Basic review requirements

To accomodate the growing research community and meet the needs of different kinds of studies, external studies (Bring-your-own Study Link, Bring-your-own Meeting) will be expedited for posting, but must still meet some basic requirements in order to be approved. If you have questions about any of these requirements, please ask them on Slack.

In addition to the requirements listed below, you are also strongly encouraged to review the study guidelines that we use for reviewing Lookit experiments. You are also welcome to give and solicit peer review for your studies on Slack, and we recommend that all studies do this!

Study form

You must provide complete information for each of the fields on the study form, including compensation information and eligibility. Here is a detailed guide to each of the fields on the study form.

Paying participants


You are not required to pay participants - some studies ask for volunteer participants - but you must clearly state what compensation is offered, including any limitations on who can receive compensation.

Beginning December 2023, studies are required to implement a visual check that study participants are acting in good faith (i.e. that a child of the correct age is present and the family is attempting to participate in the study as designed) prior to compensating them.

This is being required because we have experienced spam participants (e.g. people making many accounts and trying to get paid over and over again.) Our participant pool is extremely high quality, and keeping it this way by keeping bad-faith participants out of your datasets is a shared responsibility. Studies that don’t screen their participants teach the scammers that they can get paid by lying about their information on CHS!

To learn how to implement this requirement for different kinds of studies, and for more information about how to check for red flags (and green flags) to distinguish spammers from honestly confused families, please see the page on spam prevention.

Terms of use

Your study (including the entire experience that families go through after clicking on the external link) must follow the Terms of Use.

Below are some highlights from these terms that researchers will need to be aware of:

  • All studies must use informed consent procedures, and follow all other requirements for human subjects testing, as required by your institution’s review board. If we cannot find institution and IRB approval information at your link, your study will not be approved.
  • Researchers may not use email addresses or other participant information for any purpose other than conducting that specific study. (In fact, we recommend that you don’t collect email addresses at all, and instead use the Lookit messaging system to contact families!)

Lab contact databases

You cannot use Children Helping Science to link to a page that just collects contact information from families that you plan to recruit to future studies later on. Links posted on Children Helping Science should be to a single, currently-active study.

  • Finally, under these terms we reserve the right to withold study approval for any reason. This rule is in place in case of unanticipated issues with a study where posting would have a substantial chance of creating a negative experience for visiting families or the platform as a whole. We will always contact you to discuss if we believe there is a issue of this kind.