Preregistration: A Plan for Communities, Not a Prison for Researchers

October 20th, 2021,
Transform and support the research lifecycle with transparency

Preregistration is the process of specifying key study and analysis details and decisions before conducting the experiment. The main goal of preregistering one’s research is to make it easier for readers (and yourself) to distinguish between what you set out to do (confirmation) and what was discovered along the way (exploration).

Community Operated Registries enable societies, funders, disciplines, and research projects to guide their stakeholders through this planning process, utilizing unique templates and workflows to collect information and metadata that is most relevant to studies in their field. This allows researchers to focus on articulating their study design and methods before beginning the project or data collection, while not being tasked with descriptions or questions that are unrelated to the value of their study. With OSF Registries’ advanced moderation features, community moderators can then surface only the most rigorous, interesting study proposals on their branded discovery page.

This is one of the ways that Community Operated Registries are leveraging the technology behind OSF Registries to support exemplary research community workflows, and this is only scratching the surface of the pre-analysis or proposal applications that organizations and societies are exploring. In every case, these workflows are developed to enable researchers to plan their research effectively and responsibly, not to make them any less agile.

This week we look back on this seminal 2017 blog post from COS alum, Alex DeHaven, as he guides us through the most common concerns and questions that researchers new to preregistration tend to have. DeHaven makes the case for transparency, even when the research plans find themselves in flux.

In the weeks ahead we will highlight several Community Operated Registries that utilize the most exciting and transparent practices that open science infrastructure can facilitate, how they use these tools to support their stakeholders, and why preregistration is the plan for their research communities!

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