Put a badge on it: incentives for data sharing and reproducibility

How do you encourage researchers to share the data underlying their publications? The journal Psychological Science introduced a digital badge system in 2014 to signify when authors make the data and related materials accompanying their articles openly available. Criteria to earn the Open Data badge include (1) sharing data via a publicly accessible repository with a persistent identifier, such as a DOI, (2) assigning an open license, such as CC-BY or CC0, allowing reuse and credit to the data producer, and (3) providing enough documentation that another researcher could reproduce the reported results (Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices project on the Open Science Framework).

Analysis of the badging system’s initial impact, as reported in a 2016 paper in PLOS Biology, showed an increase from less than 3% before badges to almost 40% of Psychological Science articles in 2015 sharing their data after badges were introduced. Even more significantly, of those articles sharing data, over 70% were shared using repositories (such as Dataverse, Dryad, or the ICPSR) to make the data openly available. When Kidwell and her team dug deeper, they found that “available data and materials were more accessible, correct, usable, and complete when badges were earned.”

For Emory researchers seeking support to practice open science, we have a new website, researchdata.emory.edu, that includes information about managing data at Emory, and selecting a data repository to preserve and share your data. Consultations are also available with librarians for research data and your subject area.