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The 2016 Election Research Preacceptance Competition

An opportunity for scholars studying elections:

  1. Preregister a research design for a study of the 2016 general election using ANES data before the data are publicly released.

  2. Submit an article including this design to a participating journal, which will consider your submission before data are available.

  3. Win a cash award for publishing your article.



In brief: From the rise of Donald Trump to the unexpected success of Bernie Sanders, the twists and turns of the 2016 election have attracted worldwide attention. After November 8, the demand for explanations of what happened in the United States elections will be tremendous. 


Scholars need to be ready. We have an opportunity to help citizens understand how various events, opinions, and behaviors influenced the votes that Americans cast. In addition to strengthening society’s understanding of politics, this election represents a new opportunity to strengthen the evidence base of political science and election-oriented public opinion research. Recent studies in a number of scientific fields have shown that publication processes tend to favor “statistically significant” claims. In the study of elections, these dynamics can create a misleading portrait of why Americans voted the way they did.


To address this problem, we announce a new competition for scholars who want to conduct research on the 2016 election.


With generous support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, we are offering an award of $2,000 and placement on a panel at a major political science conference to scholars who publish an article in which the hypotheses and design were registered before the data were publicly available.

To reward scholars for preregistering their designs, we have assembled a group of top political science journals that have agreed to review and provisionally accept manuscripts including preregistered analyses of the 2016 ANES general election study before the data is available.   

The participating journals are: 


Moreover, editors of these journals will have the option to refer entries to other participating journals, allowing authors to effectively submit their manuscript to numerous journals at once.


To enter this competition, scholars must design papers using data from the 2016 American National Election Studies (ANES), one of the most highly-regarded academic election studies in the world.  The ANES has agreed to release its questionnaire months before releasing its data to the scholarly community. Scholars can take advantage of this gap between questionnaire release and data release to write ANES-related research papers using preregistered research designs.


Entering the competition requires just five steps:

  1. Preregister your design in the Center for Open Science’s Election Preacceptance Registry beforeANES data are publicly released (expected release date: April 15, 2017).

  2. Submit an article to a participating journal that includes the phrase “ERPC2016” in the title. It can be submitted as soon as you are ready (i.e., before the data are available). The only requirement is that the article must include a link to a research design that was preregistered before the ANES data were publicly released. 

  3. [If granted an R&R] Revise your article as requested by the journal.

  4. [If accepted in principle] Submit a new version of your study with results from the preregistered design and any additional analyses requested or permitted by the journal.

  5. [If published] Collect your award and present your findings at a spotlight panel!


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