A preregistration is a detailed description of a study plan, including hypotheses, data collection procedures, and an analysis plan.
Preregistering a study or research project lets other researchers know what you're working on, reducing the duplication of research and opening up opportunities for collaboration. It also demonstrates transparency, facilitates reproducibility, and reduces study bias.
Where to register your research will depend on a number of factors, including your discipline and the type of study being conducted.
For some disciplines, a subject-specific registry might be the best fit. For example:
Prominent multidisciplinary registries include:
Although long practised by certain disciplines, particularly psychology and other health sciences, preregistration is becoming increasingly common across all disciplines.
Preregistrations come in many forms, depending on discipline and the kind of study being undertaken. But whatever the discipline, and whatever form the preregistration takes, it should:
Major registries often contain their own advice for creating robust preregistrations. See, for example:
For further advice on creating reproducible study designs for preregistration, see the following:
Australia’s primary clinical trial registry is the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). For a list of other Australian clinical trial registries, and details on how to register, visit the Australian Clinical Trials website.
ANZCTR is one of many registries that feeds records into the World Health Organisation’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).
Another prominent clinical trial registry is ClinicalTrials.gov, a US site listing clinical trials in the US and in other countries, including Australia
At the University of Melbourne, clinical trials support is available through the Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health research hub (MISCH). The MISCH Clinical Trials team offers free consults for University researchers.
When a preregistration or study design is submitted to an academic journal for peer review, it becomes part of a Registered Report.
A Registered Report usually comprises two components:
Stage 1: Registered Report Protocol. The peer reviewed study design, including an introduction (with the research question and hypotheses), methods, and analysis plan. If necessary, pilot data may be included. Acceptance of the Protocol includes in-principle acceptance of the Research Article.
Stage 2: Registered Report Research Article. The final research report including results, discussion, and conclusion. Also peer reviewed, primarily based on adherence to original study design.
Since being proposed in 2012, over 300 journals now publish Registered Reports, either regularly or in special issues. Some prominent examples include:
A list of journals accepting Registered Report proposals can be found on the Centre for Open Science's Registered Reports website, which also contains links to submission guidelines for each publisher.
When preparing study design for submission, it is important to pay close attention to the journal’s submission guidelines for Registered Reports. These will often require the use of specific formats or templates, set out the expectations of the journal’s editors, and describe the publication process.
Consider these examples of journal-specific submission guidelines:
In general, editors will want to see a sound and robust study design that includes sufficient detail for the study to be replicated.
Examples of published Registered Report Protocols can be found at: