SONA Rules

Last modified by Kerwin Olfers on 2021/11/30 11:03

Below you will find the most important rules for using SONA. Please read these carefully before starting to use SONA as a researcher. For any questions, check the F.A.Q. or contact


  • Only students and staff of Psychology or Education and Child studies at Leiden University are eligible for researcher accounts on SONA.
  • In order to obtain a researcher account an e-mail can be send to, include at least your: position (e.g. master student, PhD candidate, Associate Professor), student number (if applicable) or ULCN name and university email address.
  • Staff members with at least a finished PhD are eligible to receive a principal investigator account.
  • We strongly urge to request only one account per Bachelor Thesis group, this will be registered on the name and e-mail address of one of the members. This member than should function as a group representative. The entire group should share this account and the representative has to make sure that important information is shared among all members.
  • For all SONA researcher accounts only e-mail addresses issued by Leiden University can be used.

Study Rules

Study Description

  • The list of studies will be displayed to participants in a randomized order, starting your title with certain letters or symbol does not make your study appear on top of the list.
  • It is not allowed to use special signs or numbers at the beginning of the title of your study
  • It is not allowed to use HTML in the title of your study
  • Extreme use of exclamation marks is not allowed in the description of your study.
  • Be sure to always note all eligibility requirements upon creating the study. Also specify disqualifiers and restrictions if necessary under the corresponding subheadings.
  • Make sure the e-mail address of you and the principal investigator are up to date in order to facilitate students reaching out to you.

Code Ethical Commission

  • Always fill in the Research Ethics Committee Approval Code when creating a study, without this code your study should not be activated.
  • The expiration date should be the expected end date of the study, as mentioned in the Ethics approval submission. If needed, please contact to request study extensions.
  • The administrator will enforce this rule by making the study inactive when the approval code is missing. This disables the possibility to recruit participants.

Rewards & Compensation

For Credits

  • Researchers can reward participants with either money or credits for the course Academic Skills. For providing rewards to participants the following rules apply:
    • The maximum amount of credits per experiment is 8. Studies offering more credits will be disabled until explicit permission is obtained from the Ethics committee.
    • 15 minutes of participation equals .5 course credit

For Money

  • Monetary payments will take place outside of SONA. Therefore, the researcher should always choose for the option ‘credits’ when creating a study, even if there will be monetary rewards. If this option is not chosen, it will be impossible to grant students credits.
  • The maximum monetary reward is €3.50 for half an hour and €6.50 per hour; For more taxing experiments such as psychophysiological studies or experiments with participants that are unusually harder to recruit is €7.50.

Incomplete Participation

  • Whether or not (partial) compensation is awarded in case of incomplete participation, especially relevant for multi-session studies, should be explicitly mentioned in the study description ánd in the information letter.

No-show Penalty

  • If participants have indicated that they want to earn course credit with an experiment but do not show up for the experiment, researchers have the right to sanction the student. However, this only applies for Psychology students. The following rules apply to penalties:
    • Students should have received a personal (e-mailed) reminder from the researcher, not later than 48 hours before the planned test session.
    • In this invitation, the consequences of not showing up are mentioned and it is specified where cancellations should be sent.
    • The student participant has failed to cancel the meeting in the required form, that is, as an e-mail notification to the experimenter not later than 24 hours before the planned test session.
    • The penalty is registered as a negative earned credit equal to the amount of credits to be earned, with a maximum of 3 negative credits.
    • The penalty system is there primarily to stimulate students to adhere to their appointments. If a student has a valid and convincing excuse, it is only demotivating if you nonetheless impose a sanction. The application of penalties is under responsibility of staff members.
    • It is not possible to apply penalties when a monetary reward was chosen


  • SONA works with timeslots in which participants can enroll/can be enrolled it is important to follow the following rules;
    • Grant participants their credits as soon as possible after participation, this avoids granting being forgotten by researchers.
    • Register a student as participated (or no-show) as soon as possible to speed up the timeslot completion process.
    • To maintain the earlier mentioned rules, it is advised to make use of the computers in the laboratory to quickly grant credits to participants.
  • When participants are enrolled in a timeslot and they have chosen to receive a monetary reward it is mandatory to close the timeslot as follows:
    • Tick the participant as participated.
    • Choose to grant 0 credits.
    • Note in the comments that a monetary reward was given.


  • It is not allowed to include screening questions of SONA itself, therefore the questionnaire option in SONA is disabled. Criteria for participation should instead be mentioned in the relevant field of the study information.


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