Peer Review, Publishing, and Scholarly Communication

To strengthen the integrity of social science research, both incentives and best practices need to be aligned across the entire research life cycle, including in the way research is reviewed, published, and disseminated. To this end, BITSS supports the creation of systemic incentives on the part of journals and publishers, as well as the adoption of tools by researchers to facilitate open and transparent peer review, publishing, and scholarly communication. BITSS works on the following initiatives:

Registered Reports (RR) at the Journal of Development Economics

Registered Reports are research articles that are peer-reviewed based on their methods and theory before the results are known. BITSS is supporting the Journal of Development Economics (JDE) in a pilot of this article format in an effort to learn more about its potential to address publication bias.


Preprints are open access versions of scholarly works. They can include working papers, pre-prints (ready to publish), post-prints (published, but not typeset), and other scholarly works like dissertations, reports, statistical software package tutorials, and conference proceedings.

Publishing preprints offers a number of advantages to authors including soliciting earlier feedback, free open access publishing, and the opportunity to share works with a broader audience than allowed by traditional journals.

MetaArXiv is an interdisciplinary archive of articles focused on improving research transparency, reproducibility, and meta-science.

Reporting Standards

Reporting Standards are explicit guidelines about the information that researchers should present when publishing or communicating their studies.

BITSS was a convening partner in the development of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines, along with the Center for Open Science, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and others.

BITSS also encourages and provides training to researchers to use transparency guidelines developed for various disciplines even when publishing in journals that have not adopted them.