Frequently Asked Questions


General

When was Experiment started?

We launched in April, 2012.

What is the goal of this site?

Our goal is to fund a cure for cancer, a new form of energy for the future, and a manned mission to Mars.

What is the difference between Experiment and other crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc?

Experiment is for scientists, by scientists. Just like how a scientist would use tools like a microscope, pipettor, or large hadron collider to help them in search of new discoveries, we believe funding tools for scientists should also be specialized for science.

What is the all-or-nothing funding model?

All research projects on Experiment must reach or surpass the funding goal within a set timeline before any money changes hands. If the project doesn't reach it's goal, no money is charged. Why is this? We ask researchers to clearly define a minimum budget that allows them to carry out their experiments. We wouldn’t want to compromise the quality of the research if they had only part of this budget.

Other crowdfunding websites provide tangible rewards. Why doesn't Experiment provide tangible rewards?

We believe the real value of research is in the process. At Experiment, we think that donors support research so they can see it move forward. Researchers provide updates, showing the donors exactly where their money goes.

Is Experiment microfinance or crowdfunding?

Experiment is a donation based crowdfunding platform for research scientists.

Is there institutional overhead included?

Because we process the funds as gifts to research institutions, donations are not subjected to university overhead. Click here for more information about working with your university.

The only fee is the 8% Experiment platform fee if your project is sucessful.

Is Experiment a non-profit or for-profit organization?

Experiment is a mission-driven for-profit company. We are dedicated to enabling research, and we are committed to providing a platform where science can be shared openly. Because of this social mission, we feel that in order deliver the maximum benefit to as many researchers as possible, the rigorous sustainability of a for-profit company helps us to achieve these goals.

I want some stickers!

Send us an email with your mailing address!

For Researchers

I am a researcher! Can I use Experiment?

Yes! We encourage any researcher within the U.S. to get started, simply by creating a new project.

Is there a cost to start a project?

Launching a research project on Experiment is completely free. We take an 8% transaction fee only if the project reaches or surpasses its funding goal. If your project does not meet its goal, we don't charge you or your donors.

What are your evaluation criteria for potential projects?

The Experiment team takes on a large task in reviewing each and every project proposal on the site. We currently review projects based on three core criteria:

1. The researcher's identity is verified. Is the researcher trusted and legitimate?
2. The projects seeks to answer a scientific question. Is there a research question that is driving the project?
3. The researcher is capable of meeting the project goals. Does the researcher have the right resources to meet the scientific challenge? Are the goals realistic enough to be achievable?

As a project creator on Experiment, your submitted project proposal must sufficiently meet our above criteria. If you have any questions or concerns about your project proposal, contact us.

How can I make my project better for review?

The best way to prepare your campaign is to look at the great many examples of past successful projects on Experiment. The best projects are ones that can authentically tell the story behind the project. What is the potential impact of the results? Why now? Why you?

We review a lot of projects. Because of this, we ask that your submitted project is clearly and concisely described, while also being engaging. We understand this can be a difficult process, which is why we excercise editorial authority when we feel it can help bring the story out of a great project.

The best way to guarantee that your project will be approved is to complete all of the required fields in the project creation platform. We strongly believe that with enough attention and time, any project can be crafted to connect with the right audience: your future backers!

How much money can I try to raise?

We ask that you set a goal for the amount needed to make the project methods feasible. Ideally, your goals will be structured in a way that will allow you to make tangible progress using your budget. To see what researchers typically raise money for, take a look at our Start Guide.

Who can fund my project?

Anyone from anywhere in the world can contribute! All they need is a valid credit or debit card.

Who normally funds projects on Experiment?

Experiment is a platform for leveraging existing relationships and building new communities. Donors come from backgrounds as varied as the projects they support. The researcher's professional and personal networks play a large role in getting the project off the ground. After that, identifying and engaging a project’s target audience is critical. Whether this is through social media, blogging, or the press, there are countless ways to reach out to donors. Check out some successful projects and how they attracted donors in our http://blog.experiment.com.

Does Experiment own any of the intellectual property?

We have a hands-off policy regarding intellectual property of the projects on Experiment. Researchers keep 100% ownership of the project and its outcomes. If you work for a university or institution, the intellectual property you generate follows your institution’s standard procedure.

What if I do not want to reveal too much information through updates for fear of being scooped? How does public disclosure work?

While we do encourage active engagement with your donors through updates, we recognize that a project on Experiment could yield significant data or results that may be intended for publishing or otherwise considered intellectual property of your institution, research group, or organization.

Experiment is not responsible for the material you choose to disclose. If you decide to share data, images, videos, or other findings intended for publishing, please be aware of the disclosure rules at your institution. For now, we advise that you speak with your university technology transfer unit on issues which may be liable for public disclosure. Additionally, you may want to check with the journal or organization you plan to publish with so that the data can remain publishable.

We are currently working to set up a public disclosure system which will assist this process in the future.

What happens if my project doesn't succeed?

If the project does not meet the funding goal, then the project campaign ends and can no longer accept pledges.

Can I delete my project?

Projects can not be deleted. When the campaign ends, it will no longer be discoverable by common search engines, but the URL will still exist.

Am I obligated to provide updates to backers?

There’s no better way to reward donors than to show them the scientific progress they helped fund. Engaging your donors will help promote interest in your field and solidify a donor-base for future projects. That said, your level of disclosure is entirely up to you.

Can I embed a widget on my lab homepage so that people can fund directly?

We are currently developing this feature and hope to have it available soon! For now, you can direct people to your project page by sharing a link to it.

Who is your payment processor?

We use Balanced Payments as our processor for all transactions. They are fully PCI compliant, and full credit card information is never stored on our servers.

Do you allow international researchers?

At this time, we are only hosting projects based in the United States. However, we plan to be available internationally soon. In preparation, we're piloting select projects in Canada, Australia, and the UK. If you're a researcher based in one of these countries, we encourage you to submit this short questionaire to see if you're eligible.

If you're based elsewhere, we can let you know when Experiment is available in your country. Just let us know how to reach you here.

Do you allow private companies to launch campaigns?

If the proposed project idea is still fundamental research, then yes. We currently do not allow market or product based research for companies unless they can prove an intent to openly publish their results with the project backers.

Do I have to be a student or professor at a university?

No, we love to host projects from people outside of research institutions.

I have a citizen science project, can I use Experiment?

We’re always open to new ideas. Feel free to start a project and we’ll get in touch with you.

What is the Open Access badge?

Projects with the Open Access badge mean that the researcher pledges to release all results of the project in an openly accessible way. Whether it's lab notes posted on Experiment or a final peer-reviewed article published in an open access journal, we encourage all researchers to do so. Click here to learn more about why Open Access is important.

What is the Peer Reviewed badge?

Projects with the Peer Reviewed badge mean that the project has been evaluated and approved by a committee of trusted scientific peers. Currently, only projects from official institutional partners may have a Peer Reviewed badge. If you would like to learn more about having your project peer reviewed, click here to visit our Institutions page.

What is the Tax Receipt badge?

Any pledges made towards projects with the Tax Receipt badge are considered tax deductible. Currently, only projects from official institutional partners may have the Tax Receipt badge.

Why Open Access?

Open access is a recent movement started by scientists and researchers with the goal of making scientifc results free, immediate, and available to the public. Open access truly expands shared knowledge across scientific fields — it is the best path for accelerating multi-disciplinary breakthroughs in research.

For Donors

What do I get for funding a project?

We think the best reward for a donor is seeing the research they care about move forward. Our goal is to unlock and share the research process. By funding a research project on Experiment, you’ll have exclusive access to the images, videos, notes, and data shared along the way.

Are the donations tax-deductible?

Donations are tax-deductible for certain Experiment projects. To find out if a project you're interested in funding is eligible, please send an email to contact@experiment.com.

Can I get a refund?

No, sorry. All payments that go through once a project has met its goal and deadline will be final.

Can my contribution be anonymous?

We are currently working on enabling anonymous contributions to projects.

Do you provide subscription based funding?

We are currently working on making this happen.

Is my credit card information stored?

We never store your credit card information on our servers. All card information is properly encrypted and processed by our secure payment service provider. This service also allows for one-click project backing after your first donation.

I forgot my password

That's okay! You can go here to reset it.

For Institutions

How can I sign up my institution?

Click here to learn more.

Is my institution allowed to charge overhead?

We do not allow overhead to be taken from project funds. We require that funds are allocated to the researcher in their entirety.

How can I contact you?

Our team at Experiment would love to hear from you! You can email us directly at contact@experiment.com. We like to write long-winded personal emails, and sometimes we attach pictures of cats and Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Security

At Experiment we strive to make sure our community is secure.
If you would like to notify the team about any security issues, please contact us at contact@experiment.com. We reward handsomely in T-shirts and stickers.