Participant fraud

Sharing is Caring

How it takes a collaborative approach to solve research participant fraud - and what Ayda is doing about it.

There are lots of sayings about problem solving as a collaborative exercise – two heads are better than one, a problem shared is a problem halved… They may be trite but they’re true, particularly when the problem you want to solve is a shared problem.

High rates of participant fraud affect market researchers across all forms of data collection and methodology. There are already some collaborative efforts to tackle it at a global industry level – particularly by creating much-needed guidance and best practices. This is fantastic, but building best practices rightly takes time – and we also need tools that will help us to take more immediate action now. 


Why aren’t we sharing data already?

The research community is full of smart people who take incredible pride in their work and, like them, we want to see fraud stamped out. And we feel fortunate to be working on this topic alongside teams of incredibly talented people from around the world as part of the MRS’ Global Data Quality initiative. But when it really comes down to it, sharing data would be the most immediately effective way to identify and solve for fraud. And that’s not something anyone’s prepared to do.

The biggest barrier is fear – of giving way commercially sensitive info and advantages, and of potential failures of legal and regulatory compliance that damage both reputations and the bottom line. It’s understandable – but it’s holding everyone back

In an ideal world, we’d discover a magical independent 'clearinghouse’ through which all participant data would pass, anonymised and aggregated, giving a 360° view of every individual without exposing commercially sensitive data.


A real-world solution for shared intelligence to stamp out fraud

In the real world, researchers now have an opportunity to benefit from shared intelligence via Ayda Trust. We passionately believe that sharing data in a consensual, anonymised, aggregated, and compliant way is critical to identifying and tackling fraud.

And as you may have read in Research Live or Insight Platforms' Research Tools Radar, we feel so strongly about this that we’ve put our money where our mouth is.

We’re not building a participant clearinghouse – we want to take action now. Instead, we’ve chosen to focus on a subset of participant data that is already generated in our ResOps platform, and that we believe delivers clear signals around trustworthiness and fraudulent behaviour.

Shared intelligence is intrinsic to our approach. The more data we have about each participant, the clearer patterns of behaviour become. We already know that many participants take part in studies for multiple research organisations – and it’s reasonable to suggest that professional and fraudulent participants probably do this more than average. So it makes sense to aggregate participant data (in an anonymised way) to gain a clearer picture.


A brave new world

Suspect behaviour with one organisation might stop a single researcher or whole team from re-engaging. But there wasn't any way to share that information with industry colleagues appropriately.

Ayda Trust changed that. By placing shared intelligence at the heart of what we’re doing, every participant interaction within our platform adds valuable data that benefits everyone who works with these participants.

It's an exciting prospect – imagine being able to filter potential participants based on how trustworthy they are, knowing that that assessment was based on more than their participation in a single project with your organisation. Or imagine uploading a new participant you’ve recruited and discovering that they exhibit fraudulent behaviours before you even interact with them.

At Ayda, we’re excited to see the more immediate impact on our customers’ projects. But we’re most excited to see the impact on the industry as a whole: to see researchers take simple but powerful steps towards stamping out fraud not just in their own space, but industry-wide.


Discover what the research industry says about Ayda Trust

"Ayda launches anti-fraud tool" - Research Live

"Ayda Trust, a solution to combat fraud" - Insights Platforms


Ready to discover how Ayda Trust protects against participant fraud? Book a discovery call with our team to learn more!

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