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Registered Reports reviewer guidelines

In-depth Registered Reports guidance for reviewers, fostering rigorous and unbiased evaluations for better science.

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Registered Reports is an article type that allows authors to have their research hypothesis and methods pre-registered, reviewed and published prior to conducting their research. The full article that follows this research is guaranteed to be published, provided that authors stick to the agreed protocol. This two-step publication process minimizes bias and allows authors to put an early claim on their research hypothesis. It also enables them to receive early feedback on the study design and facilitates the publication of unexpected or negative results, which can be just as informative as, or even more so than, positive results.

The review process for Registered Reports is divided into two stages. At stage I, reviewers assess study proposals before data are collected. At stage II, reviewers consider the full study, including results and interpretation.

Stage I manuscripts should include only an introduction, methods (including proposed analyses), and pilot data (where applicable). When considering papers at stage I, reviewers will be asked to assess:

  • The importance of the research question(s)

  • The logic, rationale, and plausibility of the proposed hypotheses

  • The soundness and feasibility of the methodology and analysis pipeline (including statistical power analysis where appropriate)

  • Whether the clarity and degree of methodological detail is sufficient to exactly replicate the proposed experimental procedures and analysis

  • Whether the authors have pre-specified sufficient outcome-neutral tests for ensuring that the results obtained are able to test the stated hypotheses, including positive controls and quality checks

  • Whether all ethical considerations of the study been considered and dealt with adequately

Following stage I peer review, manuscripts will be accepted, offered the opportunity to revise, or rejected outright. Manuscripts that pass peer review will be issued an “in principle acceptance (IPA)”, indicating that the article will be published pending successful completion of the study according to the pre-registered methods and analytic procedures, as well as a defensible and evidence-based interpretation of the results.

Following completion of the study, authors will complete the manuscript, including results and discussion sections. These stage II manuscripts will more closely resemble a regular article format. The manuscript will either be evaluated by the handling editor or sent back for peer review (journal and case dependent). If the editor is not in a position to judge whether the registered protocol was followed as agreed, then the stage II manuscript will be sent to the reviewers who also reviewed stage I (where possible and reasonable). A stage II manuscript can be evaluated by checking whether:

  • The introduction, rationale, and stated hypotheses presented in this manuscript align with the ones in the approved stage I article

  • The authors strictly adhere to the registered experimental procedures, or, if not, whether any deviations are reasonable and if they are still able to answer the originally posed research questions

  • The data provided can effectively test the authors' proposed hypotheses

  • The authors' conclusions are justified based on the provided data

  • Any unregistered post hoc analyses introduced by the authors are justified, methodologically sound, and add valuable information

Reviewers at stage II may suggest that authors report additional post hoc tests on their data; however authors are not obliged to do so unless such tests are necessary to satisfy one or more of the stage II review criteria. Please note that editorial decisions will not be based on the perceived importance, novelty, or conclusiveness of the results.

These Registered Reports reviewer guidelines were created with the help of information available at the Open Science Framework (OSF)(opens in new tab/window)

For author and editor guidelines, please visit: