The Open Lab is organized by studies. A study contains a number of tasks and aggregates the data of the participants. After registering as a researcher, the first page you see suggests creating a new study. Just give it a name and click “Enter”. If you already know someone in the Open Lab with whom you want to share the study, you can enter their email address (or leave it blank and do it later).
After adding a study, you will see the card of the new study, which shows the name and status of the study along with two buttons (to edit and delete the study). The toggle switch at the bottom of the card is grey – this means that your study is currently not publicly available, i.e., hidden from Open Lab participants. However, you can invite participants with a special link that provided to you. When you are ready with tasks and want to open your study to the public, you can toggle the button to activate it.
If your study has research members or participants, it will be displayed on the study card.
The next step after creating a new study is to add tasks. You can select tasks from the list of available tasks and add them to the list on the right by clicking on the green plus button. The order on the list corresponds to the order in which your participants will see the tasks. This allows a study to include more than one task.
Using parameters enables customization of your study without having to change and upload the json file again. If a study has parameters, you can first see them listed next to the task. Second, you can change and save them one the “Customized” tab. After saving, the task will run with your new parameters.
To create parameters in your experiment script, place all your individual screens into one general sequence in the lab.js builder. For the main sequence screen, add parameters on the special page. Now, in your script in lab.js, you can use the name this.parameters.parameter_name to refer to parameters. When the json script is uploaded to Open Lab, the parameters are extracted and listed on the “Parameters” tab.
The “Invitations” page contains links that allow you to invite more participants to your experiment. You can test this links by opening them in the new window in incognito mode (or after logging out). During a login with a participant code, a user will be prompted to enter a code. This code can also be sent to a participant or already known, e.g. student ID or other personal number.
Registration with an email address requests a participant to create an account with an email address and password. Later, the email and password will be used for authorization. This provides a higher level of security than a participant code.
If your study is publicly accessible, it can also be discovered by participants after registration by all available methods (code, email or social networks such as Facebook, Google or Github). Your study will appear in the list of studies in which a user can participate.
You can already start each task individually, but this demo page will show you what the whole experiment will look like for participants. A participant will see the name of the test, its description and the status (completed or not yet completed). The tasks on the list appear in the order you specified in the study. Once a task is completed, a participant cannot repeat it.
To give you an idea what the raw data looks like, you can view and download your own demo results here. The data is stored as a CSV-file with comma-separated values. The data during the experiment is saved in two formats: “incremental” – a new part of the data is logged each time there is a sufficient time window during the experiment (e.g., when a participant reads the instruction of a new experimental block), and “full” – the data is transferred at the end of the experiment. So if a participant interrupts the task, only the incremental data up to the last snapshot will be saved. The results of the demo also show you how many records (rows) are stored in the data file.