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How (and Why) to Preregister Your Research

Posted By Bradley Cannon, Psi Chi Writer/Journal Managing Editor, Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research recently released its first-ever special issue to promote the Open Science Badges program, which was created by members of the Open Science Collaboration to reward authors for conducting transparent research practices. You’ve probably heard about the recent replication crisis and other major public concerns about the validity of psychological science—these badges are an effective strategy to solidify your research practices, replicability, and transparency!

Should you consider applying for Badges? Absolutely! The four available badges when submitting to Psi Chi Journal are Open Materials, Open Data, Preregistration, and Replications. The last of these, the Replications badge, was special created by Psi Chi Journal in order to encourage replications submissions, which are crucial for increasing the reliability of psychological science.

When authors complete the necessary requirements, the appropriate badge or badges earned will be featured prominently on their Psi Chi Journal article for all to see (view an example). Specifically, today’s blog post provides more information about applying for the Preregistration badge.

What Is Preregistration?

In general, preregistration involves submitting a basic time-stamped design of your study. All preregistrations should be completed before conducting the study, and they cannot be modified after the preregistration is initially submitted. Preregistering research is important because it prevents accidental or deliberate “p-hacking,” which occurs when post-hoc adjustments are made to data or an analysis in order to find increased significance.

The new special issue features two articles that received a Preregistration badge: Self-Esteem, Self-Disclosure, Self-Expression, and Connection of Facebook: A Collaborative Replication Meta-Analysis and Participant Attentiveness to Consent Forms. For future issues, we are eager to publish additional articles that meet the requirements for this badge.

How to Preregister

Preregistering is easier than you might think! Just log in or create a free account at the OSF website. Then, after creating a new project, select “Registrations” and “New Registration” (see screenshot below).


You’ll notice that multiple Preregistration options are available. Currently, it is recommended that you select the “Prereg Challenge” option (see screenshot below). This option allows your manuscript to also be eligible for the $1,000,000 Preregistration Challenge, which consists of a thousand $1,000 awards to encourage authors to preregister their research.


Last of all, simply fill out the appropriate fields to ensure that your sampling, design, and analysis plans are solidified prior to conducting your study (see screenshot below).


What About Unexpected Changes?

In the event that your research design or analyses has to be changed after preregistering your study, you CAN still publish your article and receive a Preregistration badge. For example, it is possible that a reviewer might recommend a more appropriate procedure. The key, however, is to include a note describing exactly why the change in procedure occurred.

Applying for a Badge

Psi Chi Journal uses the disclosure application method. View the specific instructions to apply HERE. And of course, you are invited to review the new special issue, Open Science Practices: Badge of Honor, for additional examples of articles to receive the badges. We do hope that you will consider applying for a preregistration badge, as well as the others. Please direct any questions or suggestions to psichijournal@psichi.org.

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