Felix Henninger, Yury Shevchenko, Ulf K. Mertens, Pascal J. Kieslich, Benjamin E. Hilbig
lab.js: A free, open, online study builder

Behavior Research Methods, 2022: 54, Heft 2, S. 556–573
ISSN: 1554-351X (print), 1554-3528 (online)

Web-based data collection is increasingly popular in both experimental and survey-based research because it is flexible, efficient and location-independent. While dedicated software for laboratory-based experimentation and online surveys is commonplace, researchers looking to implement experiments in the browser have, heretofore, often had to manually construct their studies’ content and logic using code. We introduce lab.js, a free, open-source experiment builder that makes it easy to build studies for both online and in-laboratory data collection. Through its visual interface, stimuli can be designed and combined into a study without programming, though studies’ appearance and behavior can be fully customized using html, CSS and JavaScript code if required. Presentation and response times are kept and measured with high accuracy and precision heretofore unmatched in browser-based studies. Experiments constructed with lab.js can be run directly on a local computer and published online with ease, with direct deployment to cloud hosting, export to web servers, and integration with popular data collection platforms. Studies can also be shared in an editable format, archived, re-used and adapted, enabling effortless, transparent replications, and thus facilitating open, cumulative science. The software is provided free of charge under an open-source license; further information, code and extensive documentation are available from https://lab.js.org.