Columbia University (CU) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) are now participating in ResearchMatch – a free national research participant registry. The purpose of the system, which was created and is managed by Vanderbilt University, is to match individuals who are willing to participate in research with researchers who need volunteers for their studies.

Find out more about ResearchMatch.

ResearchMatch works through the following process:

Step 1:

Potential volunteers (or their parent/guardian/caretaker) complete a short registration form that asks questions about who they are along with optional health questions.

Step 2:

Approved researchers search de-identified volunteer data to find possible matches for their studies. If a match is found, the researcher then sends a message about the study, through ResearchMatch, to these possible matches. At this point, the identity of the potential subjects is still not known to the researchers, due to protections that are built into the system.

Step 3:

Volunteers receive the researcher’s message by email. After reading the study information, the volunteer can choose whether the researcher can have their contact information. A yes response will release the volunteer’s contact information to the researcher so they may contact him/her directly with more information.  A no response will keep the volunteer’s contact information hidden.  The volunteer is never obligated to participate in a study even if s/he responds yes through ResearchMatch.

Step 4:

The researcher may then directly contact those volunteers who have indicated that they want to learn more about the study, and the volunteer can decide whether or not to participate in the study after receiving further information.


Using ResearchMatch for Participant Recruitment
To register as a researcher, an account must be created.  There are two access levels: feasibility and recruitment. Feasibility access permits the researcher to view de-identified aggregate data about the registry population for grant writing purposes or hypothesis generation, while recruitment access enables the researcher to actively recruit volunteers after entering a description of the study in ResearchMatch and posting it. It is recommended that researchers begin the registration process by selecting feasibility access. Studies can be added for recruitment at any time by registered researchers.

Feasibility Access
To register in ResearchMatch for feasibility access, a researcher must:
  • Be affiliated with a participating institution in the ResearchMatch Network.
  • Researchers whose studies are usually approved by the CU Institutional Review Board (IRB) should select “Columbia University” as their institution.
  • Researchers whose studies are usually approved by the NYSPI IRB should select “New York State Psychiatric Institute” as their institution.
  • Provide their institutional contact information (e.g. using their cumc.columbia.edu or nyspi.columbia.edu email address).
  • Create a ResearchMatch username and password.

Recruitment Access
To register a study for ResearchMatch recruitment access, a researcher must:
  • Have an active research study that has been approved by the applicable IRB (either CU or NYSPI).
  • Use of ResearchMatch should be described in the IRB application among recruitment procedures.
  • Be affiliated with a participating institution:
  • If the study was approved by the CU IRB, “Columbia University” should be selected as the institution.
  • If the study was approved by the NYSPI IRB, “New York State Psychiatric Institute” should be selected as the institution.
  • Be the Principal Investigator (PI) or an individual who is authorized to recruit for an IRB-approved study on behalf of the study PI at a participating institution.
  • If the person who is creating the registration is not the PI, s/he must provide the PI’s contact name, email, and phone number.
  • Provide an electronic copy of the current IRB letter of approval citing that the study is active and approved by the IRB.
  • This document must include a valid IRB expiration date.
  • If the study has been determined to be exempt, documentation of the exemption determination must be provided.

If the researcher does not have this information but wishes to register, they should proceed with requesting feasibility access. They may add a study at any time after being logged in as a registered ResearchMatch researcher.

Recruitment access in ResearchMatch expires when the IRB approval for the study expires.  If continuing review of the study has been approved by the IRB, documentation of the approval may be uploaded into ResearchMatch which will extend the recruitment access.


To begin the registration process, fill out the Researcher Interest Form today.




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