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

  1. You completed the study exceptionally fast
  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

Completing the study exceptionally fast


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. 

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. 

You skipped 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.

You didn't sufficiently engage 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.

I don't feel my rejection was fair


If you've read this article and believe your submission was rejected in error or unfairly, we suggest getting 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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