Registered Reports are a publication format in which the research question and the quality of methodology are peer reviewed before the data are collected and analysed. High quality protocols addressing well framed questions are then provisionally accepted for publication before data collection begins. The Registered Reports format in BMC Medicine is open to manuscripts reporting on both quantitative and qualitative studies of any experimental design that are well poised to have significant implications for future research, policy, and/or clinical and global health practice. Registered Reports are also open to clinical trials and systematic reviews. This format allows methodological issues to be addressed before time and resources are invested in experiments, and helps minimize publication bias and research bias in hypothesis-driven research.
The submission and review process for Registered Reports is divided into two distinct stages.
• Stage 1 submission: Authors submit manuscripts including only a Background, Methods (including proposed analyses), and Pilot Data (where applicable).
• Stage 1 review: Reviewers evaluate study proposals before data are collected, assessing the importance of the research question, feasibility of the methodology, and analysis pipeline.
• In principle acceptance (IPA): Manuscripts that pass peer review will be issued an IPA, indicating that the article will be published pending successful completion of the study.
• Stage 2 submission: Following study completion, authors submit their finalized manuscript for re-review, now including Results and Discussion sections.
• Stage 2 review: Reviewers appraise whether the authors’ adhered to the preregistered experimental procedures and that any conclusions and implications for future research, policy, and practice, are justified given the data.
As the Registered Reports format is a new initiative in BMC Medicine, we would be grateful for your feedback. Please use this form to submit your comments.
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Information for Reviewers
The review process for Registered Reports is divided into two stages. At stage 1, reviewers are asked to assess study proposals before data are collected. At stage 2, reviewers consider the full study, including results and interpretation.
Stage 1: Initial manuscript submission and review
Stage 1 manuscripts will include only a Background, Methods (including proposed analyses), and Pilot Data (where applicable). In considering papers at stage 1, we ask reviewers to consider assess:
- The importance of the research question(s)and its potential implication for future research, policy or practice in the field of study.
- The novelty and need for the study vis-à-vis existing literature and the arguments presented by the authors in the Background section.
- The logic, rationale, and plausibility of the proposed hypotheses.
- The soundness and feasibility of the methodology and analysis pipeline (including statistical power analysis where appropriate).
- Whether the clarity and degree of methodological detail is sufficient to exactly replicate the proposed experimental procedures and analysis pipeline.
- Whether the authors have pre-specified sufficient outcome-neutral tests for ensuring that the results obtained are able to test the stated hypotheses, including positive controls and quality check, or thematic analyses and data saturation methods in the case of qualitative studies
Following stage 1 peer review, manuscripts will be accepted, offered the opportunity to revise, or rejected outright. Manuscripts that pass peer review will be issued an in principle acceptance (IPA), indicating that the article will be published pending successful completion of the study according to the pre-registered methods and analytic procedures, as well as a defensible and evidence-based interpretation of the results. Authors will typically be asked to complete their study within 12 months of receiving an IPA, and 18 months for clinical trials and other studies that involve human subjects enrolment. However, studies that require longer time will also be considered – please consult the editorial team to agree on a timeline.
Stage 2: Full manuscript submission and review
Following completion of the study, authors will complete the manuscript, including Results and discussion sections. These stage 2 manuscripts will more closely resemble a regular article format. The manuscript will then be returned to the reviewers, who will be asked to appraise:
- Whether the data are able to test the authors’ proposed hypotheses by satisfying the approved outcome-neutral conditions (such as quality checks, positive controls).
- Whether the Background Introduction, rationale and stated hypotheses are the same as the approved stage 1 submission (required).
- Whether the authors adhered precisely to the registered experimental procedures.
- Whether any unregistered post hoc analyses added by the authors are justified, methodologically sound, and informative.
- Whether the authors’ conclusions are justified given the data.
Reviewers at stage 2 may suggest that authors report additional post hoc tests on their data; however authors are not obliged to do so unless such tests are necessary to satisfy one or more of the stage 2 review criteria. Please note that editorial assessments will not be based on the perceived importance or conclusiveness of the results, and neither should reviewers re-assess the novelty of the research question at stage 2.
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In response to the current outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo, BMC Medicine editors will treat relevant submissions with priority.
BMC Medicine is accepting Registered Reports. Find out more about this innovative format in our Submission Guidelines.