A Primer on Pre-Registration

[From the article “The preregistration revolution” by Brian Nosek, Charles Ebersole, Alexander DeHaven, and David Mellor, published in PNAS]
“Progress in science relies in part on generating hypotheses with existing observations and testing hypotheses with new observations. This distinction between postdiction and prediction is appreciated conceptually but is not respected in practice. Mistaking generation of postdictions with testing of predictions reduces the credibility of research findings. … An effective solution is to define the research questions and analysis plan before observing the research outcomes—a process called preregistration.”
“…A substantial barrier to preregistration is insufficient or ineffective training of good statistical and methodological practices. Most researchers embrace the norms of science and aim to do the most rigorous work that they can (57). Those values are advanced with education and resources for effective preregistration in one’s research domain.”
“The reference list for this review provides a starting point, and there are some education modules available online to facilitate preregistration planning: for example, online courses  (https://www.coursera.org/specializations/statistics, https://www.coursera.org/learn/statistical-inferences), instructional guides (help.osf.io/m/registrations/l/546603-enter-the-preregistration-challenge), criteria established for preregistration badge credentials (https://osf.io/6q7nm/), and collections of preregistration templates (https://osf.io/zab38/wiki/home/).”
“…Existing domain-specific and domain-general registries make it possible for researchers in any discipline to preregister their research. The World Health Organization maintains a list of registries by nation or region (http://www.who.int/ictrp/network/primary/en/), such as the largest existing registry, https://clinicaltrials.gov/. While focused on clinical trials in biomedicine, many of these registries offer flexibility to register other kinds of research.”
“The AEA RCT Registry, the American Economic Association’s registry for randomized controlled trials (https://www.socialscienceregistry.org), the Registry for International Development Impact Evaluations (RIDIE) Registry (ridie.3ieimpact.org/), and the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) Registry (egap.org/content/registration) are registries for economics and political science research. The Open Science Framework (OSF) (https://osf.io) is a domain-general registry service that provides multiple formats for preregistration (https://osf.io/registries/), including the flexible and relatively comprehensive Preregistration Challenge format (https://osf.io/prereg/).”
“Finally, the website https://aspredicted.org/ provides a simple form for preregistration, but it is not itself a registry because users can keep their completed forms private forever and selectively report preregistrations. However, researchers can post completed forms to a registry to meet the preservation and transparency standards.”
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