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Registered Reports author guidelines

A comprehensive guide to Registered Reports for authors, ensuring transparency and reproducibility from the start.

Registered reports author guidelines

Studies that publish both stage I and stage II with Elsevier

The study will be published in two articles – stage I and stage II – which will be linked via an in-article link on ScienceDirect for ease of navigation. Registered Reports are only deemed appropriate for empirical research.

Registered Reports stage I submission requirements

Manuscript

Your initial submission should include the following sections:

  • Title: Please indicate clearly that you are submitting a Registered Report stage I by employing the following format: “Registered Report - stage I: [Insert Title]”.

  • Introduction: A comprehensive yet brief background literature review that motivates the research question and provides a full description of the experimental aims and hypotheses.

  • Methods: A detailed description of the proposed sample, experimental procedures, and analysis pipeline, including all pre-processing steps and planned analyses. Statistical power calculations or Bayesian equivalent must be included. If opting to share data publicly, please indicate where these will be stored.

  • Ethics statement: Include an ethics statement at the end of the methods section containing required and obtained approvals for the study (e.g., agreement of legal owners of material – such as indigenous peoples, foundations, or otherwise; medical ethics committee approvals; etc.).

  • Pilot data (optional)

  • Funding source if relevant and available at this stage (optional)

  • Impact (optional)

Cover letter

Your stage I submission should also include a brief cover letter that includes:

  • Scientific case: A brief overview of the scientific basis for your study and its expected contribution to the field.

  • Feasibility and approvals: please include secured / available funding, (ethical) approvals, availability of equipment and expertise, etc.

  • Timeline: An anticipated timeline for completing the study if accepted.

Other than the elements described in this guide, authors are requested to follow the normal formatting guidelines requested by the journal.

Stage I review process

The handling editor may send your stage I manuscript for peer review if complete and the submission adheres to the standards and scope of the journal. The handling editor and reviewers will review the manuscript on the feasibility, methodological rigor, and relevance of the research question to the field of study. Following either stage of review, the manuscript may be rejected, returned for revision, or accepted for stage I. If an “accept” decision is made, your stage I article will be published, and you will receive an “in principle accepted (IPA)” status for stage II. You may then proceed to conduct the study and submit the stage II manuscript for review upon completion. If during the study you find that you are forced to employ a different method than agreed with the journal, please contact the handling editor for agreement on the change. Provided the requested change does not change the research question investigated or the extent to which the proposed question can be answered, this may be acceptable.

Stage I additional information

Article Publishing Charge: If you choose to publish your Registered Report gold open access, you will receive a discounted Article Publishing Charge (APC). You will only need to pay 80% of the regular APC of the journal for your stage I manuscript. The APC for your stage II manuscript will be completely waived, provided you publish both stages with the same journal.

Intellectual property: If you wish to use any ideas of your stage I submission for obtaining intellectual property rights it may be appropriate to employ an embargo period. Please contact the editorial office if you wish to make use of this option.

Stage I publication: By submitting a stage I Registered Report to one of the journals found here, you agree to the publication of stage I in the journal.

Data sharing: By submitting a Registered Report, you agree to share your raw data, study materials, and computer code (if relevant) with the handling editor and peer reviewer(s) if requested. You are also encouraged to make the raw data available publicly (optional and journal dependent).

Stage I reference to stage II: If you decide to submit your stage II manuscript to another journal, please inform the editorial office so that proper reference can be made.

Terminated registration: If the study cannot be completed after your stage I Registered Report is accepted and published, you are expected to publish a summary of your study as a “Terminated Registration”. If the reason is that the proposed methods are not adequately suited to study the proposed question, please include pilot data to demonstrate that the question is unanswerable with the currently available technology. This statement takes a similar approach as a corrigendum and there is no charge for such a publication. Please contact the editorial office for further details.

Registered Reports stage II submission requirements

Manuscript

Your stage II submission should include a complete manuscript that includes the following sections:

  • Title: Please indicate clearly that you are submitting a Registered Report stage II by employing the following format: “Registered Report - stage II: [Insert same title as stage I]”.

  • Introduction: The spirit of the introduction must remain the same as the original stage I introduction, although the exact wording may be changed to include references relevant to the completed research or to correct typographic mistakes. The authors may decide to submit the introduction unchanged, but in this case it ought to be quoted. Please reference your stage I Registered Report protocol at the end of the introduction using the following format: “This study is part of a Registered Report. The stage I article was authored by [insert first author name] et. al. [insert reference].”

  • Methods: These include a reference to the stage I Registered Report protocol, and a summary of the methods described in stage I. Please indicate clearly whether and where you deviated from any agreed materials and methods. Please also indicate any deviations in a table format (include headers: Agreed Method, Deviation, and Reason). Refer to the supplementary methods section to highlight supplementary data showing why a certain method did not work. Indicate the place where the raw data of the study can be found (optional / journal dependent).

  • Ethics statement: Include an ethics statement at the end of the methods section containing required and obtained approvals for the study (e.g., agreement of legal owners of material – such as indigenous peoples, foundations, or otherwise; medical ethics committee approvals; etc.) when appropriate.

  • Results, discussion, and conclusion: These sections are presented according to regular journal publishing standards as seen in full-length articles.

  • Funding source: Indicate the name of the funding body, the grant name, and number.

Cover letter

Your stage II submission should also include a brief cover letter that includes:

  • Agreement adherence: Please state whether you have exactly followed the protocol as agreed and in case of deviation from the original protocol, please indicate when this was agreed with the journal, and why deviation took place (e.g., no availability of equipment, inadequate equipment, etc.). Indicate where the raw data can be found if they were saved in a publicly available repository.

Stage II review process

The stage II manuscript will be evaluated based on adherence to agreed standards with the journal when the IPA was received. Please note that deviation from agreed research question and methods in stage I, where not agreed with the handling editor of the journal, may lead to a rejection in stage II. If the author has not deviated from the agreed methodology and the handling editor is an expert in the field of study, then the study may be accepted by the handling editor (field, journal, and case dependent). Where the handling editor is not in a position to evaluate whether the agreed methodology has been followed to a satisfactory standard, they may decide to send it out for peer review. The journal will endeavor, where possible and reasonable, to have the stage II manuscript peer reviewed by the same experts that peer reviewed the stage I protocol if this is considered necessary.

Other than the elements described in this guide, authors are requested to follow the normal formatting guidelines requested by the journal.

Stage II additional information

  • Stage I submission details: Clearly indicate the Submission Number and DOI (digital object identifier) of your stage I published protocol in the provided field during the submission, so that it is easy for journal staff to link the two parts of the study on ScienceDirect.

  • Alternative publication: In accordance with our journal's policy, the Article Publishing Charge (APC) to be paid is specifically applicable to the publication of Registered Reports in the Elsevier journal selected. This payment does not guarantee or cover the publication fees of any other journals. Authors retain the freedom to consider alternative publication venues for data obtained as part of their Registered Reports, but any associated fees for those alternate journals will be the authors' responsibility. If authors choose to publish in another journal, they must ensure that they obtain the appropriate permissions through ScienceDirect (in the case of Elsevier) or the relevant platform to avoid any potential copyright issues later. They should also properly reference stage I. By proceeding with the publication in the selected Elsevier journal, authors acknowledge and accept these terms.

Studies that publish only stage II with Elsevier

Studies that have used a Registered Reports format by either:

  • Voluntarily publishing their stage I protocol in an open database

  • Publishing stage I with another journal or publisher

will be published as normal full-length articles and will be reviewed as such. Although we appreciate that your pre-registration has immense value to the scientific process and community, not all parts of the process transfer equally. That is, if an “in principle accepted” decision was provided by another journal, this does not automatically apply to stage II publication in another Elsevier journal. Furthermore, the article will be seen as a completely new submission and full article charges will apply when publishing gold open access.

Manuscript

Your stage II submission should include a complete manuscript that includes the following sections:

  • Title: Please indicate clearly that you are submitting a Registered Report stage II by employing the following format: “Registered Report - stage II: [Insert Title]”.

  • Introduction: Please reference your stage I Registered Report protocol at the end of the introduction (separated by a return) using the following format: “This study is part of a Registered Report. The original Registered Report protocol was authored by [insert first author name] et al. [insert reference].”

  • Methods: These include a reference to the stage I Registered Report protocol but also require that you describe your full methods to avoid potential problems with access. Please indicate whether and where you deviated from any proposed materials and methods. Refer to the supplementary methods section to highlight supplementary data showing why a certain method did not work. Indicate the place where the raw data of the study can be found if relevant (optional). Include an ethics statement if relevant (e.g., agreement of legal owners of material – such as indigenous peoples, foundations, or otherwise; medical ethics committee approvals; etc.).

  • Results, discussion, and conclusion: These sections are presented according to regular journal publishing standards as seen in full-length articles for the journal. Guidelines can be found in the regular guide for authors of the journal.

  • Funding source: Indicate the name of the funding body, the grant name, and number where available.

Cover letter

Your stage II submission should also include a brief cover letter that includes:

  • Scientific case: A brief overview of the scientific basis for your study and its contribution to the field.

  • Agreement adherence: Please state whether you have exactly followed the protocol as agreed in stage I and in case of deviation of the original protocol, please why deviation took place (e.g., no availability of equipment, inadequate equipment, etc.). Indicate where the raw data can be found if they were saved in a publicly available repository (optional).

Other than the elements described in this guide, the authors are requested to follow the normal formatting guidelines requested by the journal.

For reviewer and editor guidelines, please visit: