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Registered Reports: A challenging open science practice that offers great opportunity to all disciplines

The presenter guides the audience step by step through the process of writing and publishing a Registered Report using personal published work as an example. Both advantages and concerns are discussed from an early career perspective.

Published onApr 27, 2023
Registered Reports: A challenging open science practice that offers great opportunity to all disciplines


Study objectives: Registered Reports (RRs) are an open science practice where researchers submit the introduction and methods section of a manuscript for peer-review prior to data collection/analysis. Following acceptance of this Stage 1 submission, researchers collect/analyze data and, providing the study is conducted as per the accepted Stage 1 submission, the full manuscript is guaranteed to be published irrespective of the results. RRs commit journals to publish papers based on the importance of the research questions and the quality of the methods, rather than the results, reducing publication bias. RRs have many advantages, but they are also one of the more complicated and challenging open science practices to implement in research. This presentation provides practical guidance on how to approach publishing according to this article format using an example from the author’s work, and gives an early career perspective on the advantages and challenges of RRs.

Methods and material: The two-step publication process of RRs is explained, aiming to highlight the possibilities, along with the challenges, of RRs by using published work on attachment and self-harm in adolescents as a case study. Data used for this case study were pre-existing and originate from a large-scale (N=1913) general population study of mental health and development in Flemish adolescents, called “SIGMA”.

Results: Advantages of RRs include enhanced reproducibility and transparency in science, and reduced likelihood of publication bias, p-hacking, and HARKing (i.e. hypothesizing after the results are known and presenting the hypothesis as a priori) across all disciplines. Concerns include the time commitment for RRs relative to “traditional” article formats and power analysis for statistically rare phenomena. Potential solutions to these concerns include advance planning and two-step power calculations.

Conclusion: Implementing open science practices, such as publishing in the RR article format, as an early career researcher is feasible and offers great opportunity, but advance planning is crucial. RRs reward best practices, create incentives for direct replication, and increase accuracy and credibility of published results. Therefore, these offer opportunities for a higher degree of reproducibility and transparency in research across all disciplines.


Author biography

Julie Janssens (KU Leuven) is a 4th year PhD student at the Center for Contextual Psychiatry, a clinical psychologist, and a family therapist. Her research is mainly focused on investigating proximal and distal predictors of self-harm thoughts and behaviors, using the experience sampling methodology, with a special focus on attachment relationships. Julie has preregistered all of her published work and her first paper was a Registered Report using pre-existing data – the first published Registered Report on self-harm.

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