Plant Direct has published its first Registered Report

Plant Direct has published its first Registered Report

What is a registered report?

Registered Reports are a type of article where a study proposal is peer-reviewed before the research is undertaken. Registered Reports bring many positive outcomes. By providing external validation of the study methods, they ensure that the research plans are appropriate, helping to avoid inconclusive studies. Further, they avoid the common bias in publishing to publish only “positive” results—the findings of the research proposed in a Registered Report will normally be published even when they don’t support the author’s model or hypothesis.

As the Royal Society blog observes,

The broader goal of Registered Reports is to reshape the incentive structures in science so that individual researchers are rewarded for simply doing the best and most transparent science they can, over and above their ability to craft good stories.

Registered Reports in Plant Direct

Last year (Nov 2019), Plant Direct announced that it will accept submissions of Registered Reports. The pipeline is as shown below—read the announcement for more information. Briefly, authors submit the Stage 1 Registered Report that lays out the study question and design. The report is sent out for review, and if appropriate it is published. The final manuscript is In Principle Accepted—that is, if the authors follow the proposed plan and draw appropriate conclusions, the final manuscript is published.

The first Registered Report (State 1: Study Design) has now been published in Plant Direct. The topic is Increasing zinc concentration in maize grown under contrasting soil types in Malawi through agronomic biofortification: Trial protocol for a field experiment to detect small effect sizes You can read it here.

The corresponding author, Martin Broadley, said of the process, “It turned out to be a good experience for me, Lester, and his advisors this year, both for tightening up experimental design and communicating it.”

Editor-in-Chief Ivan Baxter said, “Registered Reports are another tool we can use to advance our goal: make it easier to publish any quality plant research.”

We look forward to seeing the results of this study!

Interested in submitting a Registered Report? Read more here.