No, not an online dating service … ResearchMatch is an NCRR-funded secure registry that allows individuals to sign up to receive alerts about clinical research in which they might be interested and for which they might be eligible — and researchers to sign up to find potentially eligible participants for their studies.
After an individual has self-registered to become a volunteer, ResearchMatch’s security features ensure that personal information is protected until volunteers authorize the release of their contact information to a specific study that may be of interest to them. Volunteers are notified electronically when they are a possible match and then make the decision regarding the release of their contact information. It also will promote choice as there are no obligations on the volunteer to participate in studies.
According to the ResearchMatch.org participant FAQ, “[approved] researchers will not be given access to begin looking for potential study Volunteers through ResearchMatch until approximately January 2010.” As further explained by the researcher FAQ:
ResearchMatch is a not-for-profit activity and is free for any participating site & their researchers. … Researchers at participating sites will be given access to register through the ResearchMatch system. Upon registration, researchers may request either feasibility or recruitment access … your access to recruit via ResearchMatch will last only as long as your IRB-study approval.
After you have been granted recruitment access, you will be able to search for appropriate matches amongst the non-identifiable ResearchMatch Volunteer profiles in the system. You will enter your study’s criteria in the ResearchMatch Search Builder which will yield a list of these potential matches. You will send out IRB-approved content in your initial recruitment message to these potential matches through ResearchMatch. The secure ResearchMatch clearinghouse will route your message to each of these potential matches and they will have the option of replying yes, no, or no response. Your study’s home page will feature all those Volunteers who say yes and show aggregate figures/charts demonstrating the response rate to your initial recruitment message. Once the Volunteer has authorized ResearchMatch to release their contact information to you, you will be responsible for managing this contact information as called for by your IRB-study protocol.
Vanderbilt, which maintains and whose IRB oversees ResearchMatch.org, also has its own DNA bank called BioVu, which includes leftover blood from all patients seeking treatment unless they opt out when signing the the Vanderbilt Consent for Treatment and Agreement to Pay form.