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      Is Open Access

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

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          Abstract

          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.

          Abstract

          Badges that acknowledge open practices significantly increase sharing of reported data and materials, as well as subsequent accessibility, correctness, usability, and completeness.

          Author Summary

          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.

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          Most cited references 12

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          PSYCHOLOGY. Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science.

          Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. Replication effects were half the magnitude of original effects, representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had statistically significant results. Thirty-six percent of replications had statistically significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.
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            SCIENTIFIC STANDARDS. Promoting an open research culture.

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              The poor availability of psychological research data for reanalysis.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                PLoS Biol
                plos
                plosbiol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                12 May 2016
                May 2016
                12 May 2016
                : 14
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Center for Open Science, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
                [2 ]University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
                [3 ]University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, United States of America
                [4 ]University College London, London, United Kingdom
                [5 ]Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany
                [6 ]Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, United States of America
                [7 ]University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
                [8 ]University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
                University of Edinburgh, UNITED KINGDOM
                Author notes

                Brian Nosek created the badges to acknowledge open practices, and Brian Nosek and Mallory Kidwell are on a committee maintaining the badges. The badges and specifications for earning them are CC0 licensed with no monetization. None of the authors have had administrative or editorial roles for the journals included in the study.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: MCK TME BAN. Performed the experiments: MCK LBL EB TEH SP LSF CK AS CS CHH SF. Analyzed the data: MCK. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: MCK TME. Wrote the paper: BAN MCK SF. Commented on the manuscript: MCK LBL EB TEH SP LSF CK AS CS CHH TME SF BAN.

                Article
                PBIOLOGY-D-16-00142
                10.1371/journal.pbio.1002456
                4865119
                27171007
                © 2016 Kidwell et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 0, Pages: 15
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: The Laura and John Arnold Foundation
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: The John Templeton Foundation
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000049, National Institute on Aging;
                Award Recipient :
                The authors received no specific funding for this work.
                Categories
                Meta-Research Article
                Science Policy
                Open Science
                Open Data
                Science Policy
                Open Science
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Behavior
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Research Assessment
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Experimental Psychology
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Experimental Psychology
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Neuroscience
                Cognitive Science
                Cognitive Psychology
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Cognitive Psychology
                Social Sciences
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                Cognitive Psychology
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
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                Custom metadata
                All data and materials are publicly accessible at https://osf.io/rfgdw/. Also, we preregistered our study design and analysis plan. You can find the preregistration at https://osf.io/ipkea/.

                Life sciences

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