Since 2017, FASEB Science Research Conferences (SRCs) have hosted a voluntary initiative for testing the use of badges to convey methodological information in presentations and on posters.
The concept is simple yet significant: the visual badges convey wordlessly to a reader or listener that certain rigorous elements were employed in the research. For example, a playing die indicates the study was randomized; a Mars and Venus symbol together indicates the experiment was conducted in both sexes.
This effort originally arose in discussions with National Institutes of Health leaders as a strategy to enhance the transparency and reproducibility of research findings, and is part of FASEB’s broader efforts to promote rigor and reproducibility in biological and biomedical research.
The 2019 pilot includes 10 badges, covering methodologies ranging from statistical power analysis to littermate controls. There are badges that allow authors to indicate whether the work is preliminary or confirmatory, serving as a quick indicator of study status. Badges may be incorporated into PowerPoint slides or in poster legends; they should be large enough to be visible by audience members, but not so large as to overwhelm a figure or slide.
A post-conference evaluation survey will help gauge the effectiveness and interest in utilizing these badges for future conferences. Additional information, including downloadable files of the 2019 pilot badges, can be found on the FASEB SRC website.