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There are more reasons than ever to submit your work to PLOS ONE right now. Today, the journal launches Registered Reports, a new article type that enables authors to preregister and publish their study design protocol before they begin their investigation, followed by a second publication when their research is complete.
PLOS’ Editorial Director and PLOS ONE Editor-in-Chief Joerg Heber announced the new article type earlier this month, as a natural fit for the journal’s mission and means of providing greater clarity and transparency in the publication process.
How it works
Registered Reports consist of two stages of publication beginning with the Registered Report Protocol which describes the proposed rationale, methodology, and any ethical approvals needed for the work. This initial phase of research is submitted before the authors begin their investigation and is peer-reviewed by the journal to ensure the study’s scientific rigor and fit for PLOS ONE’s publication criteria.
After the authors have had an opportunity to conduct their experiments, gather and analyze the data, and write up their conclusions, they can submit their findings as a Registered Report Research Article. This second stage of publication is reviewed for its adherence to the initial protocol. If accepted, the two articles will be bidirectionally linked on our site to show the full progression of the research.
“PLOS ONE promises to publish a study if the accepted protocol is followed, so there are no moving goal posts for authors during the review process.”
– Joerg Heber, Editorial Director and PLOS ONE Editor-in-Chief
Assessment that reflects the research process
Preregistration has clear benefits. Earlier feedback in the research process helps increase the robustness and reproducibility of a study, set clear expectations for authors from the outset, and guarantees an outcome-neutral assessment of the final research. Since both stages of research are published, they will both be eligible for published peer review history to bring additional context to the research.
While Registered Reports are already available at a number of journals, particularly in areas involving clinical research, we’re eager to see this practice take a stronger hold in diverse research communities with a desire to increase the transparency of publication. PLOS ONE offers breadth of scope that serves more than 200 disciplines and we hope the availability of this article type will make it easier for authors who wish to do so, find incentives for preregistering their research.
As Registered Reports are published in two distinct stages, each stage is subject to an APC. However, for authors who submit a Registered Report Protocol before July 31, 2020, PLOS ONE will waive the fee for publication of the subsequent Research Article when they have completed their investigation.
How to get started
If you’re about to begin a new study and want to preregister your work, view PLOS ONE’s publication criteria and submit your manuscript from the journal site. We also encourage researchers to deposit their Registered Reports Protocol with the Center of Open Science Registry.