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Why has my submission been rejected?

On your Submissions page, you'll see we use a few different statuses to tell you what's currently happening with your submission. This article explains the status Rejected.

There are seven main reasons why your submission might get rejected, though please note this isn't exhaustive:

  1. You completed the study exceptionally fast or exceptionally slowly
  2. You failed one or multiple fair attention checks
  3. You skipped crucial questions
  4. You didn't sufficiently engage in a task where the level of engagement needed was clearly specified
  5. You provided NOCODE or gave no data
  6. You were screened out
  7. You experienced a technical issue

Completing the study exceptionally fast or exceptionally slow

Researchers estimate how long their study should take, and Prolific calculates the average completion time while the study goes on. If your completion time is much quicker than the average completion time, it suggests you didn't engage with the study fully. We allow rejections for studies that are completed 3 standard deviations below the average.

If you take too long on a study, you will be Timed out. Researchers can’t reject you for being too slow; instead your submission will be timed out automatically rather than “awaiting review.”

If your submission was rejected for either of the above reasons, please contact the researcher to discuss with them.

Failing one or multiple fair attention checks

Researchers use attention checks to make sure participants are paying attention to their study instructions. If you miss or fail attention checks, it indicates you're not reading questions or instructions properly. 
We have guidelines on Using attention checks as a measure of data quality to make sure the attention checks are fair, and easy to complete. Feel free to take a look! If you think the attention check was unfair, you can message the researcher to chat about it. 

Skipping crucial questions

Researchers respect and value participant's time on Prolific, and will therefore not include unnecessary questions in their surveys. So, when taking part in a study it's best to assume that all of the questions being asked are crucial to the research, unless any question is explicitly stated as optional. It's therefore important to take the time to answer each and every question you are asked, to the very best of your ability.

Not sufficiently engaging in a task

To provide our researchers with high-quality data it's very important that you're actively engaged in their study. Engagement means that you're paying close attention to what is being asked of you, providing effortful responses, and aren't distracted by other tasks while taking part in a study. A lack of engagement means that the researcher may find your data unusable to answer their specific research question. An example of low engagement might be where a participant is asked to write a paragraph but only writes a few words.

NOCODE or no data

Researchers can’t solely reject you for providing NOCODE, or the submission of an incorrect completion code - read more about why this may occur here: New NOCODE article If your submission was rejected for No data and/or NOCODE and you are confident this is incorrect, please message the researcher to dispute this.

Screening out

We allow researchers to validate the prescreening criteria they have applied on Prolific by asking the prescreening question(s) again in their survey, worded exactly as appears on Prolific. If your ‘About you’ answers don’t match the answers you give here, you may be directed to return your submission.

If you take part in a pre-screening study and successfully complete it, you must be paid for your time, regardless of whether you met the criteria for the follow-up study.

We do not allow within-study screening for criteria not applied in Prolific prescreening. If you have been screened out, please return your submission and report the study to us rather than submitting the study with NOCODE.

If you have been rejected after being screened out unfairly, please contact the researcher to overturn your rejection. You can ask for your submission to be returned instead and in some cases you might be able to get partial payment.

Technical issue

If you experience a technical issue in a study, it’s best to contact the researcher and return the study immediately. Please don’t wait for the technical issue to be resolved as you won’t be compensated for your time.

If you choose to submit the study as complete, rather than return the submission, the researcher could reject it as they might not know you had a technical issue.

You may then need to reach out to the researcher to resolve this.

I don't feel my rejection was fair

If you've read this article and believe your submission was rejected in error or unfairly, you need to get in touch with the researcher directly.

You can easily do this via our messaging system. Go to your Submissions page, and click on the little envelope on the right side of that study next to the submission status. Send the researcher as much information about your problem as possible and give them a week to get back to you.

If they haven't come back to you in a week, or you don't feel that they've resolved your issue, then send us a message. Please include screenshots of any messages between you and the researcher, this will help us decide on next steps.

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