PLOS, a non-profit open-access science, technology and medicine publisher, has announced that PLOS ONE will soon offer a new preregistration article type, Registered Reports. Registered Reports enable researchers to document and receive expert peer review feedback on their study design and proposed methods, before beginning their investigation. PLOS ONE will peer review and publish the authors' initial study proposal as well as the complete research article resulting in two stages of independent publications.
The first stage is the Registered Report Protocol. This new publication type describes the proposed rationale, methodology, and any ethical approvals needed for the work. This initial phase of research will be peer reviewed to ensure the study's scientific rigor and that the planned research will meet PLOS ONE's publication criteria. If accepted, authors proceed to their investigation with the promise that their subsequent work describing the full study and all of its findings, will be accepted and published by PLOS ONE as a linked Research Article, provided that the authors adhere to the initial study design and conduct experiments to PLOS ONE's standards of rigor.
Since both stages will be individually peer-reviewed, each decision letter, with referee comments, will be eligible for published peer review history. The two published outputs will also be cross linked on the PLOS ONE site, providing readers a full picture of the study's progression - from its inception to the results.
PLOS ONE aims to publish all valid research. Registered Reports will help PLOS ONE deliver on that mission with increased clarity for prospective authors, and greater peer review transparency, earlier in the research process.
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