I'm a PhD student at the University of Reading, and I've got an online research project running that I'd like to bring to the forum's attention, because getting data from trained & experienced type people is so valuable.
It's a survey web app, anonymous, and it asks you to look at some type specimens and mark anything that looks like a letter-fitting problem (using the highlight tool built-in to the specimen). This means "fitting problem" in the broadest possible sense: doesn't matter if the source of the trouble is the default side bearings, a kern, a ligature, or even something about the glyphs themselves. It's just an exercise in "what looks wrong in the final output", you might say.
My research is about letter-fitting algorithms, and this is essentially a way of putting an algorithm (or several) to the test by having people look at & respond to its results in a font with actual, readable text. So the more people, the stronger the analysis of what happens!
You can find it at http://Letter.fit ... it's live right now, but certainly let me know in a comment or DM if it appears to vanish. You DO have to be at least 18 years old to complete the survey; that's a legal requirement imposed on the University.
The app will show you up to five specimens. They are all independent of each other, though, so if something happens and you have to leave after fewer, that's totally fine and there's no harm done. It also asks some generic background questions, but it doesn't ask for any personal info and it doesn't store any or track you.
The intent is that people can look through five specimens at a comfortable, not-feeling-rushed pace and do the entire thing in under a half hour, while still feeling like they looked and saw what they wanted to. But obviously everyone is different; you can go as fast or as slow as you like.
One other thing to add: the site's been up for a while (in fact, you may have seen me blather on about it if you stumbled into one of my last two ATypI talks), but although data-collection has been good so far, I wanted to post something here since I'm really trying to ramp up the promotional machine, to get a wider audience of type- and design-interested people to take a crack at it. And the general public as well.
SO it would be immensely valuable if some people are kind enough to share the link to the site with other interested parties (as many as you can ... without invoke their ire, of course). Industry folk, aficionados, students (who are at least 18 years old), meet-ups or forums — if you can share the link in a way that's respectful of the rules/norms of the relevant community, I would greatly appreciate it.
(There are Twitter Card and OpenGraph bits sprinkled in, so hopefully sharing it online looks a bit nicer. If those seem broken, I hope somebody will give me a poke.)
Anyway, guess that's it. Hope you can give it a run-through!