- Jun 14, 2018
For the longest time, I thought paid survey sites were just a way for retailers and commercial companies to get consumer feedback about their products and services. I never really saw it as a potential platform for the academe. But looking back, it makes perfect sense - paid research for academic studies - why ever not? It’s still all about opinions and getting paid to voice it, right?
It’s definitely different from the kind of GPT and paid survey sites we’ve come to know through the years - and admittedly, it sounds a bit intimidating, at least to me. However, the more I think about the possibilities of participating in real studies, the more intrigued I became. So today, I will take a closer look at what Prolific Academic can offer to us, and if they’re a legit survey site or a scam.
First things first - what is it?
Prolific (as they seem to like calling themselves now, having discovered that “Prolific Academic” sounds a bit clunky), is kind of like a survey site, but with special emphasis on academic research participation. So basically, you’re going to be answering questions on someone’s studies, experiments, and papers, instead of, say, how you find so-and-so product’s new flavor or packaging. You will need to answer a few screening questions prior to qualifying for a study, but it’s all very basic stuff.
Incidentally, Prolific likes calling their surveys “studies”, which makes sense (and also makes me feel just a little bit smarter!). Oh, and it’s also a platform that’s supported and utilized by such esteemed academic institutions as the University of Oxford, Harvard University, Stanford, Yale, University of Cambridge, and the Cancer Research UK!
How long has it been around?
Founded on April 10, 2014, in the UK, Prolific Academic is a relatively new “research” site that allows participants to take part in studies and earn rewards in the process. There are already positive testimonies about the site both from researchers (including above-mentioned institutions) and participants (including research professionals), though.
Does it pay well?
You will get paid in £ (pounds), with the initial payment threshold amounting to £5 - but this is subject to PayPal or Circle fees depending on your country. Prolific encourages participants to hold off from withdrawing until they reach £20 in their accounts, thereby minimizing cashing out fees.
Studies can pay somewhere between £1 - £5, but I think timing has plenty to do with getting the higher-paying ones.
I read somewhere that Prolific is potentially the highest paying survey site in existence but cannot vouch for that due to lack of sufficient payment proofs to compare and contrast. I can see why this claim is possible, though. Combined with the kind of money you can make from participating in research studies, Prolific also gives a generous referral bonus every time someone you referred registers (5% when they use your referral code, and another 5% of the value of their first completed study), which looks to be very generous extra income, indeed.
Is registration free?
Creating an account with Prolific Academic is free, and as they describe it in their homepage: “with no strings attached!” You’re also allowed to register from almost anywhere in the world, as long as you have a working PayPal account and email address.
Update: there is currently a temporary country restriction on registration and participation, which sucks. But the site did say they intend to open up globally again in the future. At the moment, participants in the following countries are allowed to register: AT, AU, BE, CA, CH, CL, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IL, IS, IT, JP, KR, LU, LV, MX, NL, NO, NZ, PL, PT, SE, SI, TR, and US.
What’s the best option of earning as a member of Prolific Academic?
I would normally recommend the referral system as the best way to earn on paid survey and GPT sites, but given the unique circumstances at Prolific Academy, I would say the easiest way is to answer the studies available to you. This is because some of the most positive feedback I’ve read about the site is how you would almost always qualify for a study! Unlike most paid survey sites that seem to be focused strictly on certain demographics and geographic locations (mostly US and UK), over here, there seems to be a bigger chance to qualify, earn, and cash out wherever you may reside in the world.
Of course, there’s always demographic and geographical issues to deal with even with academic studies. So to be sure, there’s a demographics page in the Prolific website where you can see at a glance if you have the best chances of answering studies. The site does promise new studies are to be posted regularly.
However, since I really am a big fan of referrals, and Prolific has a referral system in place, I would still recommend getting a referral URL to take part in the studies, then use your unique code to invite others to participate in turn. You will get 10% of the first cashout of every participant you referred to. There is a catch, though. There's a maximum reward of £250 per researcher referral and a maximum of £5 per participant referral. (Still not bad, as far as passive incomes go.)
Prolific Academic is definitely legit. Not only do revered academic institutions use this platform, but the pay rate is decent for participants, as well. I think the biggest issue right now would be the temporary country restriction, which the site promises to remedy soon, anyway. However, I see a big potential for this academic-based survey site, as studies are often more inclusive than surveys, and the chances for getting screened out of a study is smaller here compared to others.
Prolific Academic Screenshots
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Are you currently a participant at Prolific Academic, and do you have positive or negative experiences with it? Please tell us all about it, along with your proof of payment, and if you would recommend being a participant of academic research as a way to earn some extra cash.