Mallory C. Kidwell 1 , * , Ljiljana B. Lazarević 2 , Erica Baranski 3 , Tom E. Hardwicke 4 , Sarah Piechowski 5 , Lina-Sophia Falkenberg 5 , Curtis Kennett 6 , Agnieszka Slowik 7 , Carina Sonnleitner 7 , Chelsey Hess-Holden 6 , Timothy M. Errington 1 , Susann Fiedler 5 , Brian A. Nosek 1 , 8
12 May 2016
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.
Badges that acknowledge open practices significantly increase sharing of reported data and materials, as well as subsequent accessibility, correctness, usability, and completeness.
Openness is a core value of scientific practice. The sharing of research materials and data facilitates critique, extension, and application within the scientific community, yet current norms provide few incentives for researchers to share evidence underlying scientific claims. In January 2014, the journal Psychological Science adopted such an incentive by offering “badges” to acknowledge and signal open practices in publications. In this study, we evaluated the effect that two types of badges—Open Data badges and Open Materials badges—have had on reported data and material sharing, as well as on the actual availability, correctness, usability, and completeness of those data and materials both in Psychological Science and in four comparison journals. We report an increase in reported data sharing of more than an order of magnitude from baseline in Psychological Science, as well as an increase in reported materials sharing, although to a weaker degree. Moreover, we show that reportedly available data and materials were more accessible, correct, usable, and complete when badges were earned. We demonstrate that badges are effective incentives that improve the openness, accessibility, and persistence of data and materials that underlie scientific research.