The Real Cost of Using jsPsych Library for Online Studies

ket in conducting online behavioral and cognitive experiments. However, it's essential to understand that using jsPsych, or similar tools, may be associated with both apparent and hidden costs. Let's break it down.

License Model and Inherent Costs

jsPsych is offered as open-source software, meaning that it is published under a license allowing everyone to use, modify, and distribute the library for any purpose. Thus, the license cost for using jsPsych is zero. However, running a cognitive experiment online with jsPsych may involve other expenses overlooked at first glance.

For instance, you might need to invest in the development of custom jsPsych plugins if your study requires specific cognitive tasks not covered by the current library. In addition, managing an online experiment necessitates a secure portal, like, for running experiments and retrieving data. This, too, can add to the overall cost.

Example Cost for an Experiment with 100 Participants

Assuming each participant gets compensated with 10 dollars, the cost for 100 participants would already amount to 1000 dollars. The hosting of your experiment on a secure site like Cognition involves fees that depend on the duration and complexity of your study. Roughly, a standard study running for a month could cost around 300 dollars.

Considering these factors, the direct cost (participants plus hosting) for conducting an experiment with 100 participants might be in the range of 1300 dollars, excluding any custom development or data analysis costs.

Hidden Costs and Tips for Reducing Them

There are often hidden costs in running online experiments that directly impact your project’s budget. These can include the costs of preparing and setting up the experiment, debugging, and conducting preliminary pilot experiments. In addition, the time invested in interpreting raw data and preparing it for analysis may pose significant indirect costs.

Here, utilizing an intuitive platform like can streamline your experiment setup process, saving time and hidden costs. Furthermore, thorough debugging and running pilot experiments can mitigate the hidden costs caused by errors during the main study.

Another way to decrease the cost is using dedicated services for participant recruitment. Recruitment done in-house can often be time-consuming and challenging, trying to find people who match your study's criteria. Professional services have networks of participants ready to take part in your study, reducing recruitment costs both in terms of time and financial resources.

Wrapping Up

Despite the license cost of jsPsych library being zero, cognitive and behavioral experiments conducted online come with inherent costs. By properly planning your study, utilizing efficient setup processes, conducting effective debugging, and utilizing participant recruitment services, you can significantly reduce these costs and effectively conduct your online study.

Related articles: