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Digital badges aim to clear up politics of authorship

An article published by Nature in the past week summarises a new initiative that uses colourful ‘digital badges’ to denote different contributions that authors made to a paper. This system aims to simplify the “often-fraught business of detailing who did what on a scientific paper”.

The article states: “On 28 September, the BioMed Central journal GigaScience added the badges to two of its published papers. Readers can click to see co-authors listed under multiple badges; the information is also coded in a format that allows computer programs to extract it, which makes it linkable to other online author profiles (such as the researcher identification system ORCID). Another London-based publisher, Ubiquity Press, is also adding badges to two of its published papers.”.

The project sets 14 types of contributorship from writing and data visualisation to data curation and project management. (You can read more about this project and its other implementations here and here).

An overview of what the badges will look like is shown below.

Logos

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