Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices: A Simple, Low-Cost, Effective Method for Increasing Transparency

PLoS Biol. 2016 May 12;14(5):e1002456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002456. eCollection 2016 May.


Beginning January 2014, Psychological Science gave authors the opportunity to signal open data and materials if they qualified for badges that accompanied published articles. Before badges, less than 3% of Psychological Science articles reported open data. After badges, 23% reported open data, with an accelerating trend; 39% reported open data in the first half of 2015, an increase of more than an order of magnitude from baseline. There was no change over time in the low rates of data sharing among comparison journals. Moreover, reporting openness does not guarantee openness. When badges were earned, reportedly available data were more likely to be actually available, correct, usable, and complete than when badges were not earned. Open materials also increased to a weaker degree, and there was more variability among comparison journals. Badges are simple, effective signals to promote open practices and improve preservation of data and materials by using independent repositories.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Information Dissemination
  • Internet
  • Psychology*
  • Publishing / organization & administration*
  • Publishing / trends
  • Serial Publications / economics
  • Serial Publications / statistics & numerical data*

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.