BMC Medicine becomes the first medical journal to accept Registered Reports

We’re doing our part to improve the transparency and reproducibility of science by offering pre-registration specifically tailored to clinical and global health research, which can have a direct, positive impact on patients and communities.

As a pioneering open access publisher, BMC is always aiming to push the envelope when it comes to scientific progress and serving the needs of our research communities. In this spirit of innovation, transparency and scientific rigor, we are offering an exciting new article format, Registered Reports in BMC Medicine. One of the top ten broad medical journals*, BMC Medicine publishes research articles and reviews in all areas of research and practice in medicine and global health.

A Registered Report is an article format that includes only the rationale and proposed methodology behind the study (with some pilot data potentially included). The initial report is peer-reviewed and accepted in principle, based on the strength of the suggested methods and hypotheses. Other assessment criteria include the importance of the research question(s) and its potential implications for future research, policy or practice; and the novelty and need for the study vis-à-vis existing literature and the arguments presented by the authors.

A second round of peer review is conducted to assess compliance with the original report and the validity of the conclusions. A report that passes this stage is guaranteed publication as a complete article.

Image credit: Center for Open Science CC 4.0

While Registered Reports have been an option in some psychology and social science journals for a few years, the inclusion of clinical and applied global health research can lead to a tangible effect on patients, communities, and families.

Registered Reports format aims at fostering innovation and addressing concerns about credibility and reproducibility in science. This model warrants publishing research with hypotheses established prior to data collection and avoids questionable research practices, such as HARKing, data dredging or p-hacking, and above all selective reporting of results and publication bias. The format brings scientific research closer to its roots – emphasizing inquiry, data-gathering and actual experimentation. BMC Medicine is notably the first medical journal offering Registered Reports also for clinical trials, among other relevant types of articles.

The increased transparency of this format gives authors more control over improving the reproducibility and reliability of research, and provides a mechanism for early feedback by other experts in the field. High-quality and innovative research is more likely to be published regardless of whether the results are positive or negative. It allows for more constructive input from reviewers, as their feedback can be implemented before any analysis is made. In addition to the many innovative features, there are understandable concerns about Registered Reports, many of which former Chief Editor of BMC Biology, Miranda Robertson, addressed in her editorial earlier this year.

BMC Medicine joins BMC Biology as the next BioMed Central journal to accept this exciting article format, and is also joined by BMC Ecology in this new venture. Join us in moving research forward and increasing its impact, by learning about the submission guidelines for Registered Reports here.

*2016 Journal Citation Reports® (Clarivate Analytics, 2017)

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