Global Flourishing Study to Launch Initial Data Accessibility Through Partnership with the Center for Open Science

Largest funded research project in Baylor history at $43.4 million over five years to share first wave of data collected from more than 200,000 individuals in over 20 countries

August 16, 2023
Global Flourishing Study partners Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University, Gallup and the Center for Open Science

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Aug. 16, 2023) –The first sample dataset from the Global Flourishing Study (GFS), a groundbreaking initiative co-directed by Baylor University researcher Byron Johnson, Ph.D., is now available through the Center for Open Science (COS). The project, a five-year, $43.4 million longitudinal study of approximately 200,000 individuals in 22 countries, represents the largest funded research project in Baylor history.  

Launched in 2021, GFS was designed to investigate a wide range of factors that influence human flourishing. Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University, Gallup and the Center for Open Science are partners in the study.

While several studies have tracked respondents over time in a single country, the scope and breadth of GFS is unprecedented.

“We’ve been dreaming of this moment,” said Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor. “It’s gratifying to reach a milestone like this, bringing us one step closer to providing a data resource that will have significant influence across a variety of fields and sectors.”

“The research that this will enable is truly extraordinary,” said project co-director Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D., the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology and director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard. “It will advance our knowledge of human flourishing in ways that it is today difficult to even fathom.”

The Center for Open Science will present the data as an open-access resource for researchers, journalists, policymakers and educators worldwide.

“On a project of this scale, it is critical that the data be made available to a broad audience (e.g., researchers, students, journalists, and people interested in flourishing) in a way that it is transparent, ethical and reproducible,” Johnson said. “The Open Science Framework and experience of the Center for Open Science makes this possible.”

The initial sample release offers a preview to the full dataset, which will follow from the study’s first annual wave of data collection.

“This sample dataset enables researchers to develop hypotheses and analysis plans ahead of the full dataset release,” said Huajin Wang, Ph.D., COS’s director of programs. "COS offers guidance to researchers for data access and facilitates transparency and rigor in using this one-of-a-kind data resource.” 

Researchers can access GFS data in three ways:

  • Preregistration: Preregister an analysis plan now to receive early access to the full dataset available in the coming months on the Center for Open Science website.
  • Registered Report: Early access also is available to those who submit a Registered Report to a journal. With Registered Reports, a journal reviews the preregistration plan and agrees to publish the findings regardless of the outcome, protecting against publication bias. 
  • Public release: Those who don’t preregister can access the data after the public release scheduled for 2024.  

Johnson believes the partnership with COS represents an important step for this project, and throughout higher education research more broadly, to make projects like the Global Flourishing Study transparent and accessible.

“This is the first time we’ve worked with the Center for Open Science, and it is clearly a new and catalytic approach to conducting and multiplying rigorous research outputs,” Johnson said. “The entire research team is delighted for a project of this scope to be open access. At Baylor, as a Christian research university, we want to be transparent, and the fact that COS is helping us share this gift with so many people so quickly is something we take pride in.”

Register for webinars taking place in September to learn more about using the sample dataset from this study, preregistration and Registered Reports, and how to gain access to the full dataset when it becomes available.

For more information on GFS’s data access, visit the COS GFS website.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Global Flourishing Study is the product of collaboration among researchers from Harvard University, Baylor University, Gallup, and Center for Open Science to address significant limitations in current studies of Human Flourishing. The project is based on the creation of an important new data resource: a global, probability-based panel of more than 200,000 participants from 22 geographically and culturally diverse countries. Funders include John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, Templeton World Charity Foundation, the Well-Being for Planet Earth Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, Well Being Trust, the Paul L. Foster Family Foundation, and the David & Carol Myers Foundation. 


Launched in 2004, Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) initiates, supports, and conducts research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, philosophy, epidemiology, theology, and religious studies. The ISR mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development, and social conflict. 


Founded in 2016, the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science aims to study and promote human flourishing, and to develop systematic approaches to the synthesis of knowledge across disciplines. The program’s research contributes to the broad question of how knowledge from the quantitative social sciences can be integrated with that of the humanities on questions of human flourishing and how best to carry out this synthesis of knowledge across disciplines. 


Gallup is a global analytics and advice firm with more than 80 years of experience measuring public opinion and human development. In the organization’s own research and in working partnerships with government, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, Gallup develops indicators to measure key global development and social responsibility indicators over time.


Founded in 2013, COS is a nonprofit culture change organization with a mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission by building communities around open science practices, supporting metascience research, and developing and maintaining free, open source software tools, including the Open Science Framework (OSF). Learn more at