Open Hardware Badge?

Dear All

You might be familiar with the badging scheme from Open Science Framework that has been picked up by several journals as a way of badging open content and pre-registered experiments. They have an Open Data and Pre-registered badge. Most interestingly for us, they also have an Open Materials badge

Open Materials Badge

From OSF | Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices Wiki

The Open Materials badge is earned by making publicly available the components of the research methodology needed to reproduce the reported procedure and analysis.


  • Digitally-shareable materials are publicly available on an open-access repository. The materials must have a persistent identifier and be provided in a format that is time-stamped, immutable, and permanent (e.g., university repository, a registration on the Open Science Framework, or an independent repository at
  • Infrastructure, equipment, biological materials, or other components that cannot be shared digitally are described in sufficient detail for an independent researcher to understand how to reproduce the procedure.
  • Sufficient explanation for an independent researcher to understand how the materials relate to the reported methodology.

Should we be encouraging papers with open hardware to use the badge? Being able to easily screen and search for papers containing open hardware might be useful and it raises visibility. Another question is whether the badge sufficient for hardware or is it worth a conversation with OSF about an open hardware badge? OSF are not the only group doing badges, but they do seem to have multiple publishers on board and in terms of badging academic papers, that is really useful because changing publisher workflows is non-trivial.

They seem to have had some success with badging data in the psychology area and published a paper about it:


Hey Jenny, thanks for posting this. I think these badges are super relevant to OScH and would be an awesome thing to promote within our community. I made a post back in March hoping that someone from OSF would be attending GOSH2017 (@punkish said he has some contacts there).

It seems that the OSF is using the term “Materials” very broadly in the same way we have been trying to promote the term “Hardware” as covering not just electronics/tools/machines but any physical objects (including reagents and materials). It is unfortunately that we now have 2 different words attempting to represent the same meme and competing for mind share. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I think it would be great to start a conversation/dialog.

I can appreciate that from the perspective of a scientific paper, you have methods and materials (and that materials would include anything we would call hardware), so maybe the term materials makes the most sense in this context. Outside of scientific publishing, I think it would be great to have an open hardware badge for people to post on their websites/wikis/git repository/etc. I think it could become especially interesting if by including one of these badges on your site (with appropriate metadata), we could somehow generate an up-to-date registry of OScH projects from across the web.

Thanks @ryanfobel! I agree that hardware and materials essentially mean the same thing but materials is perhaps more intuitively encompassing than hardware. Definitely worth making sure OSF are aware of GOSH.

Hmm…I don’t know how the existing badge systems work in terms of harvesting metadata. In fact I don’t know even in the academic publishing space if articles are filterable by badge. It makes more sense for open materials to be able to do that because a material is potentially much more applicable to other research than a particular dataset.

Anybody know of ways that type of aggregation had been successful?

@jcm80 You have contacts at mozilla I think? I think they host open badges, which seems like is more geared towards providing rewards/certification for people rather than projects, but might be relevant…

It’s very relevant if this community want to issue people badges because they have the entire system set up inc validation.
I don’t think they aggregate though. Like you say, I think individuals say ‘look what badges I have’ but the badge provider doesn’t say ‘look who has this badge’.

@Tobey @unixjazz can Ubiquity journals like Journal of Open Hardware use OSF badges? Starting with the journal piece might be easiest, but very interested to hear if people have experience of the type of thing @ryanfobel was suggesting.


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I think badges are great! GOSH community could issue one. With Mozilla OpenBadges or Credly.

Thanks Kshitiz for rebooting this thread!

I think the point we came to was that for journal papers, it would be best to use the Open Materials badge from OSF as it already exists and the framework is already integrated with some journals, but @ryanfobel and @kshitizkhanal7 have both suggested an OScH badge for web pages and projects.

Does anyone have experience with Mozilla Open Badges and would be willing to talk us through how it would work and/or have a go?

Also, does someone have a good contact at OSF and can make sure they know we exist and are interested in the Open Materials badge? @punkish maybe?


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I would be happy to follow up with OSF, but surely, an Open Materials badge signifies something very different from an Open Hardware badge (toe-may-toe | poe-tah-toe). Perhaps we could ask OSF to consider making a stand-alone Open Hardware badge.

According to their own criteria, equipment is included:

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Ah, thanks for pointing me to that info. My first reaction is, how confusing that is because when I think open materials I don’t think open hardware. Seems like they’ve bunged in a bunch of questionably related things into one category. It is up to the community to decide if we want an open hardware badge. I am not much for badges but if I had to choose, I would prefer “Open Hardware.”

If you all want to use the materials badge, seems like you don’t have to do anything other than use it. If you want to create a new badge, I would be happy to connect us to OSF. Let me know.

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Hey @jcm80
Thanks for bringing this up and sorry for the slow follow up. There are always more great suggestions than time to implement.
I still think it’s worth to do it. Is there any update on the diversity of badges? I think open materials, methods, protocols, and hardware are strongly overlapping in meaning and linking of value-sharing open-science-initiatives is more valuable than everyone getting their favorite tags.
Cheers, Tobey

I think you’re right and from the OSF badge point of view i.e. badges for scientific publishing, just trying to get more people to use the Open Materials one when they publish in journals that use badges is probably the quickest win.

If there is still appetite for an open hardware badge that is a nice thing to badge our own projects (and possibly can be machine reasable and harvest projects as @ryanfobel suggested earlier in the thread) then maybe that could be a breakout at GOSH 2018 or someone could pick up the thread here with a design idea!

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