Another Economics Journal Pilots Pre-Results Review

[From the article “Pre-results review reaches the (economic) lab: Experimental Economics follows the Journal of Development Economics in piloting pre-results review”, an interview with Irenaeus Wolff, published at www.bitss.org. The following are excerpts from that interview.]
“In its April 2019 issue, the journal Experimental Economics issued a Call for Submissions for a virtual Symposium of 5-7 papers to be published under “pre-results review”. BITSS talked to Irenaeus Wolff of University of Konstanz, who along with Urs Fischbacher is a guest editor for the Symposium.”
“2. Is your main concern publication bias?”
“Yes…”
“6. What do you hope that pre-results review will achieve in your discipline?”
“First, we hope to improve the validity of research. If there is some idea that many people think is true even though it is not, then it is tremendously important that null-results get out.”
“Second, think of the case that some researcher asks an important question that opens the door to a completely new research area. However, the researcher does not find the perfect design immediately to answer the question. … an inconclusive result could help others to design better experiments …”
“Closely related to this, null results can help refine our thinking about true relationships: if we see that in everyday life, A seems to lead to B but we cannot find it in the lab, we simply might have overlooked that A leads to B only under specific circumstances. So, seeing null results could be an important step in figuring out the true relationship between A and B.”
“7. What do you see as the main advantages of pre-results review?”
“I think they are pretty clear, and a lot has been said about them. Two things might be worth mentioning still. First, in contrast to what intuition might tell us, the required effort for the publication of a paper actually may decrease.”
“The second point concerns pre-registration. Many people seem to think that pre-registration will go a long way to solve the replication crisis. I don’t think so, and not just because people do not follow the registered protocol closely. To me, it seems pretty obvious that pre-registration does little to address the publication bias, in particular because it does not increase the incentives to complete an article after a null-result—or accept it, as an editor.”
“In that sense, I am wary that the fast spread of pre-registration might in the end block the more important step towards widespread use of results-blind review, because it might make people believe we have done enough.”
“10. In the end, what do you hope to achieve by the time the special issue is out?”
“We hope that there will be a substantial number of high-quality submissions, and that the quality of the papers that end up in the Symposium is convincing. Then, we might be able to convince the editorial board—and potentially the boards of other similar journals—that there is enough demand for such a submission option, and that this does not mean there would be a drop in paper quality.”
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