Registration and Preregistration FAQ’s

What is a registration? And how is it different from project?

A registration is a frozen version of your project that can never be edited or deleted, but you can issue a withdrawal of it later, leaving behind basic metadata. The project can continue to be edited and updated, providing you the option to register your project at different points throughout the research cycle.

When you create the registration, you have the option of either making it public immediately or making it private for up to four years through an embargo. A registration is useful for certifying what you did in a project in advance of data analysis, or for confirming the exact state of the project at important points of the life cycle, such as manuscript submission or the onset of data collection. (Learn more)

What's the difference between Preregistration and Registration?

While the definitions for each can vary across open science experts, the difference is normally when the (pre)registration is submitted in the research life-cycle. Preregistration is normally submitted prior to any data collection or analysis, while registrations can be submitted at any time. 

Can I upload a document to my registration update?

Documents cannot be uploaded or updated to any (pre)registration after it is submitted or to any update. However, you can link documents from a public project, newly submitted public registration, or any file on an outside repository via a DOI. (Learn more)

Can I modify a document in my registration?

Documents that are uploaded to or submitted with a registration cannot be modified once the registration is submitted. (Learn more)

Can I reinstate a withdrawn registration?

Withdrawn registrations cannot be reinstated or resubmitted. You will need to submit a new registration. (Learn more)

Can I transfer/move a registration from one project to another?

Registrations cannot be moved or copied to another project, because they need to retain their file structure and integrity.

Who approves/ rejects registrations?

Admin contributors on the registration can approve and/or reject registrations (Learn more). If you are submitting to a Community Operated Registry, then they will need to approve or reject your submission. (Learn more)

Why can I not approve a registration or preregistration via email? 

Depending on your permission level on the registration draft you will receive a different email. If you are a “read” or “Read and write” permission level you will receive an “approval not requested” email shown below. If you are an admin you will receive an “approval requested” email below access.

Approval Not Requested: 

Approval requested: 

I received the approval email when submitting a registration, but received a “unable to resolve error”, what do I do? 

If you receive this error upon submitting a registration, let our support team know and we will investigate. The good news is OSF registrations are a non-moderated service. This means you are in charge of accepting your submission. For a registration to be approved, the admin on the registration will accept the submission by email. If not, the registration will be auto-approved 48 hours after the submission, even if you encounter this error. 

What if I need to withdraw my registration?

To withdraw your registration follow this help guide: https://help.osf.io/article/152-withdraw-a-registration

Why is there an “associated OSF project” on my registration?

Readers, funders, and fellow contributors can easily access the collaborative OSF project that is associated with the registration.This allows them to see the study progress even after the registration has been completed and the study has begun. 

What if I added the wrong contributor to my registration?

You will need to submit a new registration with the correct contributors, then withdraw the original registration. (Learn more)

Can I change the title of my registration?

While we currently allow users to create an updated version of their registration highlighting changes, we are currently unable to provide the same service for all metadata within a registration. If you need to change the title, contributors, ect to a submitted registration you will need to withdraw the registration and resubmit.

How can I change the order of contributors on a registration?

While we currently allow users to create an updated version of their registration highlighting changes, we are currently unable to provide the same service for all metadata within a registration. If you need to change the title, contributors, etc. to a submitted registration you will need to withdraw the registration and resubmit

I need to add a contributor to a submitted registration, How can I do that? 

While we currently allow users to create an updated version of their registration highlighting changes, we are currently unable to provide the same service for all metadata within a registration. If you need to change the title, contributors, etc. to a submitted registration you will need to withdraw the registration and resubmit

Is it possible to perform a retrospective registration of my study?

Journals typically require registrations to be completed prior to data analysis. You can complete registration as long as you are not at that point in the research life-cycle.

What if my registration shows pending after 48 hours has passed?

Contact our support team using the support center beacon found on the bottom right side of any OSF support page: 

How to send a submitted registration back to being a draft? 

After a registration has been submitted, an administrator on the registration can reject the submitted registration on the confirmation email sent to administrators upon submission. Once rejected, the registration will return to a draft.  

Is the copyright holder field typically the PI, the institution, or the funders? 

The copyright holder is responsible for owning the copyright on the work. This can vary depending on your research situation and project. 

Will my submission be reviewed by a moderation team prior to approval? 

Registrations that are not submitted to a community-operated registry are reviewed and approved by the administrators on the registration. This approval process will be sent to each administrator on the registration in an email sent upon submission. 

How many days are required for the registration process?

Registration can be submitted and approved by the administrators on the registration via email instantly. If a registration is submitted, and the administrators on the registration do nothing, the registration will be automatically approved after 48 hours. 

The email says that in 48 hours the registration will be automatically published, does that mean that if I don't do anything, it will get published anyways?

Yes, If a registration is submitted, and the administrators on the registration do nothing, the registration will be automatically approved after 48 hours. 

What documents are required?

Registrations are a formal, transparent “story” of your study. This story describes what your research planned to do, any updates that needed to be made, and the results. It is best to provide as detailed a plan as possible for the archiving process, so preparing any documentation you need to tell your “story” is ideal. Registrations can always be updated post-submission, but currently, any files attached to registration can not be updated. 

What do I do in the event that one of the required fields is not relevant to our study?

Registration fields are intended to help you share a complete picture of your study. Think through all aspects of your study to see if anything is or may be related to that field. If not, provide an explanation as to why that field doesn’t pertain to your study.

Can I make a private registration? How can I make an embargoed registration public?

Yes, registrations can be made temporarily Private (Embargoed) for up to 4 years from the date of submission. Learn more about ending an embargo.

Once public, can I make my registration embargoed (private)? 

No, once a registration has been made public it will remain public and can not be embargoed again. You can withdraw the registration by leaving the metadata on the registration using this help guide: (Learn more)

Will my manuscript be flagged for plagiarism because I have the same protocol registered on the OSF website?

While the existence of the preregistration could flag automated plagiarism detection software, it is important to keep the methods and language identical through your process of planning and writing up results, so as to not introduce any confusion. Quoting longer sections of text or simply citing your preregistration in either footnotes or in the citation section will clarify where the content comes from. If questioned by the editor, a simple note explaining that the content is included in a registered and citable location will assuage any concerns.

What is the size limit for a registration?

Registrations archive and preserve both OSF Storage and add-ons connected to projects. Registrations must be 5GB or less across all storage being registered. If you need to create a registration larger than 5GB, contact our support team using the support center beacon found on the bottom right side of any OSF support page: 

What if I don't want to register anything in OSF?

Registering is an optional feature of OSF.

Why can't I see my registration?

You may be in the project rather than the registration. To go to your registration, open the project that you registered, and click the Registrations tab in the navigation bar. You'll be taken to the "Registrations" page, where all registrations associated with the project will be listed. Select the registration you want to view from the list.

Alternatively, you can access all your registrations by clicking the My Projects tab in the navigation bar, then clicking All my registrations from the sidebar, and selecting the registration from the list.

Why can’t I see my regisration draft? 

All registration drafts for your account can be found on your registration draft dashboard. If you can not see the draft here, please contact OSF support team using the support center beacon. 

How can I tell if my registration is registered?

After submitting your registration, you would have received an email titled "Registration pending for one of your projects" in which there will be a link to approve your registration. If you didn't receive this email, try checking your spam or quarantine folders to see if the email was sent there.

All admins on the registration can approve the registration by clicking the link. If an admin disapproves the registration, the registration will be canceled. If the admins do not take action via the email, the registration will become registered automatically after 48 hours.

48 hours have passed, but my registration is still pending. Why isn't it registered?

The 48-hour cycle runs from midnight on the day you submitted the registration to midnight on the second day. Try checking back at midnight.

If you need to register before midnight, you would have received an email titled "Registration pending for one of your projects" in which there will be a link to approve your registration. If you can't find this email, try checking your spam or quarantine folders to see if the email was sent there.

If I make my project public, will that make my registrations public, too?

The privacy settings of projects and registrations are independent from each other. Making your project public will not affect the embargo on the registrations. The only way to make a registration public is to actively end the embargo (Learn more).

My registration is public but I need it to be private. How do I make it private?

Once a registration has become public, it cannot be made private. However, if you need to, you can create a new, embargoed registration, and then withdraw the original one. For transparency and best practices, please provide a link to the new registration in the justification for withdrawal and provide a brief explanation of the reason for withdrawal.

Additional FAQ’s 

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