Focus and Scope

Social Science Protocols is a fully peer reviewed open-access online journal platform. It is the only platform with a focus on publishing study protocols in the social sciences disciplines.

Study protocols should provide a detailed outlined of the research hypothesis, rational and methodology of the study. Study protocols that have received funding and ethical approval will be published without peer review. All published study protocols will receive a DOI number and appear in academic databases.

Social Science Protocols does not publish results of accepted study protocols, but it provides electronic links to associated publications and documents, such as journal articles and datasets.

Benefits of Publishing Research Protocols

Ensures transparency and documentation of research processes, such as a study's plan, research question, methodology and analytic approach to data.

Benefits the researcher from obtaining critical and constructive feedback on their proposed study through a vigorous peer reviewing process.

Provides a platform to compare the initial research intent and the actual research outcome.

Enables the research community to identify studies that are currently being conducted in their research field.

Reduces duplication bias and encourages collaboration between researchers.

Benefits researchers who are conducting systematic reviews to source relevant studies that could reduce distortion of evidence from publication bias.

Improves standards of social science research to develop a strong evidence base and better societal impact.

Reviewing Process of your Research Protocol

The review process for Social Science Protocols differentiates between two types of proposals.

Study protocols that have received funding from a major funding body and ethical approval are in principle accepted for publication pending an internal reviewing process by the Managing Editor, Deputy Editor and a member of the Editorial Board. Proof of ethics and funding will be required and authors are asked to provide these documents on submission.

Study protocols without funding or ethical approval will be assessed through a double-blind peer reviewing process. Evaluations of study proposals will include a quality appraisal based on a of basic criteria:

1) The clarity of the research questions and why the authors consider the goal of the research to be important (including adequate reference to literature and underpinning theories).


2) The appropriateness as well as clear description of the research methodology and data analysis for addressing the research goal (including power calculations and sample size).


3) The appropriateness of the proposed recruitment strategy and rationale of the sampling to provide access to the type of knowledge sought by the study.


4) The justification and clear description of the data collection and strategy to address the research issue.


6) The consideration of ethical issues, including provision of sufficient details to participants, discussion of issues raised by the study, and approval of the proposed study from an ethics committee.


7) The consideration of confounding factors and researcher bias, and use of quality appraisal tools (such as NICE guidelines or CASP tool) to ensure the validity of the analysed data to reliably answer the research questions.


The reviewers withhold the right to broaden the scope of the evaluative quality criteria depending on the research traditions relevant to the social science discipline of the reviewed manuscript. After the peer-reviewing process, manuscripts will be 'accepted', or commended for 'revision and resubmission' or 'rejectected'. 

Journal Information & Policies

Please see our Journal Information & Policies page for details of the Journal's Open Access policy and other journal information.