In the past decade, the social and behavioral sciences underwent a methodological revolution, offering practical prescriptions for improving the replicability and reproducibility of research results. One key to reforming science is a simple and scalable practice: pre-registration. Pre-registration constitutes pre-specifying an analysis plan prior to data collection. A growing chorus of articles discusses the prescriptive, field-wide benefits of pre-registration. To increase adoption, however, scientists need to know who currently pre-registers and understand perceived barriers to doing so. Thus, we weigh costs and benefits of pre-registration. Our survey of researchers reveals generational differences in who pre-registers and uncertainty regarding how pre-registration benefits individual researchers. We leverage these data to directly address researchers’ uncertainty by clarifying why pre-registration improves the research process itself. Finally, we discuss how to pre-register and compare available resources. The present work examines the who, why, and how of pre-registration in order to weigh the costs and benefits of pre-registration to researchers and motivate continued adoption.
Keywords: pre-registration; open science; methodology; replication
Logg, J. M., & Dorison, C. A. (2021). Pre-registration: Weighing costs and benefits for researchers. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 167, 18-27.