Purpose: The establishment of databases for research in human microbiomics is dependent on the recruitment of sufficient numbers and diversity of participants. Factors that support or impede participant recruitment in studies of this type have not yet been studied.
Methods: We report the results of a survey aimed at establishing the motivations of participants in the British Gut Project, a research project that relies on volunteers to provide samples and to help fund the project.
Results: The two most frequently reported motivations for participation were altruism and solidarity. Low education levels appeared to be a recruitment obstacle. More than half of our 151 respondents said they would participate in further citizen-science projects; 38% said they would not participate in a similar project if it was for-profit or in a project that did not release data sets in repositories accessible to scientists (30%).
Conclusions: The desire to take part in research was reported as a key motivation for participation in the British Gut Project (BGP). Such prosocial motivations can be mobilized for the establishment of large data sets for research.