Transparency and independent replication are of central value to science. However, scientists are sometimes "forced" to publish what is most likely to lead to positive results, even if this is at the expense of transparent and reproducible research. For this reason, reported positive results often do not reflect the original hypothesis.
When you preregister your research, you're simply specifying your research plan in advance of your study and submitting it to a registry.
Preregistration separates hypothesis-generating (exploratory) from hypothesis-testing (confirmatory) research. Both are important. But the same data cannot be used to generate and test a hypothesis, which can happen unintentionally and reduce the credibility of your results. Addressing this problem through planning improves the quality and transparency of your research. This helps you clearly report your study and helps others who may wish to build on it (COS).
Preregistration is a time-stamped freezing of a certain document. It is available to others and cannot be deleted. If an update of the document is necessary, a new version can be uploaded that is clearly marked as such with a new time stamp. Preregistation is useful for depositing an experimental plan that is about to executed in the described manner. It publicly permits the comparison between planned experiment and a final report of the outcome. Since a preregistration is always a public deposit, setting an embargo when information becomes available is possible.
Where can you pre-register?
Preregistration is currently possible at:
As special form of preregistration is a registered report which is offered by certain journals. Registered reports outline the proposed experimental designs and protocols, which are then peer reviewed prior to data collection. After successful peer review, experiments can be conducted as agreed upon. Then final report containing the results and discussion is drafted and submitted to the journal where the design was registered and the second round of peer review starts.
The advantage is that a publication cannot be denied on the reason of poor experimental design, making it very likely that a carefully planned and registered study leads to a publication. Outcome is not a factor for publication.
Registered Reports are possible at these journals:
Animal Study Registry
The Animal Study Registry is an online registry for scientific studies with animals conducted worldwide. The Registry was established in response to the reproducibility crisis and provides a platform for scientists to register a detailed study plan before starting experiments to prevent selective reporting. This allows reviewers or other scientists to compare the originally registered content with the final publication. This promotes transparency, reproducibility and animal welfare.
Animal Study Registry at German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
Preclinical trials aims to provide a comprehensive listing of preclinical animal study protocols. Preferably registered at inception in order to increase transparency, help avoid duplication, and reduce the risk of reporting bias by enabling comparison of the completed study with what was planned in the protocol.
- Center of Open Science (COS)
- The Preregistration Revolution
- Research Preregistration 101
- Preregistration: A Plan, Not a Prison
- A manifesto for reproducible science
- Trust in science would be improved by study pre-registration
- Let’s think about cognitive bias
- Seven Selfish Reasons for Preregistration
- Animal Study Registry
- Preclinical Trials