How to write a study protocol

Study protocols report planned or ongoing research; we’ll consider publishing your protocol only if the data collection is still in progress (i.e. not complete).


Why publish study protocols?
  • Keep researchers and funding bodies up-to-date in their fields
  • Give exposure to research activity that otherwise may not get publicised
  • Enable more collaboration in the research community
  • Prevent unnecessary duplication of work
  • Increase transparency by making more information available than required by trial registries
  • Give others the opportunity to see and understand deviations that occur during the study


If your protocol is for a randomized trial

We encourage authors to adhere to the SPIRIT recommendations.

The SPIRIT (Standard Protocol Items for Randomized Trials) statement is an evidence-based tool developed through systematic review of a wide range of resources and consensus. It closely mirrors the CONSORT statement and reflects important ethical considerations.


If your protocol is for a systematic review or meta-analysis

We strongly encourage authors and assessors to use the PRISMA-P reporting guideline.

The PRISMA-P (preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols) checklist contains 17 items considered to be the essential and minimum components of systematic review or meta-analysis protocol.