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Prolific's payment principles

Ethical rewards

On Prolific, we endorse the principle of 'ethical rewards'. We believe that fair pay leads to better data quality. We therefore recommend you pay participants at least £9.00 / $12.00 per hour, while the minimum pay allowed is £6.00 / $8.00 per hour.

Participants are paid automatically when their submissions are approved. All participants are paid in GBP and/or USD via Paypal.

We only allow participants to be paid via monetary rewards on Prolific. That means that you cannot offer to pay or reward participants with other forms of payment (e.g. vouchers, gift cards etc.).

As a researcher on Prolific you must not approve a submission from or pay a bonus to any account belonging to yourself or acquaintances. Payments may only be made to anonymous participants recruited via Prolific.

If you have any questions about the above please reach out to our Support Team using the button at the bottom of this article.

How to decide on your study reward

One of the most important elements of study setup is deciding on the study’s reward. On Prolific, it’s vital that trust goes both ways, and properly rewarding participants for their time is a large part of that. Although we enforce a minimum hourly reward of £6.00 / $8.00, depending on the effort required by your study, this may not be sufficient to foster high levels of engagement and provide good data quality. Consider:

  1. The participant reimbursement guidelines of your institution. Some institutions have set a minimum and maximum hourly rate (to avoid undue coercion). You might also consider the national minimum wage as a guideline.
  2. The amount of effort required to take part in your study: is it a simple online study, or do participants need to make a video recording or complete a particularly arduous task? If your study is effortful, consider paying more.
  3. How niche your population is: if you are searching for particularly unusual participants (or participants in well-paid jobs), then you will find it easier to recruit these participants if you are paying well for their time.

That said, paying more isn’t always a good idea! Consider that:

  1. Participants sometimes share study information on external websites. If word gets out about a particularly well-paid study with niche inclusion criteria, you may attract participants who lie to gain access. 
  2. Bonus payments contingent on performance may make participants nervous about being paid, and lead to cheating.

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