Announcing PSA Member Lab Grants for 2019-2020

Opportunity is distributed unequally in human affairs. Science is a human affair, so this dictum applies to science as it applies to any other human endeavor.

At the PSA we recognize this as an unfortunate current characteristic of science, but we also think that science will be both fairer and of higher quality if opportunity were distributed more evenly. Working toward this aspiration is central to our core principles. However, we have some ways to go to meet it: of the over 500 labs that have joined our network, only 14% were in South and Central America, 5% in Eastern Europe, 6% in the Middle East, 4% in Asia, and 1% in Africa. 

Last year, we started an initiative to move us closer to our aspiration: we issued three small grants of $400 to under-resourced labs PSA labs. These grants helped these labs collect data and earn authorship on one of our studies.

This year, we are continuing this program. While the exact number of grants we will be able to issue is uncertain, we hope to issue six grants of $400 each to PSA labs that wish to collect data for one of our studies. These grants will be funded using money collected from our Patreon if we meet our support goal (see this previous post for more details).  

We will select recipients based on the following two criteria:

  1. Demonstrated need. We define “need” to mean that the data collection could not happen without the provision of the grant. As an additional provision, and as an attempt to improve lab representation from non-Western countries, at least three of the grants will go to labs from those regions.
  2. Benefit to the PSA study in question. We will prioritize labs that provide a unique benefit to the PSA study in which they are participating. For example, in a study of how a psychological process varies across cultures, we will prioritize labs that allow the recruitment of participants from a culture that is not already represented in the study.

Our current crop of accepted studies deal with topics ranging from language comprehension, to stereotype threat, to moral decision-making. Five of these six studies (002 through 006) are actively recruiting labs. We also have an active call for studies that ends September 15, 2019 that will give us a new wave of studies covering yet more topics. This provides prospective labs with the opportunity to join studies, and earn authorship on manuscripts, that match their interests.

If you are interested in applying for one of these grants, fill out this form. We hope this initiative will play a small but measurable role in redistributing scientific opportunities in a fairer way.

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The PSA’s Patreon Sustainability Drive

The PSA owes its success to the enthusiasm of its members.  That enthusiasm has led to an outpouring of volunteer work hours. In 2019, we estimate that these hours total 19,390, equivalent to approximately 10 full-time people per year. 

However, enthusiastic volunteerism has its limits. First, some items, such as software licenses and compensation for participants, cannot be bought solely with volunteer labor. Second, volunteer time necessarily comes at the expense of time spent on other activities — activities that more directly benefit one’s career. Thus, for the PSA to maximize its positive impact, it needs to develop a broad set of reliable funding streams, both to enable special projects that require direct funding and to guard against the eventuality that enthusiasm for the PSA diminishes.

That’s where you come in. We have recently created a Patreon page to allow interested people to make regular contributions to help the PSA fulfill its goals. The exact items that we fund with the Patreon will change on a regular basis; however, we have made a pledge that all the money we receive through this Patreon page will be reinvested into the PSA in a way that directly supports our mission and is in line with our core principles.

In the coming year, we hope to use the Patreon to fund two items, both of which will be discussed further in a blog post of their own later this week:

  1. Six grants of $400 to PSA member labs who wish to collect data for one of our studies but lack the resources to do so
  2. Six stipends of $400 to help compensate people who take on study-specific administrative roles

We will feel comfortable funding these if our Patreon reaches the threshold of $400 per month by Tuesday September 3, 5pm UTC. We will provide regular updates as to our progress.

If you are able to donate a monthly contribution and you think our goal is worthy, consider becoming a patron. Even $1 a month gets us closer to your goal. Help us reach our goal and thereby incrementally advance the improvement of psychological science!

Highlights of the PSA’s First Two Years

On August 26, 2017, Chris Chartier wrote a blog post posing a simple question: what might happen if psychology adopted the collaborative “big science” model seen in physics and built a “CERN for psychological science”?

2018 gave us a glimpse of the answer: a rapidly-expanding network of over 300 psychology labs from over fifty countries. The first year was a flurry of activity as, in quick succession, the PSA accepted four studies and had its first academic paper accepted. The network’s rapid expansion in its first year speaks to the hunger for ambitious solutions to two of the problems that psychology currently faces: lower-than-desired levels of replicability and generalizability of psychological findings.

The PSA’s second year has marked the beginnings of a transition from idea to action.  The network has continued to expand, now standing at over 500 labs from over 70 countries.  We have selected 2 new studies, collected data from over 11,000 participants for our first study, initiated data collection in 3 other studies, received in principle acceptance for 2 registered report manuscripts, and submitted another 2 for stage 1 peer review. 

This productivity in the selection, preparation, and conduct of our studies was matched by a substantial organizational infrastructure development. PSA members named Assistant Directors to lead the committees that do the bulk of its administrative and coordination work, initiated a project to formalize its study pipeline, drafted a coherent set of policies dictating how the PSA manages and releases its data, made the PSA’s first full-time hire (Patrick Forscher at Université Grenoble Alpes), announced the first round of PSA elections, created a Patreon, submitted several grant proposals, and drafted a vision statement outlining the PSA’s long-term priorities. If the PSA’s first year was focused on growth and excitement, its second year was focused on turning plans into action and establishing sustainability, and we hope our third year is one of securing large-scale funding to more effectively pursue our mission with six key aims: 

  1. Collect samples that represent all people 
  2. Train and support our global network of researchers
  3. Expand the PSA’s capacity to include more complex behavioral studies
  4. Release large-scale data-sets that are maximally informative for secondary re-use
  5. Improve psychological science through meta-scientific and instructional contributions
  6. Expand capacity to conduct more, and bigger, studies

Below we have created a chronological timeline of important events in the PSA. All of these accomplishments represent the work of literally hundreds of researchers. We can’t thank them enough for joining us on this journey to accelerate psychological science. Here’s to many more productive and rewarding years ahead!

Timeline of important PSA events (with links)

Year one

Year two

The PSA is Two Years Old. Let’s Celebrate!

This coming Monday the Psychological Science Accelerator turns two. To celebrate, we’re planning a week of exciting announcements, blogposts, and hackathons. Today we just wanted to post a full schedule for the week, with brief descriptions of each event in case you wanted to follow along or join in. Watch our twitter account for frequent updates and links throughout the week.

Blog schedule

Monday

Highlights from our first 2 years

Tuesday

Updates on our Patreon grassroots funding campaign

Wednesday

Announcing a new batch of PSA member lab grants for 2019/2020 and how you can apply

Thursday

Celebrating and making more visible the sometimes invisible work of PSA members filling study-specific support roles (e.g., project monitoring, data management, translation coordination)

Friday

Releasing and soliciting feedback on the first draft of our vision statement for the PSA (precursor to a 5-year strategic plan)

Saturday

Announcing Study 001’s data release plan, including incentives for pre-registered secondary analyses

Hackathon schedule

Monday

Vision Statement Draft Feedback and Editing (Chris Chartier, 10:30 UTC, 6:30am EST)

Google drive migration (Patrick Forscher, 17:00 UTC, 1:00PM EST) 

Tuesday

Meta-science policies (Nick Fox, 18:00 UTC, 2:00pm EST)

Wednesday

Member site and roster info form (Erin Buchanan, 13:30 UTC, 9:30am EST)

Thursday

Election logistics (Charlie Ebersole, 16:30 UTC, 2:30pm EST)

Friday

Patreon and Donor Campaign (Chris Chartier, 13:00 UTC, 9:00am EST)

Synergy hack-a-thon (Patrick Forscher, 15:00 UTC, 11:00am EST)

We hope to see you during the week!

News from the Accelerator – July 2019

We have a range of updates and small requests for help this month, including paper submissions, an upcoming data release, elections, hackathons, and a crowdfunding campaign.

Current Studies

  • 001 Face Perception. We are nearly done with data collection in all world regions! We will release a simulated data set in August, complete data collection in October, release ~1/3 of the data set in late October as an exploratory segment, and then release the remaining ~2/3 of the data set as a confirmatory segment concurrently with the release of the Stage 2 manuscript at Nature Human Behaviour.
  • 002 Object Orientation & 003 Gendered Prejudice. Data collection is now rolling out in English speaking labs and will expand to the other study languages soon if all goes smoothly with the early collection sessions.
  • 004 True Belief. Data collection is also currently rolling out for this project as labs test their lab-specific links and get a final check on all materials.
  • 005 Stereotype Threat. The Stage 1 Registered Report manuscript is now under review at Nature Human Behaviour. We still welcome new labs to join the project if they are based in the USA and can recruit black college students.
  • 006 Trolley Problem. The Stage 1 Registered Report manuscript received a favorable “revise and resubmit” from Nature Human Behaviour. The lead team is currently working on the revisions and will reach out to all co-authors for feedback and suggested edits soon.
  • 007 and beyond? Remember that the deadline for submissions to this year’s round of study selection is September 15th!

Funding

PSA members are actively working on a range of grant submissions to the US National Science Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the European Research Council Synergy program, and Canada’s National Research Council, but there are probably other opportunities for us to pursue. If you know of a funding mechanism that would be a good fit for the PSA, please pass along any information you have, and let us know if you’d like to lead the grant writing effort or collaborate on a submission!

Patreon

Remember that we can also support the PSA via our Patreon page. Even just $1 a month can be extremely helpful and provide meaningful funding if we get a large base of supporters. I’ve given myself the challenge of getting the PSA one new Patreon supporter every workday. I’ve been successful for the past week, and I hope to keep the streak going for a very long time! Perhaps you could find a new supporter each year? Each month? Each week? Every little bit helps.

Hackathons

We have been holding weekly PSA hackathons for the last three weeks and plan to continue these for the foreseeable future. They’ve been extremely fun, productive, and energizing! The three previous hack topics were “brainstorming funding sources,” “editing our needs assessment process for new studies,” and “updating and organizing our file management system.” This Friday, August 2nd, at 14:00 UTC we will host a hackathon on improving our get involved page on psysciacc.org. We will announce all future hackathons on twitter and on the new #hackathons slack channel. Let us know if you have any ideas or requests for future sessions.

Meta-Policy

We have drafted a new PSA policy defining the process by which the PSA creates and approves new policies :). We now welcome feedback on this policy before we put it up for a vote. Please provide your comments in the next two weeks in the draft document.

Elections

PSA elections for Assistant Directors, Associate Directors, and the Director will begin in January 2020 and then be held each subsequent July and January. During each election, we will select 3 Assistant Directors (who serve 3 year terms). Most elections will also select an Associate Director (who serve 4 year terms). We will elect a new Director every 5 years. You can see more details about the upcoming elections, including the initial schedule (which was selected randomly), towards the bottom of this policy document. More details on election specifics are coming soon!

 

-That’s all for this month. Be on the lookout for some exciting posts and updates during August as we celebrate 2 years of accelerating psychological science (our anniversary is August 26th). I’ll leave you with two pictures of PSA members meeting up (one online and one in person) and making each other smile about the future of psychological science!

Chris

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