Open Science Badges Are Going Viral

April 28th, 2022,

We are flattered and humbled. But mostly, we’re just grateful.

To encourage authors to provide open access to their data, our friends at the Public Library of Science (PLOS) has adopted a version of a concept we have been encouraging since 2014 with journals across the social and behavioral science. During 2022, PLOS will affix a visible badge to papers in its collection that link to the open datasets in Dryad, Figshare, or COS’s Open Science Framework, including new articles that are published this year.

The Open Science Badge program is focused on incentivizing authors to provide access to their data; we want the visible cue to help make open data a norm within the research community. As a library, PLOS is also trying to encourage wider access and use of data among readers. PLOS hypothesizes that making linked research data more visible on article pages will increase the data’s use and also help readers spend less time looking for articles with accessible datasets.

We hope so! We do know it’s helped establish data-sharing as a norm for authors.

Currently, over 75 journals offer Open Science Badges to signal and reward authors when underlying data, materials or preregistrations are available.

This is an experimental program for PLOS, but the badge feature will be extended to papers using other open data repositories if the experiment actually increases the use of the underlying data.

“Offering researchers incentives to share research data, such as badges or visual cues on their papers, has been shown to increase adoption of open science in other contexts,” said our director of policy, David Mellor. “We welcome PLOS’s experiment with this feature and are looking forward to seeing the results.”

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