A pre-registration is a timestamped document describing your research plans before conducting your research that can be made public immediately or after an embargo. Thereby you fix your initial research questions/
Another form of pre-registrations is a registered report. A registered report is similar to a pre-registration with the exception that your manuscript (including introduction, methods and analysis strategy) is accepted for publication prior to data collection or analysis. Many journals offer registered reports as a way of ensuring your research gets published irrespective of the findings.
Like pre-registration, registering hypotheses and methods for clinical trials is the norm and often takes place in psychology. In recent years we are seeing an uptake in other disciplines as well (e.g., political science, economics, sociology).
When conducting research, not everything always goes as planned. Maybe your results do not support your original hypotheses or in between some changes in study design where needed to proceed. Pre-registration protects you from not addressing those changes in your publications and allows you to transparently document your research including deviations from your initial pre-registered plan.
Specifically, by pre-registering your research you can: