Research Collaborations 

Crisis Text Line empowers journalists, researchers, school administrators, and anyone seeking to understand the crises in their community. We’ve collected one of the largest health data sets in the world and made it available to the public. See below to learn about our research collaborations.

Research Collaboration Program

To date, Crisis Text Line has supported more than 5 million conversations. We share data to support smarter research, policy, and community organizing. Research Collaborators are granted access to a scrubbed and anonymized version of this dataset.

In addition to the message content, Crisis Text Line has four main sources of data: (1) metadata, including over 200 variables, and content automatically collected from conversations, (2) Crisis Counselor surveys, (3) texter surveys, and (4) algorithm-derived data.

What are the goals of the Research Collaborators program?

  • Access. To open the door for world-class machine learning / artificial intelligence researchers to work with one of the country’s most important data sets.
  • Dissemination. To create a consistent flow of innovative and insightful media stories to share with community groups and policy makers.
  • Implementation. To create data science products that are implemented by Crisis Text Line and community groups, and improve the crisis space as a whole. 

What outputs are expected from Collaborators? 

  • Research papers and long-form journalism. We expect these will come after the research is complete. Because Crisis Text Line’s data is so sensitive, developing the paper will be a collaborative effort between the Research Collaborator and Crisis Text Line staff. 
  • Augmentation products. Examples of products include text classifiers that can automatically identify certain issues, like suicidality, or a recommendation engine that could automatically recommend the best resource for a high school student in need of a methadone clinic in Sacramento. These will improve Crisis Text Line’s service. We’ll also share products with other non-profits for free, to raise the crisis space as a whole. (Crisis Text Line has already proven this model twice, having incorporated products built by visiting researchers from Palantir and Pivotal Labs.)
  • Blog posts. One Crisis Text Line Communications Team staff member will dedicate time to working with Research Collaborators to identify story ideas. These posts won’t require full accuracy; they’ll be written from the perspective of imperfect results in motion. The goal is to create a more consistent flow of meaningful stories around crisis in the media.

To be a Research Collaborator, you must meet the following key requirements:

  • Be affiliated with an academic or research institution. This includes obtaining the approval of an IRB, having a Principal Investigator that’s a full-time employee of the institution, and the written approval of your institution’s Office of Research or equivalent office.
  • Work from our NYC offices. We provide our Research Collaborators (one researcher per team) with stipends to cover room, board, and travel to NYC. (Note: We offer remote, VPN access on a case by case basis due to COVID-19)
  • Expect to spend 3+ months working with our data. Expect to spend half or more of that time on-site in NYC. Time spent on-site does not need to be continuous, but it will be frequent.
  • Have the technical expertise to work with massive data sets.
  • Be willing to complete our Crisis Counselor training to better understand our data.
  • Be a U.S. or Canadian citizen. We need this for background checks.

Published Research

To see the range of projects we’ve completed, see the list of published papers from research collaborations using Crisis Text Line data below.

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