Even psychologists respond to meaningless rewards

Posted on May 19th, 2016

The journal Psychological Science has adopted three Center for Open Science badges to be awarded to papers that use open and transparent practices. The badges, awarded for open data, open materials, and preregistration, are seen as a “low-cost way to encourage and reward good research practices.” Brian Nosek, co-founder of the Center for Open Science, explained that the badges exploit a psychological phenomenon of signalling good behaviour. Nosek states that the badges give researchers “a visible means to communicate information about their identities, beliefs, values and behaviors.” Nosek’s team reports that since Psychological Science adopted the badges, data sharing has significantly increased. Eric Eich, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs at UBC, argues that badges can make “a meaningful difference in authors’ willingness to share relevant materials and data.” However, he states that the ultimate goal is for researchers to routinely provide public access to their data and materials, at which point the badge program can be retired.