News from the Accelerator- May 2021

Study updates:

  • PSA-002 (Object Orientation) PSA-003 (Gendered Prejudice):  The 002/003 team is happy to report that as of 6/1, we are completing data collection for the project. There are a few labs who are still in the process of finishing up, but we anticipate that all data collection for the project will draw to a close within a week. The lead teams will begin data processing and analysis shortly thereafter.
  • PSA-004 (Accelerated CREP): The leadership team is currently working on data processing, data analysis, and authorship credit tracking.
  • PSA-005 (Stereotype Threat): We are waiting on vaccine distribution to get to a place that allows in-person data collection again. This summer the leadership team will evaluate whether in-person data collection is feasible in Fall 2021.
  • PSA-006 (Trolley Problem): The Stage II submission has received a revise-and-resubmit from Nature Human Behavior.
  • PSA-007 (SPAM-L): SPAML is currently in its beginning stages and recruiting collaborators for a variety of pre-project tasks. More information about these tasks can be found here and here. For more information on this project, please contact buchananlab@gmail.com, Kelly.cuccolo@und.edu, or check out the hackathon hosted by Erin and Savannah.
  • PSA-COVID Rapid Bundle (001/002/003)- 
    • 001: is submitted to PNAS. A preprint will be uploaded in the near future.
    • 002: the revised Stage II manuscript will soon be resubmitted to Nature Human Behavior
    • 003: the proposing authors are currently incorporating feedback from the PSA network.

Webinar 

On June 17th 10-11:30 AM Eastern Pacific, we will be hosting a summer symposium titled “Revisiting the role of demand characteristics in social science research”. More information here. All are welcome! 

CREP Collaborations

Please help us decide on the next Accelerated CREP Study!  

Accelerated CREP is a joint effort between the PSA and the Collaborative Replications and Education Project (osf.io/wfc6u).  You can learn about our first study, PSA 004 True Belief, here: https://psyarxiv.com/zeux9/. We are asking interested PSA members to vote on the next collaboration. More information (and a link to voting) is available here.

PSACON 2021


The preparations for this year’s edition of the PSA conference (PSACON 2021) are underway. We have a fresh new team of PSA members who will serve in their capacity as organizing committee who volunteered to dedicate some of their time to the organization of the event. If you are interested in serving on this committee you are welcome to reach out to any of the following members. The team thus far consists of an amazing group of people in our organization. 

We’ve kept the best parts of PSACON2020! Much like last year, interested individuals can sponsor another attendee’s registration while paying for their own. PSACON2021 will be hosting a wide variety of events, including PSA studies, presentations from our collaborators, hackathons, and coffee hour sessions. As the organizing committee delves into the process of putting out a call for presenters, we hope to welcome increasingly creative ways of talking about science during a virtual conference. More details about the schedule, the format of the conference, and sending in presentations will be sent around mid-June!

As part of our planning for this virtual event, we are asking you to help us in making a joint, informed decision regarding some important organizational aspects. You can do this by filling out this poll. Please make your voice heard, and we hope to see you at this year’s conference!

News from the Accelerator: April 2021

Study updates:

  • PSA-002: Object Orientation & PSA-003: Gendered Prejudice-. PSA-002 & -003 are finishing up data collection for English-speaking labs this month. We anticipate finishing data collection for non-English speaking labs by the end of May and will draft the Stage 2 report shortly afterward.
  • PSA-004: Accelerated CREP- 004 has completely finished data collection! The leadership team and other volunteers have begun the process of data processing, pre-processing work, and working on final reviews for finished labs. 
  • PSA-005: Stereotype Threat- We are waiting on vaccine distribution to get to a place that allows in-person data collection again. This summer, we will evaluate whether in-person data collection is likely to be feasible in Fall 2021.
  • PSA-006: Trolley Problem- This project is coming close to an end as we have submitted the manuscript! Now we are waiting to hear more from the reviewers.
  • PSA-007: SPAM-L- The 007 Canvas Website is in use. We have rolled out the three pre-projects and have had several people already contribute so far!! If you would like to contribute to the pre-projects, please email Erin Buchanan (buchananlab@gmail.com).
  • PSA-COVID Rapid Bundle (001/002/003)- PSACR is now focused on getting manuscripts written, revised, and submitted. PSACR-001 is revising their manuscript based on team feedback. PSACR-002 has been accepted with minor revisions at Nature Human Behavior, and all co-authors are reviewing the submission and updating their authorship information over the next 10 days. PSACR-003 is revising their manuscript based on team feedback. Erin Buchannan is also drafting a data paper that describes the method of the bundled project. Once this manuscript is ready, we will share the draft with the entire PSACR team (i.e., all data collection labs, translators, etc.), who are invited to serve as co-authors. 
A note from the amazing Charlie Ebersole (former Interim Director)

Over the last few months, I got to see the PSA from a new perspective, serving as its interim director. I came into this role through a very competitive process among the Associate Directors – that being that I was the only one who wasn’t currently teaching and/or raising very small children. In hindsight, though, I’m incredibly grateful for this somewhat random opportunity. I gained a lot from this experience, but what I will take most from it is hope. I am more hopeful than I have been in some time for psychological research, researchers, and our ability to maybe make the world a bit better. That’s because of you all.

The greatest strength of the PSA is our collective knowledge and effort. I knew that before I served as director. However, I didn’t realize just how strong we were as a network. The PSA is filled with more smart, talented, hard-working people that actually want to improve things than I had ever gotten to see before. It is genuinely inspiring. There is more knowledge and experience in this group than I could ever hope to acquire in a career, and I’m thankful that I got to learn from more of you over the last few months. 

There are a lot of issues that the PSA will continue to grapple with. We’ve struggled to live up to some of our values in terms of global representativeness at all levels of the organization.  Finding funding continues to be difficult. However, I feel very confident that we’ll be able to overcome the challenges we face and continue to build a stronger, more impactful, and more inclusive network. That confidence comes from working with you all. You are an incredible group of scholars and humans. It was my honor to serve as director of such a great collection of people.

Thanks everyone, Charlie

Elections for Director and Associate Director: 

We are pleased to announce that the most recent PSA election has come to its conclusion. With 187 completed ballots cast, the PSA expressed confidence in Nicholas Coles (@coles_nicholas_) to serve as director, and selected Erin Buchanan (@aggieerin) and Lisa DeBruine (@LisaDeBruine) to serve as Associate Directors. All three have accepted the positions and will start Friday, April 23. Congratulations and THANK YOU, Nicholas, Erin, and Lisa.

It is always tough when there are many more wonderful candidates than there are positions to fill. As we collectively wish Nicholas, Erin, and Lisa well in their new roles, let’s also offer our thanks and kudos to all the candidates for their willingness to throw their hats into the ring. I’m sure I’m not alone in appreciating the great ideas and thoughts that went into the statements and conversations on Slack. THANK YOU, Hans Rocha IJzerman (@hansijzerman), Jessica Flake(@JkayFlake), Sandersan (Sandy) Onie (@DrSandersanOnie), Gerit Pfuhl (@Gerit_Pfuhl), and Rima-Maria Rahal (@rimamrahal).

Let’s also please offer our thanks and kudos to our election tellers, Crystal Steltenpohl (@CrystalNSYoung), Ilker Dalgar (@IlkerDalgar), and Max Primbs (@MaxPrimbs). They were on the receiving end of a LOT of emails and did their due diligence to ensure a fair and accurate process. THANK YOU, Crystal, Ilker, and Max.

We’re all very lucky that we get to work and think with bright people the world over!  

Best, 

Heather Urry

A special thank you to Heather Urry

We also would like to thank the amazing Heather Urry (@HeatherUrry) for coordinating these elections. This was the biggest election process that the PSA has seen so far, and she did a FANTASTIC job coordinating everything. To give you an idea of her contribution to this election, we have listed a few tasks that she worked on during this process (This is not a complete list of her contributions). She managed the nominations, contacted each of the nominations to see if they were still interested, collected and distributed the statements, answered questions about the process, created each candidate’s Slack channels, kept the entire network up to date and in the loop, set up the election ballot, and analyzed the election outcome data. So, if you have a moment to send Heather a Slack, direct message, or email, please thank her for her amazing work to make this election happen!

Community Building and Network Expansion

We have implemented monthly social events to allow new members to get integrated into our community. Everyone is welcome to join these meetings to get to know other members in our network. Here is the link for each month’s meeting! We will post the dates for each month on the PSA gcal. 

If you want to keep up to date with the various events that are happening on the PSA Network, subscribe to our calendar via Gmail or Outlook, depending on what you use! This should be the link to the calendar. 

Another initiative the CBNE committee is implementing is Community Energizing threads- informal Slack threads to help members get to know each other better, their works, ideas, approaches, etc. [Similar to the idea of ‘themed discussion days’ on certain subreddits, if you’re familiar with Reddit]. The community building committee thought it was a good time to bring it back!  Absolutely all members are welcome to join in. Feel free to make the thread messy, especially if you want to reply to the responses you find to be interesting, or with topics you find similar interests on. We will be posting these periodically so be on the lookout for these threads.

News from the Accelerator- February 2021

  • Study updates:
    • PSA 002: Object Orientation & PSA 003: Gendered Prejudice- We have now completed trouble shooting for the new online version of the procedure and are ready for any labs who have not yet completed data collection to begin using this new procedure. 
    • PSA 004: Accelerated CREP- 004 is wrapping up data collection at a few sites but are no longer taking any new labs. We’ll be reaching out to contributors in February or March.
    • PSA 005: Stereotype Threat- We’re waiting on vaccine distribution to get to a place that allows in-person data collection again. This summer, we’ll evaluate whether in-person data collection is likely to be feasible in fall 2021.
    • PSA 006: Trolley Problem- This project is coming close to an end as we have submitted the manuscript!
    • PSA 007: SPAM-L- The 007 Canvas Website is ready to go! This means we are going to start rolling out the Pre-projects to members interested in the first week of March. If you would like to contribute to the pre-projects, please email Erin Buchanan (buchananlab@gmail.com).
    • PSA COVID Rapid Bundle (001/002/003)- PSACR 002 and PSACR 003 authors are revising their manuscripts in response to network feedback. PSACR 001 authors are preparing their manuscript for network review.

Partnership with CREP: 

We have decided to partner with CREP again for 2021! We would like you to help us pick our next study to replicate as one big happy network of students and scholars!

Every year CREP selects 1-3 studies to replicate. This year, we’ve narrowed it down to 100 papers from 2018, but we want students to help us with the rest. Students can contribute by going to the link below and following the instructions to rate papers. They can do as many as they’d like between now and March 15!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScW8vt-KUlAIbLXQYMPGoai-4LYc-uWbqqwQ9URmF2A8s0A7g/viewform

SO! How can you get involved if you are not a student? Please incorporate this into one of your classes and ask your students for participation. If you would like to know which of your students participates then have them list your information on the form. After March 15, Jordan Wagge will send a list of the students who participate (and how many studies they rate) to any instructors on the list.

Questions? Please email crep.psych@gmail.com.

Thank you

-The CREP & PSA teams

Elections For Director and Associate Director: 

The PSA is currently in the process of electing a new Director and one Associate Director. These positions will be filled by a direct election from the PSA network. PSA leadership has received all of the nominations (self or others) for these roles and we plan to conduct the election process over the next two months. Each nominated individual has until March 15 to write a 1000 word statements to support their candidacy. Shortly after March 15, we will make the candidate statements available in the PSA Slack.  If you have any questions about the election process or what’s involved in the positions, contact Heather Urry, at heather.urry@tufts.edu.

Appointments:

We have 4 new assistant directors appointed. We are very excited to see what each of them will bring to the table. 

Miguel Silan – Assistant Director of Community Building and Network Expansion

Miguel Silan is a psychological science researcher with a focus on meta-methodology (how do we know what we know and why do we do what we do?). He is studying issues in ontology, philosophy of psychometrics and the nature of fuzzy constructs. With the PSA he is scrutinizing the vulnerabilities of cross-cultural studies, and consequently, rethinking the possibilities in how to approach multi-site studies and other large-scale collaborations.

As assistant director for the CBNEC, he plans for the committee to have a more purposive and systematic community expansion approach – especially in recruiting from developing countries and underrepresented world regions. Further, with CBNEC, he is looking forward to implementing a roster of community engagement events (including our beloved coffee socials), as well as community assessment to aid in sustainably applying initiatives from other committees (ex. financial schemes).

Maximilian Primbs – Assistant Director of Translation and Cultural Diversity

Maximilian is a second year Research Master student in Behavioural Science at Radboud University, the Netherlands. After learning about the PSA through an interview he conducted with Chuan-Peng Hu, Max joined the PSA as language-wise coordinator for German for PSA006. After a very positive experience with 006, he decided to work on the PSACR project series and ended up coordinating the translation process for the project. In his term as Assistant Director of Translation and Cultural Diversity he wants to focus on standardising the PSA translation process by creating standard templates and implementation workflows. Moreover, he wants to increase the cultural diversity of the PSA by recruiting students to work on PSA projects. His work outside the PSA is focussed on stereotypes, visual perception, and on the analysis of reaction time data. In his free time, he enjoys fitness, boxing, and playing Dungeon and Dragons (the first two pre-lockdown :wink:).

Biljana Gjoneska – Assistant Director of Ethics

“I discovered the world of PSA, when I first learned about a multinational study investigating morality across the world (PSA 006). The deontological and utilitarian principles explored in different moral dilemmas across many countries, were evocative of medical ethics principles acquired over the course of my undergraduate studies: “primum nil nocere” (i.e., “first, do not harm”) and “primum optime curare” (i.e., “first, secure optimal treatment”). So, I was instantly drawn to the world of PSA.

I discovered the core PSA principles, when I attended the first conference (PSACON). This is where I realized that the topics discussed and the idea I was presenting (about a public auction of proposals) were all grounded on the same principles: scientific rigor and openness to criticism, transparency and decentralized authority, diversity and inclusion. The most humane and most basic ethics was at the root of them all.

I discovered the PSA community, when I was closely collaborating on a chapter about PSA (as promising resource for clinical psychologists). I realized that some moral foundations that I studied over the course of my doctorate studies, like fairness and reciprocity, care and sharing, were the shared characteristics of all my colleagues and PSA members. 

The PSA Ethics Committee comes as a next logical step. I can’t hardly wait to embark on this journey, and I promise to hold all of the mentioned principles and to cherish all people and opinions.” 

Jessica Flake – Assistant Director of Methods

JK Flake has been an active member of the PSA from the beginning. She worked with Chris Chartier and Patrick Forscher to develop a data and methods committee for the PSA and was the methodologist for PSA001. Her work with the data and methods committee has focused on ensuring methodological rigor of PSA studies and making the PSA an avenue for contributing methodological innovations to the field of psychology. Currently she is leading the PSA’s first ever large-scale measurement invariance study and working with the data and methods committee to further our metascience research and support of accepted studies with methodologists.

News from the Accelerator- January 2021

The first month of 2021 is over and we have had quite a month! We kicked off 2021 with our first published study and we enter into some new and exciting transitions ahead of us. We look forward to seeing what else this year will bring. 

Study updates:

  • PSA 001- This project is now officially online at Nature Human Behaviour! This puts a bow on the PSA’s first empirical project. Congratulations to the whole study team for this enormous accomplishment. You can read some reflections from the leadership team of the project on the Nature blog
  • PSA 002/003- The leadership team for the 002/003 bundle of studies has been hard at work, creating an online version of the 002 study protocol that will not rely on in-person data collection. This new protocol was recently approved by the editors of the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. We are now testing the 002 online link. 
  • PSA 004- 004 is wrapping up data collection at a few sites but are no longer taking any new labs. We’ll be reaching out to contributors in February or March.
  • PSA 005- We’re waiting on vaccine distribution to get to a place that allows in-person data collection again. This summer, we’ll evaluate whether in-person data collection is likely to be feasible in fall 2021.
  • PSA 006- Final analyses are being completed and the manuscript is being written.
  • PSA 007- We are putting together the website for people to get started on this project. As soon as that is finished we will send out the onboarding email. If you would like to be a part of the pre-projects, please email Erin Buchanan!
  • PSACR Bundle- The submitting author teams are hard at work analyzing data and writing their manuscript drafts! Meanwhile, we (the admin team) are developing a data management plan (figuring out exactly how and when we will share the data). We also, on an ongoing basis, are working to make sure that everyone’s contributions are accurately documented.

Chris Farewell:

This past month we received news that Chris Chartier has resigned from his role as PSA Director. Chris guided the PSA from an idea to a vibrant organization with more than 1400 members. Although he will no longer be the PSA’s director, he may yet transition into a different PSA role. In the meantime, Charlie Ebersole will serve as acting Director of the PSA and we will begin the process of holding an election for a new Director. 

Below you will find Chris’s farewell message to the PSA. 

“I can’t wait to watch, and support, the PSA through this transition and into the next chapter of it’s growth. I’m a bit sad to step away from this role, because it has been such a personal joy to serve in this way, but I’m also very excited to see all the amazing things the PSA will accomplish with a new Director who can give the organization the energy, attention, and care it deserves. 

I’ve enjoyed working with each and every one of you immensely. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making these last 3 and a half years of my life so special and meaningful. It’s a period of my life that I will always cherish and look back on fondly. I won’t be disappearing from the PSA of course, but I’m not yet sure what my next role/type of contribution will be.

As for the practical matters of this transition, Charlie Ebersole will serve as Interim Director until the Associate Directors group can complete an election process for the new Director (thank you, Charlie!!).

Onward!”

Appointments and Elections:

The PSA will be replacing several of its leadership positions in the coming months.  Below is a quick rundown of each.

Assistant Directors

The Assistant Director positions are replaced by appointment of the Associate Directors. We have openings for positions in the following six committees:

  • Funding
  • Ethics
  • Community Building and Network Expansion
  • Data and Methods
  • Training
  • Translation and Cultural Diversity

After January 30th, the Acting Director and the Associate Directors will select the new Assistant Directors from among the nominees.. If you have any questions about this application or this process, contact the Acting Director, Charlie Ebersole, at cebersole@virginia.edu. .

Director and Associate Director

This Spring, the PSA will be electing a new Director and one Associate Director. These positions will be filled by a direct election from the PSA network. Any PSA member may run for these positions. 

Later this month, the PSA leadership will solicit nominations (self or others) for these roles and we plan to conduct the election process over the next two months. If you have any questions about the election process or what’s involved in the positions, contact the Acting Director, Charlie Ebersole, at cebersole@virginia.edu.

Reflections on funding the PSA

Funding lead Patrick Forscher and Associate Director Hans IJzerman published a blog reflecting on how to fund the PSA. This blog follows up on two previous blogs, one that reflects on the PSA’s resources for running studies, and a second that reflects on the financial cost of the PSA’s vision for itself.

The new blog lays out the makings of a funding strategy for the PSA. It lays out four possible sources of future funding: grant writing, charitable giving, fees-for-service, and membership fees, and weighs the strengths and weaknesses of each possibility. The blog also contains two surveys to solicit member feedback about the ideas within the blog.

This is an important post, as it concerns the future of the PSA. If you are interested in shaping the PSA’s strategy for financial sustainability, please give it a read.

How should we fund the PSA?

Patrick S. Forscher and Hans IJzerman

Note: This post accompanies three surveys, which are embedded as links in the post’s body. For convenience, you can find direct links to them here.

In our previous post, we argued that the PSA has a grand vision and a budget that cannot easily support it. If the PSA is to fulfill its aspirations, the PSA must increase its funding so that it can support an administrative staff.

In this post, we will assume that the PSA wants to fulfill its grand vision. We will therefore explore ways that the PSA could create the funding streams that are necessary to achieve that vision. We will review four options: 

  1. Grant funding
  2. Charitable giving
  3. Fees-for-service
  4. Membership dues

Most of our energy to date has focused on grant funding and charitable giving. A sustainable funding model will require a mix of all the options so that we can balance their strengths and weaknesses. We can think of the PSA’s funding as a sort of investment portfolio where we devote a percentage of effort to each potential income stream based on the PSA’s financial strategy and risk tolerance.

In the remainder of this post, we will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of all four funding streams. For each funding stream, we will also review the activities that we have already attempted and what else we can do in that category. 

The post is thorough and therefore long. Here are some big-picture takeaways:

  • We have already tried, quite vigorously, to secure grant funding and charitable giving, with modest success
  • Large-dollar grant funding is high-risk, high-reward and likely cannot be counted on to secure the PSA’s financial future; small-dollar grant funding cannot easily support staff
  • Charitable giving mostly yields small amounts of money, though donated research assistants could help provide labor for the PSA
  • Fees-for-service offer some potentially interesting funding streams, including conference organization (continuing the success of PSACON2020) and translation
  • Membership dues arguably fit the structure of the PSA best out of all funding streams, though we should think carefully about how to implement these without compromising our value of diversity and inclusion

We will argue that the PSA should pursue fees-for-service and membership dues, small-dollar grants, and charitable giving. Large-dollar grants should only be pursued in periods when the PSA can tolerate risky funding strategies. Finally, the PSA will need a bookkeeper and Chief Financial Officer to formalize its finances.

Grant-Writing

Grant-writing involves writing a specific proposal to a formal agency. The agency judges the proposal on its merits and its fit with the agency’s mission and, if the proposal is sufficiently meritorious, issues an award. This is the conventional way that scientists try to fund their work. 

We argue that grant writing is high effort, high risk, potentially high yield, but with high volatility. Grant-writing thus makes for bad planning long-term. 

Strengths

  • Grants can be very big. The big granting institutions have a lot of money. For example, one of the grants we wrote in the past three years was for €10 million. This dictum is not always true — many grants are for amounts closer to €1,000 — but when grants pay off big they pay off big.
  • Many scientists have grant-writing expertise. Because grants are the traditional means through which science is funded, grant-writing expertise is easy to find among the scientific community. This makes grant proposals easier to get off the ground than many other funding activities.

Weaknesses

  • Grants usually fund projects, not infrastructures. Funding an infrastructure like the PSA requires an ongoing investment, whereas projects complete within a few years. For this reason, granting agencies view projects as lower-risk funding priorities. Most grant mechanisms are therefore project-focused rather than infrastructure-focused.
  • Grant-writing is high risk. At the US National Institutes for Health, the US’s largest funder, the overall success rate for its most common grant is 23%. This means that, if the PSA relies exclusively on grant funding, we ought to expect 3 out of every 4 grant proposals to not yield any money. It is hard to build a staffing plan for an organization under such risky conditions.
  • Grant-writing is inefficient. Grant-writing requires so much time and energy with such a low probability of paying off that the expected return may not justify the expected time investment. One computational model suggests that these inefficiencies are inherent to any funding scheme structured as a competition between proposals because scientists waste as much or more effort on the proposals as they would gain from the science that the proposals fund.
  • The money is not flexible. The PSA wants to use its money for many things: grants to under-resourced labs, paying staff, funding competitions to make scientific discoveries, and many other things. Grants have strict accounting rules that rule out many or most of these activities.

What have we done already?

  • One proposal to the European Research Council’s Synergy mechanism. This proposal was project-based and very large (€10 million). Some of the money would have gone directly to the PSA, but making the PSA funding work within the constraints of ERC accounting rules was challenging. Writing this grant took years of preparation, including one month of very intense effort by five PSA members. The proposal was rejected.
  • Two proposals to the US National Science Foundation. Both were somewhat large (~$200K) and may have been able to support PSA staff. Both were rejected.
  • Two proposals to the John T Templeton Foundation. Both proposals are project-based and somewhat large (~$200K). One proposal was rejected and one is in limbo due to Covid-19.
  • Two proposals to the European Research Council’s Marie Curie mechanism. Both proposals were project-based and would have supported postdocs (~€120K). Although the postdocs would not have worked directly for the PSA, some of the proposed work would have indirectly benefited the PSA. Both proposals were rejected.
  • One proposal to Université Grenoble Alpes. This proposal was designed to fund grant-writing for both the PSA and UGA. This proposal was funded and has supported a postdoc at a cost of ~€120K. Although the postdoc officially works for UGA, around half their time is donated to the PSA.
  • One proposal to the Association for Psychological Science. This proposal was for $10,000 USD. All the money had to go toward participant recruitment for the PSACR project. This proposal was funded.
  • One proposal to Amazon. This proposal was small ($1,352 USD) and strictly dedicated to paying for server hosting for PSACR. This proposal was funded.
  • One proposal to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. This proposal was small ($1,000 USD) and could only be used to support participant recruitment for PSA005. This proposal was funded.
  • One proposal to the Society for Improvement of Psychological Science. This proposal was small ($900 USD) and devoted to offsetting the costs of applying for nonprofit status. This proposal was funded. 

The above grants translate to around $12,862,252 in funds sought and $163,252 received. This demonstrates the risk and volatility in grant funding.

In addition to the above activities, PSA leadership has submitted a large number of letters of inquiry and less formal communications seeking funding opportunities. These did not reach the stage of formal proposals.

What else can we do?

The PSA has explored most of the available options related to grant funding. Thus far, it has had the most success writing small, focused grants. These can support specific activities, such as participant recruitment, but cannot easily support staff.

Summary

Grant-writing for large grants is a high-risk, high-reward activity. Grant-writing for small grants usually requires investment of resources, but also cannot easily fund PSA staff. Grant-writing is also the activity into which the PSA has spent most of its funding energy. The PSA may want to focus its grant-writing activities into smaller, project-focused grants.

Charitable giving

Charitable giving involves contacting individuals to solicit money and other resources. Charitable giving is similar to grant-writing in that some entity gives money to the PSA of their own free will. The method differs from grant-writing in that the giver lacks a structured organization that announces funding guidelines and priorities. 

We argue that charitable giving is moderate effort, low risk, low to medium yield, and medium volatility. Charitable giving allows for somewhat better planning long-term than does grant-writing.  

Strengths

  • Allows direct outreach to supportive members of the community. The PSA has generated a lot of support and goodwill. Direct outreach allows members of the community to express this goodwill in the form of direct financial support. 
  • Unconstrained by deadlines. Many other financial streams, such as grants, come on tight deadlines. Solicitations of charitable giving can happen at any time.
  • The money is (usually) flexible. Grant funding comes with strict accounting rules. Charitable giving sometimes comes with strings attached, but less often.

Weaknesses

  • Donation amounts are often small. The cost for staff salary runs in the tens of thousands of dollars. Most gifts run in the tens of dollars.
  • The overhead for these gifts is often large. This limitation is linked to the first. In contrast to grants, where a payment from a granting agency only needs to be processed once, in a donation drive, payments need to be processed as many times as you have donors. Sometimes these payment processes need to go through a third party, such as PayPal. This can create substantial overhead in both labor and finances.

What have we done already?

  • Set up a Patreon. At the time of writing, this Patreon collects €200 per month. We have used this money to help fund special projects, such as the PSA001 Secondary Analysis Challenge, data collection for PSA001, PSA006, and PSACR, and other miscellaneous expenses.
  • Funding drives. We have conducted at least four funding drives in the past three years. These are usually structured around funding a specific project or activity, such as PSACR, and are often announced via the PSA blog. However, we also conducted a funding drive during the first PSA conference, PSACON2020. It is difficult to estimate precisely how much money these drives have generated, but the sum is likely less than $1000.
  • Direct outreach. We have also done direct outreach to specific people who we have thought might be willing and able to donate to the PSA. Usually we have relied on personal networks for these direct solicitations. This process is smoother now that the PSA is an official nonprofit and can therefore accept direct tax-deductible donations.
  • Speaking fee donations. A few members of PSA leadership have donated fees they’ve received to speak about multi-site research. A typical speaking fee is around $200. This source of income generates money, but is hard to scale to the point where it would support full-time staff.
  • Received donations of research assistant time. Once special form of charitable giving is staffing time that is donated from an organization to the PSA. This system allowed the CO-RE Lab, for example, to donate the time of one of its interns to the PSA. This donation enabled, among other things, the creation of the first Study Capacity Report. This system works best when the research assistant or intern can be directly embedded within a PSA supervisory structure.

What else can we do?

The PSA’s new status as a pending nonprofit gives it more options that fit under charitable giving. The option to accept donated time from research assistants is especially attractive — especially if the donation can be formalized in an official agreement between the PSA and the donating organization. 

The PSA can also do more direct outreach to members, both through the PSA mailing list and at the time of registration with the member website (an option that bears some similarities to “membership fees”, discussed below).

Summary

Charitable giving is highly flexible and has generated some money for the PSA, though often the specific monetary amounts are small. One attractive option for the PSA now that it is a nonprofit is to accept more donations of time from member lab research assistants. This option works best when the agreement is formalized through an official agreement and when the research assistant can be embedded within a PSA supervisory structure.

Fees-for-service

A fee-for-service venture involves directly selling something, rather as a for-profit company would. Some of the proceeds from sales go toward maintaining the fee-for-service venture; the rest go toward supporting other activities within the organization.

One particularly interesting service the PSA can provide is translation. The PSA has extensive experience translating psychological tasks and measures into multiple languages. Moreover, the PSA has experience implementing the translations in software. Finally, if the PSA can help researchers recruit participants from more countries and cultures, that furthers its mission of ensuring that psychological science is more representative of humanity writ large. We will have more to say on this subject below.

Fees-for-service ventures are difficult to classify in terms of their effort, risk, yield, and volatility; much depends on the specific venture under consideration. Nevertheless, we believe they are underexplored and could usefully complement the PSA’s other efforts.

Strengths

  • Can leverage already-existing strengths of the organization. If an organization must already be skilled at a specific task, developing a business around that skill allows the organization to leverage its existing strengths to generate a sustainable income. For example, the PSA must accomplish many things to conduct a multi-site study, including develop a large, global community of scientists and researchers around a common mission, coordinate agreements across many institutions, develop materials that are appropriate across many cultures, translate those materials into many languages, create and maintain large databases about its members, and disseminate knowledge about multi-site studies. Many of these skills can be leveraged into an income-generating enterprise. 
  • Builds a sustainable income stream. Once established, a fee-for-service income stream can sustain itself over long periods of time, buffering against the risks associated with other income streams (for example, a grant running out after three years).
  • The money is flexible. Because the money that comes from a fee-for-service venture is earned rather than donated by a third party, there is no donor who can attach strings to how the money is used. Thus, this money is very flexible and can be used to support staff salaries and any other activities the PSA desires.

Weaknesses

  • Startup risks. Startups require up-front investments and there is no guarantee that a market will materialize. Thus, any investment made into a fee-for-service venture may, in the worst case, be lost.
  • Mission capture. On the other hand, if a fee-for-service venture is very successful, that venture may capture the mission of the non-profit as a whole. Thus, fee-for-service ventures work best when they are well in line with the primary aims of the non-profit.
  • Conflicts of interest. Some fees-for-service ventures may create conflicts of interest for PSA members who work on them, as these ventures may create incentives that conflict with the PSA’s core mission.

What have we done already?

  • A PSA conference. This year, the PSA hosted its first conference, PSACON2020. The PSA charged a $60 registration fee with a generous waiver policy — the conference was planned on the assumption that ⅔ of the participants would receive waivers. The conference had 62 paying attendees (plus many more who received waivers) and brought in $3,720. This money went towards supporting the salary of the PSA’s junior administrator (and the main organizer of the conference), Savannah Lewis.

What else can we do?

Fees-for-service are a largely untapped opportunity for the PSA. Conducting multi-site studies is difficult and the PSA has developed a broad array of institutional knowledge to complete these studies. Much of this institutional knowledge can be leveraged into marketable services.

The success of PSACON2020 suggests that we could continue this conference in the future. If attendance remains stable or grows, this could become a small but consistent funding stream for the PSA.

A second interesting option is starting a dedicated PSA journal. This option entails some risk, as projects published there cannot be published in journals that are currently very prestigious (such as Nature Human Behaviour); authors on projects therefore take on some personal risk in the decision to instead publish at the PSA journal. It is also unclear whether university libraries would be willing to pay subscription fees for a PSA journal. On the other hand, the success of society journals suggests that once this revenue source is established, it could be a large and reliable one.

One last interesting option is translation. Translation of psychological measures and tasks is difficult, yet the PSA has lots of experience pulling off this task. PSA member Adeyemi Adetula has proposed a PSA-affiliated translation service with a first focus on Africa. This blog contains two surveys, one for people interested in being paid translators and one for people who want measures and tasks translated. If you are interested in this idea as a means of funding the PSA, head over to the blog, read the proposal, and complete one or both of the surveys.

Summary

Fees-for-service involves leveraging the PSA’s strengths to sell a service, generating a new income stream. The PSA has started some limited versions of fee-for-service funding, but this is still a largely untapped opportunity. 

In addition to continuing the success of PSACON, the PSA could explore starting a service to provide translations of psychological tasks and measures. Both these activities are in line with the PSA’s core mission — the conference because it builds community and supports members, translation because it provides the translated measures and tasks necessary to recruit participants whose native language is not English.

Membership dues

Membership dues are a special case of fee-for-service funding, but the model fits the structure of the PSA so well that it is worth discussing in its own section. The membership dues model involves charging some amount of money to gain access to some or all of the benefits of PSA membership. This is the model followed by scientific societies, which often gate grant funding and conference participation in exchange for annual dues of, say, $247 (APA) or $237 (APS).

Membership dues also have some overlap with some forms of charitable giving. This is because one way to ask for a donation is at the time of registration through the PSA member website. The major difference between this sort of solicitation and a membership fee is whether the default membership is free or paid. Membership dues do have one major, somewhat hidden, advantage over a solicitation at the time of member registration: due to grant accounting rules, many PSA members who have their own grants cannot spend this money on donations. On the other hand, grant money can typically be spent on a membership fee. Instituting membership dues may therefore unlock grant money that is currently inaccessible to the PSA.

Some implementations of membership dues may conflict with a core value of the PSA, namely diversity and inclusion. If dues are required of all members, they risk pushing out prospective PSA members with less resources. There may be implementations of membership dues (such as a dues structure that allows for fee waivers) that can help mitigate this risk. 

We believe that membership dues are low effort, moderate risk, medium yield, and low volatility. They therefore allow for better long-term planning than many other funding streams. However, we also believe that the specific kinds of risks that membership dues incur require feedback from PSA members before we rush into any decisions. We have created a survey to help seek this feedback; we lay out more context for why we see such promise in dues below.

Strengths

  • Many people have pots of money that cannot be given as gifts. Under the Grant-writing section, we noted that grant funds are inflexible. One consequence of this lack of flexibility is that PSA boosters who have grant funds are often not allowed to use them in charitable gifts because the expense cannot be justified to the granting agency. Membership dues provide a way for these people to justify giving money to the PSA to granting agencies, thus unlocking a resource for the PSA that would otherwise go untapped.
  • Leverages the PSA’s best resource, its community. The great strength of the PSA is that it has created a large international community (1400 members and counting) that believes in its mission. Membership dues allow the PSA to leverage this strength to better secure its long-term sustainability.
  • Dues are linked to PSA member benefits. The PSA provides many benefits to members, including a connection with a large international community of colleagues and collaborators, exposure to cutting edge methods, and access to high-impact that can be added to one’s CV. Membership dues would emphasize that the PSA is only able to provide these things by maintaining a large infrastructure.
  • Precedent in scientific societies. The dues funding model is the same one used by scientific societies, so dues-granted membership should be a concept that is familiar to PSA members.
  • Wide variety of potential implementations. Dues can be charged on a yearly basis or could be tied to joining a study (the cost of joining would be an administrative fee). The PSA could also consider a variety of waiver policies.
  • The money is flexible. The money is earned, so it could go toward supporting everything from staff salaries to ad hoc projects.
  • Builds a stable income stream. Once a membership dues program is in place, the income stream from the program should be relatively stable year-to-year.

Weaknesses

  • Risk of lowering membership. Gating membership by adding a joining fee could lower PSA membership, draining the PSA of its most valuable resource. Some policies could help manage this risk — for example, the membership dues could be suggested rather than required.
  • Risk of driving away members with fewer resources. The PSA has a particular interest in increasing its membership in countries that provide less support for the sciences, such as those in the African continent. Imposing membership dues could put joining the PSA out of reach for these prospective members. Once again, policy could help manage this risk — for example, the PSA could provide generous waivers, just as it did for PSACON.

What have we done already?

Nothing.

What else can we do?

Membership dues come with some real risks, so we want to carefully investigate this option before we take any hasty action. We also want to ensure that whatever action we take has the broad support of the PSA membership. 

We have prepared a survey to investigate what PSA members think about different models of membership dues. By taking this survey you can help us evaluate the feasibility of using this as an income stream to promote the sustainability of the PSA.

Summary

Membership dues is arguably the funding model that best fits the structure of the PSA. However, some implementations of dues may conflict with the PSA value of diversity and inclusion. Membership dues have great potential as a funding stream, but we should think carefully about whether and how to implement them.

Conclusion

We strongly believe that the PSA has the potential to do enormous good for psychological science, and perhaps the social sciences at large. However, fulfilling this potential will require dedicated funding, and to obtain this funding the PSA may have to look beyond its current focus on grant-writing and charitable giving. Of course, the PSA need not abandon these income streams; it can simply balance these activities with efforts in developing funding streams through, say, fees-for-service ventures and membership dues.

If the PSA does develop a more balanced financial strategy, it will need staff to manage this strategy. This probably means appointing a Chief Financial Officer and a bookkeeper. The Center for Open Science, for example, has staff to manage its financial strategy and its books.

The PSA is at a crossroads. We think it has a real opportunity to grow into a more formal and mature organization that carries the big team science torch for psychology at large.