Guidelines on Appropriate Payments to Participants

The projects offered on the Unforgettable marketplace vary and as a consequence so do the payments that researchers offer. There are two basic components to take into account when making an offer.

The first is the work that the participant will need to do. Often researchers will ask participants to complete a survey or experimental procedure. We recommend a payment of US$8 per hour prorated if the task will take more or less time than that. This rate takes into account what is a reasonable amount to pay for the effort that will be required, but also that the data remains the property of the participant. As a consequence, they will be entitled to sell this data again should another researcher want to purchase it.

On other occasions the tasks that participants must do will be spread over many days. For instance, in an ecological momentary assessment task (EMA), a participant may have to respond several times a day. To compensate them for this kind of activity we suggest estimating the amount of time they will take to complete the task and then adding 20% to account for the interruptions.

When setting up a project on the marketplace you will be asked to specify an acceptance condition. The acceptance condition indicates the minimal amount of data that the participant must accumulate in order to qualify for the study. The participant can see this acceptance condition when they are deciding whether to complete the study. If they do not qualify they will not be compensated and any data they do collect will not be available to you. In EMA studies, it is typically the case that people do not complete every microsurvey. So keep this in mind when setting the acceptance condition. It is reasonable to expect a participant to complete 75% of surveys. For instance, if you have a study that asks participants to complete a microsurvey 8 times each day for 5 days you might set the acceptance criterion to 30 completed events.

In addition to the fees that are paid for the effort of the participant, you should also factor in a component for the data that you require. How much this fee should be depends on the nature of the data. Some data is more valuable because it is rare or takes additional effort to collect. For instance, a month worth of mood microsurvey data is more valuable than a month of GPS data because fewer people have collected the mood data and it might require the participant to complete micro surveys several times a day. By contrast the GPS data usually accumulates automatically if a participant has the Unforgettable app installed. Below we list some suggested payments for different kinds of data. These are intended to provide some general guidance for researchers. However, these payments are at your discretion.

Data type Payment (USD)
Unforgettable App data (including GPS, accelerometry, obfuscated audio) $5 per month
Emails $10 per month
Phone calls (time and obfuscated person only - not contents) $7 per month
SMSs (time and obfuscated person only - not contents) $7 per month
IFTTT Button data $0.20 per response
SEMA $0.50 per microsurvey
Online Survey or Experiment (e.g. personality survey) $8 per hour