The format is offered for hypothesis-driven quantitative research with primary research data. We consider submissions in the field of psychology, social sciences and epidemiology.
We also welcome submissions in those fields proposing secondary analyses of existing data sets, provided that the authors have had no prior access to the data in question. Note that we do not consider systematic reviews and meta-analyses for the Registered Report format. High quality protocols are provisionally accepted for publication before data collection (or data analysis, for submissions involving secondary analyses of existing datasets) commences.
This format is designed to minimize publication bias and research bias in hypothesis-driven research, while also allowing the flexibility to conduct exploratory (unregistered) analyses and report serendipitous findings.
Registered Reports are peer reviewed in two stages - before and after data collection.
Following Stage 1 peer review, manuscripts will either be rejected outright, offered the opportunity to revise, or in-principle accepted (IPA).
An IPA decision indicates that the article will be published pending completion of the approved methods and analytic procedures, passing of all pre-specified quality checks, and a defensible interpretation of the results. Stage 1 protocols are not published in the journal following IPA. Instead they are registered by the authors in a recognised repository (either publicly or under embargo until Stage 2) and integrated into a single completed article following approval of the final Stage 2 manuscript. We have created a dedicated space on figshare to host Stage 1 protocols in-principle accepted at Nature Communications and offer to upload the protocol on the authors' behalf.
Length and formatting guidelines for Stage 2 manuscripts are the same as for Articles. The Stage 2 manuscript must also contain a link to the registered protocol (deposited following IPA) in a standalone section entitled ‘Protocol Registration’.
Registered Reports are peer reviewed, include received/accepted dates and may be accompanied by supplementary information. Upon acceptance, authors are required to pay an article processing charge. Authors must provide competing interests and author contributions statements before publication.