The Psychological Science Accelerator: A Distributed Laboratory Network


I recently suggested that the time was right to begin building a “CERN for psychological science.” My hope was that like-minded researchers would join me in a collaborative initiative to increase multi-site data collection with the ultimate goal of increasing the pace and quality of evidence accumulation in the field. The response has been immediate, positive, enthusiastic, and a bit overwhelming (in a good way!).  We have quickly assembled a global (and constantly expanding) team of psychological science laboratories. By vote of the team, we have renamed our “CERN for Psych” project to avoid direct comparisons to physics.

We are The Psychological Science Accelerator:  A Distributed Laboratory Network.

27 days

In just 27 days, 106 labs from over 30 countries and 5 continents have expressed interest in the network and have signed up to “stay in the loop.”  Even more promising is the fact that 58 of those labs (more than 2 per day!) have already committed to contributing to our initial data collection projects in 2018. We have divided these labs into 2 data collection teams, with one collecting data in North America and the other collecting data globally for initial projects.

MAP 9 20 2017

We have built it, will they come?

We now turn this data collection capacity over to researchers around the world and welcome submissions for studies to include in these initial data collection projects. These call for studies documents (north american doc here and global doc here) have been posted as HAVES on StudySwap for others to review and download.

We will accept proposals until October 11th. The team will then discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and feasibility concerns of the proposed studies. Ultimately, we will vote as a team on which studies to include and make our final selections by November 1st.

We welcome submissions from all areas of psychological science. A few key points to consider:

  • The proposed studies can test novel hypotheses or focus on the replication of previous findings.
  • We may collect data for multiple “bundled” studies if all parties deem them to be compatible in a single laboratory session, and a mutually agreeable study order can be found.
  • We will include at least one positive control effect at the end of the data collection session.
  • Feasibility of data collection will be a primary component of our evaluation for these first projects.
  • Studies will be pre-registered, even if the research is exploratory in nature.

How to Get Involved

The two projects listed above for 2018 are just the beginning for the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA). We hope to build a general purpose network where researchers can propose exciting new ideas and important replication studies, where the network laboratories can then democratically decide which studies are most worthy of data collection resources, and where we then collect large amounts of data in labs all around the world.

To join the network or just stay informed on our activities, fill out this 3-item google form.

To add your lab to those collecting data on the initial projects in 2018, please email me at

To propose a study for these initial projects, please review the call for studies, complete the submission form, and email your submission to me at

If the first 27 days of the Psychological Science Accelerator are any indication of things to come, we have initiated a project that can have a meaningful and lasting impact on psychological science. Please join us!

Dr. Christopher R. Chartier

Associate Professor of Psychology

Ashland University International Collaboration Research Center


Update: Building a CERN for Psychological Science

A Big Week

Things have developed rapidly since we initially proposed that now is the time to begin building a CERN for psychological science. Seventy two labs from twenty nine countries have signed up for the network (see the google map below). Furthermore, 31 labs have already committed to our first data collection projects in 2018, taking the generous step of agreeing in principal to collect data for yet-to-be-determined studies. Clearly there is strong grassroots support for such an initiative. What an exciting time to be working on the improvement of psychological science through large-scale collaboration!


What’s next?

Here are our next steps, including ways for you to get involved if you aren’t already:

-We will continue recruitment for the CERN network indefinitely. We need many more labs in many more locations with many more resources to make this a truly transformative project. You can still sign up here.

-Specifically, for the two Collections2 that we will coordinate in 2018, we would love to recruit additional labs, even though we have already surpassed our minimum goal of 10 labs devoted to each. We could particularly use more North American labs with diverse student subject populations. Again, fill out the form linked above or contact me at to get involved. This specific recruitment effort will continue until September 15th.

-We will release an open “call for studies” on October 1st to select the studies to be included in these initial Collections2.

-Collecting labs will then decide as a group which studies we will collect data for in 2018. Our decisions will be made by October 15th.

-We will then work with the researchers whose proposals were selected for these initial Collections2 to finalize detailed data collection protocols. This work will wrap up by November 15th. During this month, we will also recruit additional data collection labs in case other researchers become interested in the Collections2 once the specific studies are announced.

-On November 16th we will distribute finalized protocols to all data collection labs so they can begin making logistical arrangements and can initiate their IRB review process.

-Data collection will take place between January 1st 2018 and December 31st 2018.

-Manuscripts will be prepared and submitted in 2019. Proposing researchers and all data collection laboratories for each Collection2 will help draft, review, approve of, and be listed as authors on the resulting manuscripts.

What Should We Call Ourselves?

Another open issue is what we should call this distributed laboratory network. My initial title drawing comparisons to CERN in physics was for metaphorical purposes, and we may wish to proceed under a different title. What do you think we should call ourselves? Stick with CERN for psychological science? I’m open to ideas and feedback on this matter. Shoot me an email ( or tweet at me ( with your thoughts.


Thank you so much for your continued support of this project. I have been overwhelmed with the response and am filled with enthusiasm to continue building a CERN for psychological science.