GSoC 2021 Project Idea 24.1: LAB.JS Collecting Behavioral and Neuroscientific Data with Shiny (in R) and lab.js

lab.js is an open-source JavaScript library and GUI for building experiments in the neuro- and behavioral sciences ( Researchers worldwide use it to construct and run experiments online and in the laboratory, as well as for teaching research methods and experimental design.

In this project, we would like to extend the capabilities for data collection to the Shiny framework for web applications in R (, which is a great, open-source library for building interactive, data-driven websites as well as collecting data, for example via questionnaires. Shiny also makes it easy for researchers to deploy websites on their own infrastructure as well as commercial providers such as ( The goal we’d like to achieve with you will be to enable running behavioral experiments, and to collect data, via lab.js and Shiny.

Your task (as we envision it) will be to build a prototype lab.js study that runs via Shiny, document how it works, and work with us to automate the process of generating and deploying more studies like it. The end goal will be to provide a one-click study export to Shiny, similar to the deployment options that lab.js provides already (Deploy studies online — lab.js 20.1.1 documentation). Ideally, you’re broadly familiar with R, have some interest or experience in web development (via Shiny), and are prepared to pick up some JavaScript to interact with lab.js. Of course, we would be thrilled to introduce you to the project, and support you in your work.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch – we would be glad to answer any questions you have, and help sketch out a formal proposal. You’re warmly invited to say hello in our community (lab.js · Support) – we’d love to hear from you!

Lead mentor: Felix Henninger @felixhenninger (University of Mannheim / Helmholtz AI / LMU Munich)

Backup/Co-mentor: Yury Shevchenko (iScience group, University of Konstanz)

Skills: Intermediate R, basic familiarity with web development in JavaScript, ideally some React (or interest in picking it up)

Hi everyone, thanks a lot for checking out our project! I just wanted to invite y’all to ping me if I can help, I’d be thrilled to answer questions and help out as best as I can. Looking forward to hearing from you!


My name is Shivaditya. I am studying at VIT Chennai.My major is Computer Science. I would to love to contribute to this project. Is there any pre requisite for the above said project ?

Hope you have a great day


Hi @sshivaditya2019, and many thanks for your interest and question!

I think the biggest prerequisite from my perspective is a solid understanding of R and the shiny ecosystem – ideally, you’d be generally familiar with how R users approach web development. The other nice-to-have is some devious creativity, because this project will require some out-of-the-box thinking. For example, shiny doesn’t have solid persistent data storage, so part of the project will be to work around that and find a way to save experimental data even though the shiny platform by itself doesn’t provide persitant storage.

So to summarize, what I’d be looking for in a proposal for this project is an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the shiny platform, and a plan of how to work around them. I think this is possible, but I’d love to hear your ideas!

Alright, so much for now – hope this makes sense for the moment, happy to discuss specifics! Best,


Hi @felixhenninger ,
I am Daniela CIALFI, a cognitive-behavioural economist, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of CHIETI-PESCARA (ITALY) and former visiting postdoc at Simons Institute for the Theory of the Computing (UC Berkeley).

Since my postdoctoral research project, I am very interested in this project. I am very familiar with how R users approach web development

We can chat abouit it


Hi @Athene-ai, and thanks a lot for your interest, it’s great to hear from you! I’d be thrilled to chat – if you like, do say hello in our project slack, I’m happy to discuss the project and figure things out with you, and would be very interested to learn from your experience, too. Please be invited to ping me, and I’d gladly answer any questions that come up here, too!

Kind regards, and looking forward to hearing from you,


I have just sign in in the project slack channel


Hi @felixhenninger

My name is Aoji, I’m a graduate student in computer science at Georgia Institute of Technology. I’m very interested in this project. I was a postdoc in neuroscience and bioinformatics at NIH. I have working experience of R(for analyzing/visualization the genomic data) and I’m familiar with web development(javascript, node.js and react). I would like to contribute this project. It would be a great assistance if you could suggest how to get started. Thank you very much!