As silly as they might seem, Nosek said the badges served a well-established purpose, by giving researchers a visible means to communicate information about their identities, beliefs, values and behaviors. People use such signaling all the time — think bumper stickers and hipster beards. Badges give scientists a way to signal that they care about research transparency, Nosek said.
And it appears that psychologists are eager to engage in such signaling. In an analysis published in PLOS Biology on Thursday, Nosek’s team reports that since Psychological Science adopted the badges, data sharing has risen nearly tenfold in papers it publishes, reaching nearly 40 percent of all papers published in the first half of 2015. (The team assessed a total of 838 papers from the journal.) (Source)
Note that badges are applied to the papers, not to the individual.
The badges are tools for nudging good behavior, not ends in themselves. The ultimate aim is for researchers to routinely provide public access to their data and the materials underlying their work. “Once such sharing becomes normative, the badges program can be retired, having served its purpose,” Eich said. Psychological Science is just one of six journals that have adopted the badges, including the American Journal of Political Science, which recently came on board. “A big barrier to data sharing is that everyone thinks that it’s hard and no one does it,” Nosek said, adding that the new analysis undermines those claims. “A lot of people said it’s not going to work. Maybe the data will convince them.”