How to use Open Science Badges to reward your journal authors

Open Science Badges poster previewThe Journal of Social Psychology fully embraces data sharing. And not only do they ask authors to share their data, they also reward them for using Open Science Badges.

In this post, Jon Grahe, the journal’s Managing Executive Editor, talks about awarding Open Science Badges. He also discusses his views on data sharing and transparency.

What are Open Science Badges?

There are three badges reflecting public sharing:

  • Open Data
  • Open Materials
  • Pre-registered

We also initially awarded “peer review” badges but stopped as these they were too time-consuming to administer.

Now we award self-disclosure badges. These reward authors for providing data, material, and pre-registrations in a permanent location. The authors also provide a statement on how to reproduce their study using associated data or materials.

How many badges do you award?

In the first three years, only 11% of our manuscripts earned Open Data or Open Materials badges. In recent months, that rate has increased to over 50%, in part due to a recent initiative. I now email authors about the badges before processing a manuscript for production.

The increase could also be because of a statement by the American Psychological Association. It now says all its journals will be able to offer Open Science Badges. That’s a major step forward in using badges as a way to reward and recognize authors for data sharing.

How do you help authors to share their data?

Many authors haven’t thought about how to present their data to make it easy for others to read and use. Many, for example, don’t even think about their file naming process.

I’ve therefore created resources for authors interested in data or materials sharing, but who are unfamiliar with the process.

In general, authors should consider data sharing a way to connect readers of their single study to more research on the subject. It’s about how you can help your research to have a bigger impact. When you publish data on a project, you can direct readers to a page where they’ll find other study datasets.

How can authors apply for Open Science Badges with your journal?

Open Materials follows the same protocol for research materials as for data. Authors earn Pre-registered badges by date stamping the research study design and analysis plan before data collection.

We notify authors about the badges in the instructions for authors when they log in to submit a manuscript. We also remind them of the badges in any revision or acceptance decision letters. Plus, I now also send a pre-processing email about the badges, as I mentioned earlier.

What other areas does Open Science cover?

Data sharing is just one facet of Open Science. The Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines (TOP) identifies eight categories that editors and publishers should address:

  • Citation standards
  • Analytic and methods transparency
  • Design and analysis transparency
  • Pre-registration of analysis plans
  • Data transparency
  • Research materials transparency
  • Preregistration of studies
  • Replication

As a TOP signatory journal, we reviewed our policies and standards of transparency. We were surprised to find a difference between our present standards and the expectations of this group of scientists, funders, and publishers. As a result, we have plans to improve our journal’s transparency standards.

How will awarding Open Science Badges change in the future?

Until now, we’ve made it clear that badges are voluntary – we don’t link decisions with badge adoptions. But from 2018, all manuscripts will need to meet the TOP standards for research materials transparency to be published in the journal. In short, to publish, everyone will need to earn an Open Materials badge.

It’s becoming more common in science for authors to share their data as well. As a result, we may also make Open Data a rule in the future.

July 13, 2018

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