We take privacy and the maintenance of participant anonymity seriously at Prolific.
We require that our researchers do not attempt to identify participants. This means that you should not ask them for any personal data which would make them directly identifiable to you. Below is a list of personal data that, as a rule, you may not collect through Prolific. Please note that this list is not exhaustive - as a general rule, you cannot ask participants for any information that could risk de-anonymising them.
First and / or last name
Date of birth
9 digit ZIP code or full UK postcode
However, you can ask for a 5 digit ZIP code or the first half of a UK postcode.
Social media usernames, or links to social media accounts or posts (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok etc.)
Gaming usernames (e.g. PlayStation Network ID, Xbox gamertag, Steam ID etc.)
However, you can ask for participants' Prolific email address which will look like 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.
You should not attempt to re-identify any participant through the data provided by Prolific or any other data available to you (this may even be a criminal offence in certain areas).
Should you need to contact participants, we have a Prolific messaging and email system in place to ensure anonymity is protected. You can read more about our messaging and email system in this article: How can I contact participants?
We recognise that there may be some specific study types (e.g. deception studies) that request personal information from participants that is then not accessible to or used by the research team. However, our participants are aware that collection of personally identifiable information is not permitted, and so we find that they frequently change their behaviour or exit the study to contact the researcher or Prolific in these studies. As a result of this, in most cases we unfortunately cannot support studies that require collection of this personal data. If you have any questions about this or would like to discuss your study design with our team, please feel free to get in touch with our Support Team using the button below.