Why are Open Badges useful?

There are many arguments for using Open Badges. One of the most important is their openness, which fits into the broader context of open science. This means both openness in terms of technological features and, more broadly, that badges are open to anyone who meets their requirements, without any additional courses, exams or fees.

Open Badges are digital badges that symbolise indicators of educational achievement, skills, interests or work experience. They have the form of a digitally stored badge – each of which is individually developed by the employer or service provider. Obtaining such a badge demonstrates the acquisition of specific skills, but does not require a specific qualification, so access to badges is much easier for those who wish to validate their experience in a particular field in an alternative way.

The rapid changes resulting from digitisation among other things have affected the field of research. Open science as a concept to make academic processes freely available, understandable and usable has been one of the most important approaches enabled by digitisation. Along with open access, open sources, open educational resources (MOOCs), Open Badges have also emerged. OBERRED, introducing Open Badges to the world of research data management, is one of the projects supporting and developing the creation of Open Badges for use by institutions or research teams.

There are a number of advantages of using Open Badges in research data management. Besides the universal benefits for all users (scalability, openness, interoperability and visual aspect), they serve the specific context of research data management very well. RDM competences are still often not widely standardised or recognised (and sometimes remain marginalised) within the academic community at large. 

Open Badges allow for a system that, on the one hand, provides structure to the competence recognition system and, on the other hand, remains flexible enough to allow for national, institutional or role-based modifications (e.g. an Open Badge for data storage can be adapted to include information about an organisation’s or country’s repository). They also help to structure competences (as has been done in the skills framework in OBERRED).

Open Badges can be displayed anywhere on the web. They are based on free and open technology. Regardless of the platform used by the issuer (Badgr, Open Badge Factory…), beneficiaries can display their badges on the platform of their choice, but also on a website, in social networks, in an online CV.

The badges produced by the OBERRED project have been made available under a Creative Commons licence (specifically CC BY), so anyone can copy, distribute and transmit them, adapt them, make commercial use of them under the condition that the user must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. The use of free licences is another aspect that confirms the importance of the OBERRED project in supporting and developing the open science movement.