Using ACE

Getting Started

Thank you for your interest in using ACE in a research study. This website should serve as your source of information for all things ACE.

ACE is freely available to the research community through our research platform Nexus. To facilitate access to and manage ACE, there are a number of steps that must be completed. These steps are each described in more detail below. Briefly, they are:

    1. Establish an MOU with UCSF
    2. Register in Nexus
    3. Complete the Partner Organization Form
    4. Complete the ACE Configuration Form
    5. Set up your ACE Configuration in Nexus
    6. Collect ACE data
    7. Access ACE data
    8. Analyze ACE data

Establish an MOU With UCSF

ACE was developed by Neuroscape at UCSF and is owned by the Regents of the University of California. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must be created between each organization using ACE and the Regents of University of California before we can grant access to ACE. The MOU outlines the context in which ACE will be used and over what period of time. Please fill out the ACE MOU Request form to begin the MOU process.

After completing the MOU, you will be introduced to a Partner Manager who will be your primary contact for questions and information regarding ACE.

Register in Nexus

Researchers and participants will access ACE through our research platform Nexus. Nexus makes accessing ACE and the associated data easier for you and your research participants.

You will use your Nexus account to access ACE data. Your participants will NOT need to create a Nexus account to access ACE. Partner organizations use a streamlined process for accessing ACE via Nexus.

After your MOU is complete, all members of your study team should create an account on https://nexus.ucsf.edu. Please see the Nexus Registration Guide for more details on creating an account on Nexus.

Complete the Partner Organization Form

All partner organizations using ACE must complete our partner organization tracking form. This form lets our team know important information we need to set up your organization in Nexus and track how ACE is being used across teams. Please note you will need a password to access this form. It will be provided by your Partner Manager after your MOU is complete.

An organization is used to designate a group of individuals that can access data across multiple ACE Configurations. Different ACE Configurations are designated by prefixes. A study that uses the same ACE Configuration for all participants may only have a single prefix. Studies that deliver different configurations according to certain criteria may need several prefixes.

Organizations with several different studies using ACE may have several prefixes associated with them. All members of an organization will have access to all data associated with that organization regardless of prefix. If access should be limited for a particular study or prefix, a new organization will need to be created.

For example, research centers with multiple study teams that want to share data across studies using ACE may want all members to be part of the same organization. Different research groups (e.g., research labs) within the same institution (e.g., university) will likely need different organizations so that researchers from one study team cannot access data from an unrelated study team.

Please allow two weeks from when you fill out the form for our team to complete all of the related set-up tasks. Once these tasks are complete, your Partner Manager will contact you to confirm your team has been granted permissions to begin setting up your ACE Configurations in Nexus.

Complete the ACE Configuration Form

All partner organizations are responsible for completing a configuration form for each ACE Configuration or prefix used. This form lets our team know important information we need to track and manage your ACE research. The form asks for several ACE design decisions that will be important for your team to consider. Please note you will need a password to access this form. It will be provided by your Partner Manager after your MOU is complete.

Choosing a Configuration Prefix

In the configuration form, you’ll be asked to create a configuration prefix. During configuration set up (see below), Nexus will validate your prefix to ensure it is unique from other prefixes already in use.

Your participants will use this prefix to log in to ACE. Upon login, our system will validate this prefix against our registered prefixes in our system. This prefix will be used to identify all of the participants that receive a particular configuration. If the prefix is not entered correctly, users will receive an error message and be prompted to try again.

Because this prefix will be used as a unique identifier, we ask you to use a combination of pi/institution/research group and study name with a minimum of three characters. For example, you might use NS-BSE for a study named ‘Best Study Ever’ conducted by the Neuroscape research group.

This prefix must be entered exactly for each participant to receive your study configurations and for you to be able to access the data, so it should be short enough to identify your study, but not so long as to be prone to error.

The prefix IS case sensitive and all prefixes must be followed by an underscore before the participant id. For example, if you request NS-BSE, you will enter NS-BSE_0001.

You can but do not have to use dashes (i.e., NSBSE or NS-BSE are both acceptable as potential prefixes, but if you request NS-BSE the dash must be included or the prefix will not validate). Underscores and other special characters CANNOT be used as part of the prefix (e.g., NS_BSE will NOT validate)

Choosing a Platform

ACE is available on iOS, android, and web browser platforms. We have found that different platforms have different capabilities in the precision with which reaction times can be reported. Particularly, the difference between touch-screen (tablets) and keyboard (web browser) can be variable. Therefore, we highly recommend you use a single platform for any given study to ensure consistency in measurement across your participants. Your chosen prefix will validate on all platforms.

Please indicate which platform(s) you want to use on the form so we can help manage your study if you have technical difficulties.

Choosing Modules

Please see the game summary for a short description of each module, the length of time, and the construct it measures. When you set up your ACE Configuration, you can specify which modules should be used and what order they should be played in (though specifying an order is not required).

Choosing other Configurations

ACE has additional configurations described below:

Days Before Closing. ACE saves progress after each completed module, so if participants do not complete the full session in one setting, they can log back in with the same user ID and pick up where they left off. You can set how many days a participant can log in and resume their session before it ‘closes’. Once the task closes, participants will begin a fresh session upon their next log in.

Once you have decided on how to design your ACE Configuration and have the usernames for study staff, you’re ready to fill out the study form!

Set up your ACE Configuration in Nexus

Once your organization has been set up and you’ve completed the configuration form, you are ready to create your configuration in Nexus, our research platform. See our Nexus ACE Configuration Set Up Guide for step-by-step instructions.

Collect ACE data

Please see our Accessing ACE Guide for instructions on accessing ACE, including how participants will log in.

Access ACE data

Instructions for accessing data through Nexus can be found in our Data Access Guide.

Note all individuals who will need to access data for your study will need to create an account on https://nexus.ucsf.edu. Please see the Nexus Registration Guide for more details on creating an account on Nexus. To request additional users be granted access to ACE data from your organization, please complete our Data Access Form.

Analyze ACE data

Detailed instructions for using our aceR package to analyze data can be found on our analytics page.

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