Registered Report Initiative

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Diagram showing the research process for a registered report, image borrowed from the Center for Open Science’s Registered Reports Now! campaign

What is this all about?

This page is inspired by the Registered Reports Now! campaign, run by the Center for Open Science. It’s a grass roots (if you can call it grass roots when the roots are all scientists) campaign designed to put pressure on journals: encouraging them to support papers as Registered Reports (in addition to their existing formats).

Registered Reports are a fantastic initiative designed to decrease publication bias in ecology and reduce the incentives to use Questionable Research Practices, because your research is accepted or rejected based on the idea and methods alone… not on the statistical significance, or non-significance of your results. They come into their own for confirmatory research but could also be useful in exploratory research if you have a really clear method in mind.

When preparing a Registered Report, you develop your idea, design your study and write up your introduction and methods sections. These get submitted for review: your article gets judged on the merits of the idea, design an proposed methods. You receive feedback from reviewers BEFORE you conduct the study… when it’s most useful. If the reviewers are satisfied with your design, the journal provisionally accepts your article. They will publish it as long as you did what you described in your methods (or something that is justifiably different) and write it up in a compelling way.

Registered Reports in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Registered Reports are a really great initiative… but currently they are NOT very available to researchers in ecology and evolutionary biology. Ecology and Evolution, BMC Biology, BMC Ecology, and PCI Ecology currently accept registered reports and Conservation Biology is in the process of initiating them which is FANTASTIC but, still pretty restrictive. I would like to see all Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Journals offer Registered Reports.

What are we doing about it

Previously, on this site I had a link to a google form, asking people to co-sign an email ecology, evolution and conservation journals asking them to support Registered Reports. 74 researchers from across the globe indicated their support. As of the 1st of October 2018, I have emailed 47 of the top ecology evolution and conservation journals to ask them to support Registered Reports.  I’ll try to keep this updated as the different journals respond but so far:

  • PLOS Biology has said that they are updating their manuscript submission processes to facilitate Registered Reports
  • The Journal of Applied Ecology has said that the British Ecological Society has been considering Registered Reports for a while and hope to pilot them soon

 

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