In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA) issued a call on March 13th for rapid and impactful proposals to understand the psychological and behavioral aspects of the pandemic. The response to our call has been both enthusiastic and heartwarming — we received over 60 submissions within the four-day window.
The Psychological Science Accelerator is the largest research network of researchers in the social sciences. We now have over 500 labs from over 77 countries. This network includes the top scientists in psychology, with expertise on study design, data analysis, ethics, study management, and translation. Researchers from all over the entire world submit their study proposals to this network. We strongly believe our combined resources can make an impact in this humanitarian crisis.
We are working quickly to select the very best proposals from the 60+ submissions that we received. Based on our current pool, the topics of our COVID-19 studies could range from behavioral interventions to improve adherence to preventive health measures, to interventions to fight fake news about COVID-19, to methods to reduce the anxiety that accompanies social distancing. We are confident that our COVID-19 initiative will make an impact. However, the initiative would be all the more impactful if we had more financial resources at our disposal. These financial resources would allow us to:
Pay for participant compensation at sites without large research budgets
Use recruitment methods in some sites that do not rely on convenience sampling
Pay for social media advertising to assist with recruitment efforts
Provide stipends to translators so that our projects can be conducted in non-English languages
Provide a stipend for a project manager who could ensure the full project happens on a rapid timetable
In short, financial resources would allow us to have an even greater chance to generate informative research papers and datasets. Because we plan to share these datasets and papers freely and openly, these research products should allow us to substantially improve our knowledge of the behavioral science of COVID-19, thereby contributing to policy discussions about how to mitigate COVID-19’s pernicious public health effects. If you would like to help us in this endeavor, you can contribute to our financial resources via our PayPal.
The community response to COVID-19 has been extremely gratifying. Let’s use our collective skills and resources to understand and respond to this evolving crisis.
The Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA) is the largest consortium of research psychologists in the world. Behavioral scientists can play an important role in combating the growing COVID-19 pandemic if we quickly take action to collect high-quality data from large, global samples. The PSA wants to team up with researchers working on important questions related to this pandemic.
Scope of study proposals
We are soliciting proposals for studies that can be conducted online. Studies should be relatively easy to conduct. We are only interested in applied, not basic, research. Research proposals from multi-disciplinary teams (e.g., health researchers, psychologists, and data scientists) will be prioritized. Proposals should not exceed 1 page. This one page should include the basic research question, (very briefly) the relevant literature, identify whether the research is exploratory or confirmatory, and how the research will contribute to reducing the effects of the current crisis. If confirmatory, the researchers should clearly identify the hypothesis/hypotheses and the needed sample size for answering their research question. If exploratory, the researchers should identify how data will be used to generate hypotheses. In addition, if exploratory, the researchers will have to identify how they will use methods including – but not limited to – cross-validation for greater certainty about the generated ideas.
If feasible and volunteers are available, the network may be able to assist with translation into the major world languages. However, if you need your study conducted in multiple languages, we encourage you to have a translation plan in place.
Gorilla has also offered free use of their online experiment builder if it could be helpful for these project.
Created by Nicholas A. Coles
What we’re not offering
Because this call for proposals is truly exceptional and is not going through the normal PSA study pipeline, we cannot guarantee the same levels of support standard PSA studies receive. In particular, we cannot guarantee a minimum number of collaborators or data collection labs, nor can we guarantee official support through our committee structure. Nevertheless, we will share the selected studies with our network, and we strongly suspect that PSA members may volunteer their time and expertise to help with aspects of your study (e.g., data management, analysis support).
The selection process
Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis, but should be submitted before Tuesday March 17, 2020, 5pm EST. Proposals will be initially screened by the Director and Associate Directors for feasibility and fit with the scope of this call. Studies that meet that threshold will be put to a rapid up-or-down vote (within 24 hours) from the entire network. All proposals that receive more upvotes than downvotes will be released to the network to pair collaborators with selected studies. At that point, any interested and capable PSA member that would like to join a project will be encouraged to do so.
One of the potential outlets to publish for this call is Nature Human Behaviour, which has committed to efficient turnaround regarding papers concerning this crisis.
Royal Society Open Science has also announced a rapid evaluation track for Registered Reports related to COVID-19.
Researchers relying on our infrastructure will be required to post their work on a preprint server (like PsyArxiv) for quick dissemination.
How to submit
Send your proposals to Hans IJzerman (email@example.com), Charlie Ebersole (firstname.lastname@example.org), and our general PSA email address (email@example.com). Please reach out to us if you have any questions about this call for proposals. These are frightening and uncertain times, but psychological scientists are well-positioned to conduct high-quality research into this growing pandemic, and our work can help indicate how the global community can best respond to it. We look forward to reading your ideas!
The PSA will soon have an election for the position of Associate Director. Associate Directors serve as a steering body for the PSA as well as functioning as liaisons between the various committees and lead teams on specific studies. We are seeking nominees for that election. If you’d like to nominate yourself or someone else, please fill out the form linked below before March 19th. We’ll reach out to all nominees to confirm whether or not they’d like to run for this office.
The PSA is also seeking members to volunteer as Election Tellers for the upcoming election. The role of a Teller is to provide accountability and ensure fairness in the election process. Tellers will be included on all official election communications and be given access to all election materials, including the final ballots. Tellers will be responsible for ensuring that the Associate Director overseeing the election (in this case, Charlie Ebersole) is following all PSA procedures fairly. They will also certify that the final vote count is accurate. This job should require minimal week-to-week effort distributed over the next three months.
Any member of the PSA is eligible to run for Associate Director or be an Election Teller. The only restriction is that candidates in the election are ineligible to be Tellers (so if you are thinking of running for Associate Director, don’t volunteer to be a Teller). If you’d like to nominate someone for the Associate Director election or volunteer to be a Teller, please fill out this form by March 19th. This policy document contains much more info about the timeline and logistical steps of PSA elections. Also, if you have any questions about either position, don’t hesitate to reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Studies 001 through 006
We also have a few exciting updates on our in-progress studies.
001. The lead team is on the verge of submitting a revised version of our Stage 2 manuscript to Nature Human Behaviour and hope to have it officially accepted soon!
002. We are very close to finishing data collection and will quickly turn our attention to data analysis and Stage 2 manuscript drafting when collection wraps up.
003. This project is bundled with 002 for data collection, and is thus also close to wrapping up. We did not follow a registered report model for this study, so we will begin drafting a traditional manuscript for it in the near future. Target journal tbd.
004. Data collection will close for this study in June, so now is the time to jump on board if you’d like to contribute! Email us for more info about joining!
005. The lead team is working hard to finish up a second round of “revise and resubmit” with Nature Human Behaviour. Stay tuned for data collection commencement timeline and plans after we get that IPA 🙂
006. The stage 1 RR manuscript for this study was accepted in principle at Nature Human Behaviour this month! Congrats to all our co-authors!! The team is now working hard on translations and finalizing materials to commence data collection very soon.
Lastly, be on the lookout for action and opportunities in the following areas in March.
Study Selection provisional decisions will be sent this coming month. We can’t wait to inform submitting authors and then share the news within the network (wider public announcements will come after some initial preparation and eventual official acceptances are extended).
Related to the point above, the Project Monitoring Committee will be looking for new project monitors to serve on these new projects (likely 2-3 new studies). You can reach out to Hannah Moshontz and/or Jordan Wagge on Slack for more info!
The Community Building and Network Expansion Community is planning some cool new recruitment and community building activities for 2020. They could really use some additional committee members to help plan and execute these. Please reach out to Crystal Steltenpohl and/or Natalia Dutra if you are interested.
Crystal is also leading the organization of a global engagement task force for the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science. She welcomes other PSA members to join in that effort if they are so inclined!
Happy New Year from the PSA! The end of 2019 was full of progress on many exciting fronts, and we have big plans for the first quarter of 2020. Here we summarize the most important and potentially actionable items for PSA members or other observers.
2019 By the Numbers
Our network now includes 760 researchers, representing 548 labs, in 72 countries. Our website received 37,242 visits in 2019 for 66,334 total since October 2017, and our preprints have now been downloaded 4,954, collectively. Check out this great new map from Nicholas Coles:
The PSA has been covered in a few media outlets in the past several months. Check out this excellent article, first appearing in UnDark and later being picked up by NPR news.
Additionally, this short radio blurb has quotes from Chris Chartier, Jessica Flake, and Eric Hehman, and McGill University recently featured Jessica Flake’s new grant award and planned measurement invariance project through the PSA.
2019 Project Summaries and Status Updates
Our main focus in 2019 was making progress on all 6 of our selected studies. Each project made big strides.
001 Face Perception: In 2019, we completed the first PSA project (PSA001), which involved 214 authors and 11,481 participants from 11 world regions, and 41 countries. Currently, the Stage 2 Registered Report is under review at Nature Human Behaviour. For this project, we also launched the Secondary Analysis Challenge, which grants 10 awards of $200 to research teams that create and execute a pre-registered re-analysis of the project data. Currently, this secondary challenge has 8 submissions and all have been checked for computational reproducibility.
002 Object Orientation and 003 Gendered Prejudice: 2019 was a busy year for the 002 & 003 team. We translated our materials into 16 different languages and implemented our procedure across 19 countries. We have completed data collection at 23 different sites, with more sites continuing their data collection into the spring. We hope to have the Stage 2 Registered Report manuscript under review at Psychonomic Bulletin & Review in 2020.
004 True Belief: The Accelerated CREP collaboration is really picking up steam – 39 teams are collecting data (and more are welcome to join in here — there is information at the top of the form with helpful links). We plan to wrap up data collection around June and work on the final manuscript shortly thereafter, to be reviewed as a Stage 2 Registered Report at Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. There are still plenty of opportunities to get involved. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
005 Stereotype Threat: In 2019, we drafted the initial submission of our Stage 1 Registered Report for Nature Human Behaviour and received a strong revise and resubmit. We also submitted a revised version of the manuscript and are still waiting to hear back about the revision’s status. Finally, we recruited 27 collaborating labs to join the project, all of whom have secured IRB approval. If you wish to join too, you can read more about the project, and sign up as a collaborator, here.
006 Moral Thinking: In 2019, this project’s team also drafted their initial submission of a Stage 1 Registered Report and submitted it Nature Human Behaviour, received a positive revise and resubmit, submitted a revision, received another small R&R :), and are completing the new round of revisions now. We have 147 labs signed up to collect 18,637 potential participants. Most labs are ready to test the link and collect data! If you are interested in joining, you can sign up by filling out this form. Every lab is welcome, but we are specifically searching for collaborators who could collect data from at least 100 participants in India, South-Korea, Japan, or Thailand. The experiment will be run online, so collaborators can simply have to send out a link, and participants are not required to come to the lab.
The Analysis Plan Approval Policy is now ratified by vote of the network. This policy was initiated by the Data and Methods Committee, and its drafting and editing was led by Peder Isager. Thank you for the great work on this!
Funding Search Update
Synergy grant submitted. Patrick Forscher and Hans IJzerman led the drafting of a Synergy Grant, a large, €10 million grant administered by the European Research Council. The grant seeks to greatly expand team science in the social sciences by establishing three Synergy Centers: the Evidence Synthesis Center led by Denny Borsboom, the Tools and Standards Center led by Lisa DeBruine, and the De-WEIRDing Center led by Hans IJzerman. The grant would deeply involve the PSA and provide it a substantial sum of discretionary money to be used as the PSA sees fit. Synergy Grants have three stages of review. Hans and Patrick will hear the results of the first stage in April.
National Science Foundation grant to be submitted this week. Chris Chartier, Neil Lewis, Jr., Heather Urry, Charlie Ebersole, and Hannah Moshontz have drafted a proposal to the NSF (our third try 🙂 at this one) that will be submitted on the 15th. If funded, the grant would support hiring of a PSA dedicated project manager to allow us expanded data collection and more efficient overall workflow and study completion.
John Templeton Foundation grant to be submitted this week. Charlie Ebersole and Chris Chartier have drafted a proposal to the JTF that will be submitted on the 17th. If funded, the grant would support hiring of several dedicated PSA staff members to focus on collecting non-WEIRD samples for studies within the JTF human sciences division questions of interest.
A Discussion on the PSA and Meta-Research
Peder M. Isager and Marcel van Assen hosted a discussion session titled How can meta-research improve the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA) and how can the PSA improve meta-research? at the 2019 Meta-research day in Tilburg (https://bit.ly/2sjzU3b). The majority of the session was devoted to discussing intersections between the meta-research field and the PSA. The discussion is summarized in this blog post.
Actionable Items to Kick Off 2020
We are on the verge of making selection decisions for 8 submissions to the PSA. All members who have created login credentials at our membership sitecan now access the pdf copies of these submissions and provide their ratings and feedback. These forms will only be open for a week (until midnight on the 20th in the last time zone on earth) to allow quick conclusion of this round of study selection. We think you’ll have fun looking at and evaluating these excellent submissions!
We also received a very interesting, but quite atypical submission, that we are collating feedback on. In response to our last call for studies, a research team submitted a proposal that is not so much a specific study, but rather an intriguing way in which we may select and develop a future study. The SSC found that it had promise, but that it didn’t fit our typical model for submission review and selection. So, the SSC Assistant Directors decided to pull the submission from the standard review track, and instead begin a PSA-wide conversation to consider and eventually decide by consensus (or perhaps vote) if we should implement the proposal. Members, please provide your initial feedback by joining the conversation currently ongoing in our general Slack channel (scroll up to the thread beginning on November 27th).
Resource Capacity Draft Policy Ready for Feedback
We (led by Patrick Forscher) have drafted a policy that lays out how the PSA thinks about the resources that affect its capacity to run new studies. The development of this policy was inspired in part by questions from potential funders as to whether the PSA would be willing to run studies about specific topics. The PSA does not, at present, have guidelines for these decisions. The policy therefore also seeks to lay out these guidelines. You can find a draft of the policy here.
Elections and Appointments
One Associate Director position and several Assistant Director positions will be up for election or appointment in the first quarter of 2020. We will first hold a full network vote for the Associate Director seat. Subsequently, the new line-up of Associate Directors and the Director will vote to appoint the new Assistant Directors. For now, you can consider and prepare for 3 things.
Nominations for running for Associate Director: Any PSA member may run for this seat. We will be sending out a nomination form where people can nominate themselves or nominate someone else. We will confirm with all nominees as to whether or not they’d like to run.
Volunteers to be Election Tellers: Each PSA election is overseen by one Associate Director and three Election Tellers. Tellers will observe all of the actions of the Associate Director (in this election, Charlie Ebersole) to confirm that the election is being run fairly and accurately. We will be seeking volunteers to serve as Tellers for the upcoming election; any PSA member can volunteer.
Prepare to Vote: consider the performance of the current leadership team, and think about what you would most want to see out of new or returning members of this team in 2020 and beyond.
Onward in 2020!
Thank you for all that you do. You can stay informed and in the convo on Slack and by checking out events on the PSA Google Calendar. As always, we are overflowing with gratitude for all that you’ve collectively given to the PSA and excitement for what we can achieve together in 2020 and beyond.
(We also wanted to pass along this cool collaboration opportunity below, being organized and led by PSA members)
The Transparent Psi Project is looking for collaborators for data collection
Zoltan Kekecs and Balazs Aczel (members of the PSA Methods Committee) are leading this project which is an expert consensus-based replication of one of Bem’s 2011 precognition studies. The project features state of the art methods to maximize transparency and study integrity.
The study involves a computerized experiment taking about 20-30 minutes per session. Group testing is possible in a computer lab, no specialized equipment needed. Labs are expected to recruit at least 100 participants. Participants will be exposed to images with explicit erotic/sexual content in the experiment. No financial compensation is required for the participants.
Data collection is expected to take place in the 2020 spring, and if needed, 2020 fall semester. Every material is provided for ethics/IRB submissions and data collection in English (translation of materials might be necessary by the collaborators).
The study is pre-registered and the manuscript is accepted in principle for publication (IPA) in the journal Royal Society Open Science. Collaborators in data collection get authorship on the paper.
This month we have progress to report on our latest round of study selection, our 6 current studies, a policy document up for a vote, and an invitation to join a new PSA press team!
Vote on the Analysis Plan Approval Policy
We now call for a vote on our analysis plan approval policy. All members will receive a email asking for them to vote yes or no on this proposed policy.
Study Selection Update
We are now reviewing the 11 submissions we received in response to our 2019 call for studies. Initial feasibility checks are happening now (and have actually been completed for several submissions). Peer review requests will be made in the coming weeks. To participate in this process in any way (viewing, rating, or reviewing submissions), you will need to become an official PSA member through our new member website here: https://member.psysciacc.org/. The more the merrier!
PSA 002/003 are moving quickly now with lots of recent activity on both translation and data collection. Several teams have even completed collection for these studies!
PSA 004 is also in a period of rapid progress with many teams finalizing their materials and a handful of sites already collecting data.
PSA 005 recently received some wonderful news, with a very favorable revise and resubmit decision from Nature Human Behaviour on the stage 1 registered report manuscript. The lead team is working on the revisions now.
PSA 006 is back under review as a stage 1 registered report at Nature Human Behaviour after its own revise and resubmit decision. We hope to be hearing some good news soon!
Would You Like to Join PSA’s Press Team?
The PSA is looking for people who would like to help with press issues. This is a great opportunity to either join the network or become more involved.
Potential tasks of the press team include:
Draft press releases
Contact bloggers, journalists, and media outlets with PSA updates
Organize contacts in PSA member university press offices
Write plain language summaries of PSA projects (for e.g. In-Mind, The Conversation, Psych Today, and other outlets that allow contributed articles)
Write Twitter threads, Facebook posts, etc.
Eventually coordinate TED-style talks
We will always provide the source info about the PSA and current studies so even people who are not familiar with the structure, goals or are not even sure what is going on in the PSA are welcome to volunteer! If you’re interested please send an email to email@example.com.