Pre-results Review at the Journal of Development Economics

As part of its pre-results review track, the Journal of Development Economics (JDE) now offers authors the opportunity to submit papers for review and approval before the results of the study are known. This track is designed to reward well-designed and well-executed studies regardless of whether their empirical results yield clear interpretations. As such, pre-results review may be particularly attractive to development economists working on research projects for which the data is yet to be collected (or researchers who have not yet had access to the data they will analyze).

BITSS collaborated with the JDE to launch the pre-results review track as part of a pilot project in March, 2018 – November, 2019. Thanks to the high interest among authors and the positive experience of the editorial board, pre-results review is now a permanent track at the JDE. Learn more about lessons learned from the pilot in this blog post.

Visit to find the most recent version of the Author Guidelines and other resources.

What is Pre-Results Review?

Pre-results review (also know as “Registered Reports” in other disciplines) splits the peer review process into two stages. At Stage 1, authors submit an introduction, methods, and analysis plan for a prospective empirical study for which data have yet to be collected (or accessed) and analyzed. This submission is evaluated based on the importance of the research question(s), the soundness of the theoretical reasoning, and the credibility and feasibility of the research design.

The publishing process for pre-results review submissions at the JDE

Positively evaluated submissions are accepted based on pre-results review. This constitutes a commitment by the journal to publish the full paper, regardless of the nature of the empirical results. Authors then collect and analyze their data, and submit the full paper (including results and analysis) for final review and publication (Stage 2). The final Stage 2 review provides quality assurance and ensures alignment with the research design peer reviewed in Stage 1.

Articles in this format should still align with the existing topical and methodological focus of the JDE. Researchers are free to propose any type of study design for prospective projects where they have not yet collected or accessed data.

Why Pre-Results Review?

Papers with unclear or statistically non-significant results often go unpublished, even if they are based on rigorous research designs and high quality data. The pre-results review track looks to address this bias by introducing peer review before the results are known and emphasizing the importance of the research question and the quality of the methodology.

Submit Your Work

Consult this resources below for guidance on how to prepare your work:

Submissions for pre-results review should follow the same publishing policies and formatting rules as regular submissions outlined in the JDE Author Information Pack, including JDE’s Mandatory Replication Policy. In addition, submissions for pre-results review must follow the rules outlined in the Author Guidelines for Pre-Results Review. Submit your work as a “Stage 1 Registered Report: Proposal” on the JDE’s online submissions platfrom.

Find answers to common questions from authors, including the features of the pre-results review format, eligibility of study design and data, preparing submissions, deviations from the pre-specified research design, and the editorial triage and the review process.

BITSS prepared a template to assist authors in the preparation of their Stage 1 Proposal submissions. Please note that this template is optional, and not all of the fields included in it may be applicable to all research projects. You are free to modify or delete its sections based on the research design of your submission, or use a different format altogether.

Find the titles, abstracts and Stage 1 Proposals for work that has been accepted based on pre-results review at the JDE.

Find answers to common questions from reviewers at Stage 1 or 2 of the process.


Contact Lead Editor Prof. Andrew Foster ( or Editor Prof. Dean Karlan ( with questions about JDE pre-results review.