

RR panel.JPG

The Registered Report article format takes an innovative approach to peer review using a two-step peer review process as outlined in this infographic. The first step involves researchers submitting the rationale for their study (including methods) for peer review with a journal before the study is executed. The peer review process focuses on the validity of the research question and the proposed methodology. If the outcome of peer review is positive, the paper is accepted in principle by the journal with a commitment to publish regardless of the findings. At this point, the approved Stage 1 Registered Report can be registered with the Open Science Framework (or other recognized repository) or published by the journal. When the study is completed and resubmitted, further peer review ensures the study is consistent with the proposed research plan and draws appropriate conclusions. The final step is a published Stage 2 Registered Report.

Registered Reports bring many benefits to research publishing, including increased inclusivity and transparency. However, there are challenges in terms of additional steps involved in pre-registering a study protocol and further peer review. Ahead of the webinar taking place on Wednesday, September 12t,we asked our guest speakers for their thoughts on the Registered Report initiative to give you a flavor of the topics we will be discussing in more depth.

Q. Eric, why did you adopt the Registered Report format at Journal of Neuroscience Research?

A. My primary motivation was to help reduce research bias, enhance credibility and potential reproducibility of the work. The format gives researchers a framework for designing and conducting experiments in the most transparent and rigorous manner. Acceptance at Stage 1 ensures that all studies, regardless of statistical significance will be published, as long as they have been rigorously and transparently executed.

Q. Nidhi, what are the benefits and challenges to offering Registered Reports for your journal?

A. The benefits for adopting Registered Reports at Cancer Reports are clear and simple – to reassert among cancer researchers and oncologists the value of rational hypothesis, robust methods and statistically competent analysis over and above the “direction” of the research findings. Registered Reports evaluates the ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ of a research study as opposed to the outcome and its perceived impact. Endorsement of Registered Reports will strengthen the core framework of cancer research and enable researchers around the world to reproduce and advance ground-breaking discoveries.

While the values of accurate reporting, transparency and research reproducibility are generally appreciated by every researcher, editor and funder, there are challenges too. The main challenge to achieving more widespread adoption of Registered Reports is the need for a paradigm shift so that ‘success’ is not largely dependent on studies with exceptional outcomes.

Q. Daryl, what are the benefits of Registered Reports in your field and do you see them being more widely adopted?

A. These are exciting times for psychology, and it is great that psychology has been leading the way in terms of open science initiatives. The introduction of Registered Reports will increase the transparency of psychology and allow peer review of research studies before the results are known. As a consequence, this will help reduce the use of questionable research practices while improving the quality of our research protocols, that will ultimately improve the robustness of our evidence base.

More widespread offering of Registered Reports across other fields represents an important step forward for more inclusive research publishing. However, the real impact will hinge on journals strongly encouraging or requiring authors of Registered Reports to agree to register their approved protocol on the Open Science Framework or other recognized repository, either publicly or under private embargo until final acceptance. The British Psychological Society has introduced this for all 11 of its journals. This is vital to ensure the integrity of Registered Reports and will easily allow comparisons to be made between the planned and published protocols.

Thank you, Eric, Nidhi, and Daryl. To learn more about the challenges and opportunities with the Registered Reports initiative, and put your questions to our speakers, do join us this coming Wednesday. Click here to register.

Here is a list of journals curated by the Center for Open Science that offer researchers Registered Reports.

Wiley has a Registered Reports toolkit to help launch Registered Reports. Please speak with your publisher so together we can make this option available for researchers in your communities. Journals published by Wiley that offer now (or will soon offer) researchers the option to submit a Registered Report include:

Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Brain and Behavior

British Journal of Clinical Psychology

British Journal of Developmental Psychology

British Journal of Educational Psychology

British Journal of Health Psychology

British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology

British Journal of Psychology

British Journal of Social Psychology

Cancer Medicine

Cancer Reports

Clinical Endocrinology

Developmental Science

Ecology and Evolution

Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

European Journal of Neuroscience

European Journal of Personality

Immunity, Inflammation and Disease


Journal of Accounting Research

Journal of Clinical Nursing

Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

Journal of Neuropsychology

Journal of Neuroscience Research

Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science

Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Journal of Research in Reading

Language Learning

Legal and Criminological Psychology

Mind, Brain and Education

Psycho Oncology

Psychology and Marketing

Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Stress and Health

About the Author

Elizabeth Moylan

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