The Open Humans Project Approval Process

Open Humans projects are diverse: they may be managed by individuals, research teams, organizations, and more. With the exception of projects managed by Open Humans Foundation directly, projects must apply for review to be “approved” on the site. This removes a user limit cap & lists it publicly on Open Humans. Projects are approved by the Open Humans community following a discussion in our Discourse .

How it works

  1. A project requests approval, and a new topic is created in Project Reviews.
  2. To contribute to a review, reply to a topic with a vote and/or a comment.
  3. Once enough feedback occurs, a decision will be made and the topic will be closed.

Project leads can create this topic on their own or ask the Open Humans team to help creating the topic by emailing with the subject "Request for project approval". Please include a copy of your IRB approval documentation if you are requesting approval for a Study.

Projects that are already approved may undergo a re-review at any time (at the request of Open Humans Foundation, the project owner, or a member of the community).


Please vote Approve to support approval, or Deny to deny approval. Please give reasons, especially when projects have issues that they might address and/or others should be aware of.

Your vote may change if a project modifies itself in response to concerns that are raised. If you change your vote, please edit to add the new vote, and retain the old vote with “strikethrough” (<s></s> HTML tags).

Similar to Wikipedia’s approach, the final decision will not necessarily be a strict tally of votes, but should reflect a consensus formed by the discussion process.

Guidelines for reviewers

The primary question to answer is this: "Should this project be visible and available for all Open Humans members to join?"

The above question is the primary question to consider when reviewing. Answering it may include considering the following:

  • Is this project following Project Guidelines?
  • Is this project communicating clearly about…
    • who manages it?
    • what members will be asked to do?
    • what is in the data it has access to?
    • security, privacy, and data management?
  • Are the claims made by this project realistic? Are its communications misleading or untruthful?
  • Would a member’s decision to join be sufficiently informed?

While following Project Guidelines is expected of all projects, the review process is not necessarily limited to this. New situations may arise that lead the community to reconsider the guidelines themselves.

Disabled public sharing

From time to time it is determined that private data may be too sensitive to be made publicly available. These determinations are made by Open Humans staff on a case by case basis.