How Prolific’s API can scale your research

Lily Haycraft Mee
Elaine Poon



May 2022

How Prolific’s API can scale your research

Lily Haycraft Mee
Elaine Poon



May 2022

As a whole new side to boosting Prolific’s flexibility, we recently opened up our API.

From AI training to academic studies, to market research; we aim to support as many types of research as possible.

But busier research workflows get repetitive and time-consuming. More complex workflows are impossible to scale without automation.

Meanwhile, some products want to help their customers by partnering with Prolific to offer easy access to high-quality participants.

Here are a few examples of how to improve research through Prolific’s API integrations.

Prolific's API integration options are expanding all the time

1. Manage studies, workflows, and participants programmatically

Here’s how one research team made the most of Prolific’s API integrations.

Dr Jana Schaich Borg, Associate Research Professor and Dr Lok Chan, Postdoctoral Researcher at Duke University are studying social interaction via online interactive video studies. As part of Duke Moral AI Lab, they also study people’s attitudes on the use of AI for healthcare, specifically focusing on kidney allocation.

Participants are invited to online interactive video studies with others at multiple different times. This meant the lab were having to set up multi-part studies and re-invite participants at different stages, whilst also keeping track of which participants were eligible for payment at each stage.

Whilst it’s possible to do this manually during the pilot (~20 participants), when we scale up (say 100+ participants), it will become impossible to do this by hand and we will have to rely on the API to automate this process.” (Dr Lok Chan, Postdoctoral Researcher)

Now they’ve integrated with Prolific, they programmatically set up follow-up studies and pay bonuses for qualified participants based on study outcomes. It saves them 2 hours on each pilot study, unlocking their ability to scale.

2. Partner with Prolific

There are two types of partnership now possible with Prolific’s API.

Partnerships streamline the research process by offering access to Prolific participants through other research tools.

Provide automated access to Prolific’s high-quality participants

This first type of partnership helps researchers find high-quality participants straight after setting up their study, connecting both parts of the process.

Researchers still create their own account with Prolific and pay participants themselves, but can do some or all of the handling of participants through the partner tool.

It means tools like Dallinger can streamline the entire research process. Dallinger uses a combination of bots and humans to automate social science experiments. It fully automates the process of recruiting participants, obtaining informed consent, arranging participants into a network, running the web-based experiment, coordinating communication, recording and managing the data, and paying participants.

You could use Prolific with Dallinger before, but researchers had to find Prolific and set it up manually. Now, Dallinger is integrated with Prolific, offering automated and scalable access to high-quality research participants.*

This integration has already helped Jacoby’s Computational Auditory Perception group run a large study using microphones to collect singing responses on PsyNet, a soon-to-be released experimental platform based on top of Dallinger*.

“It was a great pleasure to work with the Prolific team. Their API was exactly what we wanted: transparent, easy to use, and clearly documented. We really appreciated the help we got from the team and especially Elaine Poon and Jonás Ansó with integrating Prolific within our platform.” (Nori Jacoby, Research Group Leader, Max Planck for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt).

Give access to Prolific’s participants without leaving your product

Another example of exciting partnership enabled through our API is our work with Useberry. Useberry is a prototype testing platform that wanted to offer their customers high-quality participants directly through their site.

After running a beta integration, Useberry chose to use Prolific’s participant pool exclusively, instead of several pools.

Researchers can now access participants through Useberry and don’t require their own Prolific account. The whole research process is seamless and in one place.

"After extensive research, we chose Prolific for its high-quality participants, plethora of targeting attributes, and speed of results. Its flexibility and ease of use make it an irreplaceable tool in our arsenal." (Bill Kirimkiridis, CEO)

Tell us how we can scale your research

We’d love to hear of any new ways we can help your research improve.

If you’d like to partner with us, get an API token or simply chat to our team, please do! We’re always looking to better the world of online research.

*Dallinger’s integration with Prolific was thanks to a recent partnership between the Griffiths’ Computational Cognitive Science Lab at Princeton and Nori Jacoby’s Computational Auditory Perception group at Max Planck for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt. It was also made possible by a collaboration between the open source software development Jazkarta and the integration team at Prolific.

*Psynet is developed by Peter Harrison (Cambridge), Frank Höger and Nori Jacoby (Max Planck for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt)