Not all paid survey panels were made to mediate between corporations and consumers. Some of them, though comparatively few, have a different mission. For example, to provide feedback from scientists and medics to scientific and medical corporations. While this fact should vouch for those panels’ trustworthiness and legitimacy, it unfortunately means that not everyone can become a member.
Simply put, the experience and opinions of most people are not relevant here. So, it’s only natural to close the door and not let everyone in.
Just in case there are medics or scientists among our readership, I decided to review this platform – as much as it is possible without gaining an inner view, since I can’t be a member. Instead, I had to comb through various sources, forums, and just about any online nook where the panel is mentioned, so that I could give you an account of pros and cons.
Overview – Who Are They?
You won’t be able to learn much about them on the website alone. It only says that they have been in the field since 1997 – a considerable experience. They are an international organization that is focused on “shaping the future of scientific technology”. Behind them stands BioInformatics LLC, a market research company specialized in working with pharmaceutical and life science clients.
To this date, the panel has recruited over 80 thousand scientific and medical experts and professionals. The community includes professionals from many areas, including applied science, biochemistry, cancer biology, chemistry, environmental science, etc. Check out the full list of fields here.
If you happen to belong to any of these professions, your membership can also get you the chance to interact with your peers and colleagues on the forum.
How Does It Work?
When I said that they won’t let everyone in, here’s what I meant exactly.
Anyone can register for a free account, but not everyone can avail themselves of the rewards program. So, they won’t stop you from joining. But before approving your account, they will have you answer questionnaires and review your professional qualifications. If they say yes, you will gain access to their surveys and other activities.
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And you won’t be able to game the system, so don’t even try it. The contact form will ask for your work email to verify your credentials. So, free email providers such as Gmail will be discarded immediately. Also, you will need to enter your NPI number, which is a unique identification number for healthcare providers. No shortcuts here! Once they approve your qualifications, they will send you a password that you can use to log into the rewards program.
According to the Support section on their website, there are four types of activities that will get you rewards:
- Focus groups
- Individual consultations
- Lab products testing
Therefore, it would be kind of a lousy guesswork to call this platform “a survey panel”, when surveys are the rarest type of activity.
But what exactly are the rewards?
Don’t frown when I tell you that you aren’t in for cash. Instead, you will get something they call “ViewPoints”. Bag a certain number of those and you’ll be able to redeem them for a range of items from their catalog.
What kind of items, you may wonder? Sadly, there’s no way to know that. If you aren’t very fond of merchandize, you can also exchange your points for gift cards, travel discounts, or donate them to a charity of your choosing.
Can I Trust Them With My Information?
As a scientist, you have every right to critically approach this panel (as well as any other). And of course, nobody can tell you with absolute certainty that your information won’t be abused.
But for what it’s worth, they claim that they will never release any info without your consent, or try to sell you anything. I personally believe them. If they ever did it, they would jeopardize the whole system. Which, unlike most others, isn’t constituted of people who have (almost) nothing to lose.
- If you are a science or medical expert, this can be a nice and easy way to earn rewards. I couldn’t find the exact info on how nice these rewards are, but it won’t hurt to get them. After all, these are easy activities that shouldn’t take up much of your time.
- You get to influence the future technology in your field of expertise. I’m putting this pro to the second place, but it could easily be the most important reason to join.
- There are various activities. Surveys can easily become boring when they are the only thing you can do. Luckily, you can here participate focus groups, consultations, product testing too. I’m not exactly competent to know if they are interesting or fun, but it’s always good to have a choice. Plus, I’d wager that it’s fun to test new products in a lab.
- It’s almost certain that the panel is legit. You know how things are with survey panels. We test and we try to assess their legitimacy, but we can never be 100% sure. However, with such specialized panels that only deal with a certain group of people, things look a bit better.
- They are only open to scientists and medical professionals. I won’t question their right to choose whatever participants they need, but I still have to single this out as a con, from a user’s perspective. Some other medical panels such as MedPanel or MedSurvey will welcome patients as well. (And who isn’t a patient?) No such policy here, it seems.
- No cash! As alluring as gift cards or merchandize are, there is nothing quite like cash. At least in my book.
Final Thoughts – Is Science Advisory Board a Good Way to Earn Rewards?
My task was pretty simple this time, and here is what I think. If you happen to belong to one of these professions, feel free to join the panel. It will cost you nothing, and you can always cancel your membership if you get bored.
However, if you enjoy doing surveys in return for a little bit of something, it might be a decent panel for you. Even if the opportunities are scarce (which they often are), you can combine this with other similar panels, and make for some nice rewards all year round.