Few phenomena damage research more than only publishing results that support the hypotheses, also known as publication bias, and questionable research practices. Both stem from incentives to publish eye-catching results.
Our ethos as a journal has always been to fight the phenomenon of the file-drawer effect, where researchers self-select which of their research output should be published based on their estimation of whether a journal will be interested. At Scientific Reports we want to ensure that there is a place in the peer reviewed literature for original contributions that are incremental, or not quite complete, but are also methodologically robust with conclusions supported by the evidence presented. While we cannot change what incentives motivate researchers, we can provide an outlet for work that is done to the quality that makes it unassailable.
Over the last decade the research community has increasingly recognised that more can be done – and that changes can be made in both how research is performed and how it is published. The outcome: introduction of Registered Reports as an article format, which undergoes a two-stage peer review process, one before data collection and one afterwards. Registered Reports are a formalisation of the approach previously developed in clinical sciences for registration of clinical trial protocols. They force the authors to a stronger commitment to protocol adherence. At the same time, they protect researchers from a subjective judgment of the outcome of their research.
While Registered Reports have been gaining ground mostly in the fields stricken by ‘reproducibility crises’, such as psychology, neuroscience and cancer research, we believe they can be beneficial for all fields of science, and are delighted to now open our doors to Registered Reports submissions from across all disciplines in the scope of Scientific Reports.
You can read our inaugural Editorial here.
If you are interested in the format or considering a submission of a Registered Reports, you can find more information on this article type and specific submission requirements on our homepage. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org