Open Practice Badges in Psychological Science: 18 Months On

In May 2014, an open research practices badge program was launched in Psychological Science. After about a year and a half, the results are promising: At least one out of about every three articles published in Psychological Science is conducted with specific attention to openness and transparency meriting a badge.

The open practices badge program encourages authors to engage in open research practices and was devised in partnership with the Center for Open Science. Articles accepted for publication in Psychological Science are awarded badges for meeting any or all of the following criteria:

Open Data The experiment’s data were submitted to an open-access repository.

Open Materials The experiment’s materials were submitted to an open-access repository.

Preregistration The study’s results were reported according to an open-access design and analysis plan formulated prior to data collection.

For an example of badges in action, see Colby, DeWitt, and Chapman (2015), the most recent article to be awarded all three badges.

These open practices are aimed at improving research quality and enhancing reproducibility, and yet they often go unrewarded.

“Despite the importance of open communication for scientific progress, present norms do not provide strong incentives for individual researchers to share data, materials, or their research process,” said Eric Eich, Past Editor in Chief of Psychological Science.

Since the launch of the badge program, 307 articles have been published in Psychological Science, and 29% of these articles have been awarded at least one badge. In total, 145 badges have been awarded so far.

This is a graph of badges awarded per issue.

Data suggest that participation in the badge program has increased since its inception. On average, about three articles per issue were awarded Open Data and Open Materials badges in 2014, but around five articles per issue have been awarded these badges in 2015, while the number of articles per issue has remained about the same.

The proportion of articles awarded badges for Open Data or Open Materials seems to be on the rise, though these trends aren’t statistically significant. Several years’ more data would be needed to detect a moderate effect, but initial evidence hints that adoption rates might be moving in a good direction.

Either way, it’s clear that conducting research consistent with open practices is now a popular approach for many authors who publish their work in Psychological Science.

For more information about APS’s badge program, see:

 

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