Prolific Practices and Security Systems

Prolific empowers great research. 🚀 We enable fast, reliable, and high quality data collection by connecting diverse people around the world. Our mission is to make trustworthy data more accessible in order to help improve human knowledge and decision-making.

Recruiting, Rewarding and Publicising to Participants

Participant recruitment

Word of mouth and social media are our primary means of participant recruitment.
When Prolific was founded in 2014, our participants were recruited via three channels:

  1. Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other online forums).
  2. Flyer distribution on university campuses.
  3. The Prolific referral scheme (ceased March 2019). This allowed participants to invite their social network to join Prolific, in return for small cash incentives for the referrer.

Study Rewards

On Prolific, we endorse the principle of 'ethical rewards'. That is, we stipulate that researchers compensate participants with at least £5.00 (British Pounds) / $6.50 (US Dollars) per hour.
You can read more about the Prolific pricing structure here.

Publicising of studies to participants

Participants can take part in studies by visiting www.prolific.co/studies
A random selection of participants also receive email notifications about studies they are eligible for.

Prescreening

Prolific has a prescreening system in place. This allows for efficient allocation of study spaces, and efficient time use of all involved parties.

  • Participants have the option to answer prescreening questions based on demographics and other factors (e.g., age, sex, nationality, first language).
  • Prior to launching a study on Prolific, researchers can choose to filter participants based on demographic prescreening criteria.
  • This system prevents researchers from screening participants out of a study after they have commenced participation.

Security Systems/Privacy

Prolific's security systems protect participant data and confidentiality in the following ways:

  • Prolific uses encrypted HTTPS connections, secured by Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • Participants are fully anonymized. They are assigned a unique participant ID (24 character alphanumeric).
  • Prolific provides an anonymized internal messaging service, which allows participants to message researchers (and vice versa) with any concerns.
  • Researchers cannot access participants’ identifiable information. Clear guidance is provided on what information researchers cannot request. It can be found in our article: Can I ask Participants for their Personal Information/Identifiers?
  • User data is stored in a secure cloud container environment.
  • Passwords are hashed using industry approved technologies. They are stored securely and can not be viewed by Prolific.
  • We do not store any data provided within studies. These are carried out on external survey software/platforms.
  • Participants are free to opt out at any time, and we are fully GDPR compliant. 
  • Please see Prolific’s Privacy Policy and Data Protection and Privacy article for more information.

More information and Prolific Support contact details can be found in our Help Centres.

Researcher Help Centre: https://helpcentre.prolific.co/hc/en-gb

Participant Help Centre: https://support.prolific.co/

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