CESS Mission Statement

CESS prides itself on being an institution that does its best to facilitate research for social scientists around the globe. We offer assistance in many forms:

  • Feedback on experimental designs in our Colloquium series which is open to all levels of experimental researchers.
    • This is strongly recommended for students and researchers running their first few experiments.
    • If you are interested in presenting in the colloquium series, please contact cess@nuffield.ox.ac.uk.
  • Formal ethics review and feedback on ethicality of design by CESS’s independent Ethics Review Board.
  • Access to unique subject pools.
    • Diverse laboratory and virtual laboratory subject pools.
    • Existing online subject pools that spans multiple countries.
    • Facebook recruitment assistance to recruit representative samples in researcher’s requested location.
  • Assistance with programming of experimental protocol.
  • Assistance with rollout of study and payment of subjects.
If you are interested in requesting an informal quote from CESS for running an experiment, please fill out our intake form through the button on the bottom of this page. We strongly encourage researchers to review our requirements for collaborating with CESS prior to submitting.

Requirements to Run Experiments at CESS

  • All research conducted through CESS must obtain approval from CESS’s independent ethics review board (more information about this can be found here).
    • Ethics approval is for the exact materials submitted to reviewers. Any changes of any kind must obtain additional approval from the CESS ethics review board.
  • Researchers must properly compensate all subjects for their time.
  • Researchers cannot deceive CESS subjects. This means that if a researcher makes a promise to a subject as part of their study, they must keep it.
  • Researchers must agree to allow CESS to control the data generating process and to maintain the original data. CESS provides researchers with an anonymized copy of the data (unless personal data is essential to the research). All researchers are expected to adequately protect all data generated from CESS experiments.
  • Researchers must obtain informed consent from all subjects prior to allowing them to participate in their study.
  • All researchers must provide evidence of prior ethics training for human subjects research.
  • CESS reserves the right to refuse to run any study. However, in this case unspent funds made to CESS will be returned.


Although the use of deception is permitted in other labs, CESS does not allow the use of deception. Deception may include but is not limited to:

  1. Telling subjects anything that is false.
  2. Purposefully providing misleading information.
  3. Omission of pertinent information that prevents subjects form making informed decisions.
  4. Improperly consenting subjects by not properly informing them of all aspects of the study prior to obtaining their agreement to participate.

Data Integrity

All experimental data that is generated by CESS is subject to careful oversight by CESS managers– this includes lab, virtual lab, online, lab-in-the-field, and field data.

We guarantee the authenticity and integrity of any data results from experiments conducted at CESS facilities.

Our data oversight policy is the following:

  • All researchers must provide working experimental protocol prior to any subjects being recruited for sessions (unless the researcher has asked CESS for programming assistance). All programs are additionally subject to a test by CESS and CESS reserves the right to require edits afterwards.
  • Results from experiments are initially compiled on CESS’s password protected servers that are only accessible by CESS members and responsible members of the University of Oxford.
  • Anonymized copies of the data are made available to the Primary Investigator(s).
    • In the case where data cannot be fully anonymized, Primary Investigators additionally agree to employ additional appropriate data protection procedures as signified by a signed CESS agreement.
  • Experimental protocol, anonymized data, consent forms, and receipts are stored at CESS and are only accessible by key members of CESS and responsible members of the University of Oxford. CESS maintains this data for purposes of data authentication or, if necessary, to release to the extent required by law.

CESS recommends that all PIs make their anonymized data available upon publication or within 36 months, whichever occurs first.

CESS maintains oversight over the data generation process for all experiments and reserves the right to require additional data protection or adjustments to processes to adequately protect subjects’ data. Additional information about CESS’s data protection policies can be found here.

All subject must be properly consented before agreeing to participate in an experiment. This means that they must be fully aware of what their participation entails. Proper informed consent includes but is not limited to:

  • Explaining who is conducting the research and it’s general purpose.
  • The amount of time that the subject can expect to spend in the lab.
  • The stimuli and/or questions that the subject can expect to experience.
  • The expected risks and benefits from participating in the study.
  • How much the subject can expect to earn from participating.
  • The subject’s right to withdraw from the study at any time without providing a reason without penalty.
  • How subject’s data will be used and protected.
  • Contact information for the primary investigator and the governing review board that the subject can contact for additional information or to report any issues they experienced during the course of the study.

Consent form examples

CESS Acknowledgement

In addition to adhering to the ethical and procedural guidelines, CESS requests that all papers based on projects run in any affiliated CESS lab or using CESS subject pools include the following text:

“This research was fully or partly conducted through the Nuffield College Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS). The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of CESS in conducting their research.”