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Options for paying subject participants


Payment to research participants may be made as an incentive to participate. Payment should not be considered as a benefit of the study, but rather as compensation for volunteering of time. The remuneration should not be so substantial that a potential participant feels s/he must participate in the study. All participants must be provided equal payment and/or equal opportunity for rewards. Recruitment publicity may mention but not emphasize the payment. The IRB must determine whether the nature, amount and method of payment are appropriate and do not constitute undue inducement for participation. There is more information about paying participants on the IRB website. If payments exceed $600 per calendar year the IRB requires the Research Foundation of SUNY report these payments annually to the IRS. Identifying information (name, address and social security number) must be reported by law. 

The consent form must include the following:

  • Clear description of cash or check payments in dollar amounts
  • Clear description the method of payment and/or pro-rating of payment for certain portions of research participation
  • If over $600 per calendar year is possible, include the following statement: "By accepting payment for participating in this research, certain identifying information about you may be made available to professional auditors to satisfy federal and state reporting requirements, but confidentiality will be preserved. Please note that if you earn over $600 per calendar year as a research subject, these earnings will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service."

The attached article is reprinted with permission from the IRB Advisor Newsletter, September 2008 edition. It contains options for paying participants in research studies. This article provides a variety of options for consideration based upon the unique needs of your research. Please note that the College at Brockport IRB does not offer any recommendation to researchers regarding this issue. 

Options for paying subject participants

Questions? Please contact Julie Wilkens at (585) 395-2779 or
You may also contact Kim Remley at (585) 395-2523 or

Last Updated 2/12/15