Preregistration & ZPID

What is preregistration and why do we need it?

Pre-registration of a study means that researchers archive a protocol of a planned study in an independent third-party repository (e. g. PsychArchives) before data is collected or accessed.

Pre-registration improves the quality, reliability, and credibility of (psychological) research. It provides a clear distinction between confirmatory and exploratory hypothesis testing and focuses on good ideas and rigorous methodology rather than on the outcome of an investigation.

This emphasis is desirable and necessary because, whereas the methods are under the control of the researcher, results should not. Unfortunately, careers in academia are largely determined by one's own publishing activities, and publication in high-ranking journals is often based on the results of a study rather than its experimental design. This puts researchers under pressure to no longer report results objectively, but to present them more positively in retrospect than they actually are.

ZPID aims to promote the transition from outcome-oriented to method-oriented publishing by creating additional incentives for authors who propose high-quality research and commit themselves to open science practices.

Registered Reports in journals

One way to decouple the publication of a study from its results is to submit a study proposal as a Registered Report, a publication format offered by a growing number of journals. A Registered Report is a manuscript consisting of an introduction, methods, and data analysis section, which is written and reviewed before data is collected. As such, it is peer-reviewed based on the soundness of the research question and the methodological design. If the peer review process yields a positive outcome, the manuscript will receive an in-principal-acceptance (IPA) from the journal, i. e. the commitment to publish this study provided that it is conducted and analysed as described. Whether the postulated hypotheses are confirmed is irrelevant for publication, which promotes open-ended testing and objective reporting.

ZPID’s contribution

ZPID pursues a similar approach as journals offering a Registered Reports format, yet with a different incentive. If you submit to ZPID’s Registered Reports format, i. e. the Lab Track, your study protocol will also undergo a peer review process. However, rather than the acceptance for publication in a specific journal, the successful outcome will be the free-of-charge data collection for your study. You are free to submit your study to a journal of your choice. It is further possible to combine both approaches by submitting your planned study to PreReg in Psychology after it has already received an in-principal-acceptance (IPA) from a journal. We will then conduct a feasibility check and a (reduced) review but the process will be significantly shortened.

If you're just looking for a repository to preregister your study protocol, which can be either fully formulated or an outline draft, you want to check out the Repository Track.