Time Zones & Daylight Saving Time

Learn how to set a default time zone for the site, how to update your own time zone and how to set time zones for specific Activities and Discussions. It's important to note that certain components of a site are controlled by different time zone settings:

  • Studies will use the site time zone for Activities, Discussions and notifications by default.
  • If you have enabled a study specific time zone, this will override the site time zone for that particular Study.
  • Email broadcasts will be sent based on the time zone of the admin who is scheduling them, regardless of the Study or site level time zones.

Time Zones

We wish the world shared a common time but then some of us would be having lunch at 4 AM. A time zone is a region that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries of countries and their subdivisions because it is convenient for areas in close commercial or other communication to keep the same time. Some large countries like China have only one time zone, but that's rare.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the time in Greenwich, London. GMT was formerly used as the international civil time standard, now superseded in that function by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Most people refer to GMT and UTC interchangeably.

Most of the time zones on land are offset from UTC by a whole number of hours (−12 to +14), but a few are offset by 30 or 45 minutes. For example Newfoundland Standard Time is UTC−03:30 and Nepal Standard Time is UTC+05:45.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) or Summer Time is the practice of advancing clocks during summer months by one hour so that in the evening daylight is experienced an hour longer, while sacrificing normal sunrise times.

Typically, regions with summer time adjust clocks forward one hour close to the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn to standard time.

If you live in a region that observes Daylight Saving Time / Summer Time, you must select a time zone that references this fact. For example, if you live in New York you must select Eastern Daylight Time instead of Eastern Standard Time (even if it's currently not the summer).