Pre-results Review at the Journal of Development Economics

As part of a pilot project, the Journal of Development Economics (JDE) now offers authors the opportunity to submit empirical research designs for review and approval before the results of the study are known. The pre-results review track is designed to reward well-designed and well-executed studies regardless of whether their empirical results yield clear interpretations.

This is among the first attempts to introduce pre-results peer review in an economics journal. However, more than 200 academic journals in biology, medicine, political science, psychology, and other disciplines are already implementing pre-results review, with the subsequent published articles usually called Registered Reports.

What is Pre-Results Review?

Pre-results review splits the peer review process into two stages. In 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 will 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. Read JDE’s Registered Reports Author Guidelines to learn more.

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Papers with unclear or statistically non-significant results often go unpublished, even if they are based on rigorous research designs and high quality data.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

Read JDE’s Registered Reports Author Guidelines for specific instructions on how to prepare your submission. Submit your work as ‘Registered Report’ on the JDE’s online submissions platfrom.


For questions about submitting and preparing your work, please contact Aleks Bogdanoski ( For questions about peer review and editorial questions at the JDE, please contact Lead Editor Prof. Andrew Foster ( or Editor Prof. Dean Karlan (