Contributorship Badges, building the prototype this summer

This work is a collaboration with publishers BioMed Central (BMC) and the Public Library of Science (PLoS); the biomedical research foundation, The Wellcome Trust; the software and technology firm Digital Science; and the registry of unique researcher identifiers, ORCID.

In our Contributorship Badges prototype (Paper Badger), we’re testing ways to use open badges to assign digital credentials to contributions on academic papers. As the research environment becomes more digital, we want to test how we can use this medium to help bring transparency and credit for individuals in the publication process.

The past few months, our communities have been working together to build a prototype that uses Mozilla’s Open Badges to issue and store badges based on contributor roles on a scholarly paper. By authenticating against ORCID, a user can reliably issue badges to a valid ORCID, the standard unique researcher identifier. Miss our paper badger call? You can watch our last project call here.

We still have a lot of work before us. Help us get Paper Badger over the finish line this summer!

Want to jump in?

  • Good first bugs: This is a good place to start if you’re new to the project. These issues are all mentored.
  • Design: We need some help designing interfaces and deciding how these badges will look on a paper page / on an ORCID page.
  • Writing code: Ready to write some JavaScript with us? These issues are waiting for you!
  • Discuss: There are still some open ended questions for this prototype. Join in on the discussion.


Take a look at our roadmap to see what we’re currently working on! Click on the issue for more details on where you can help. We’re looking for designers and developers who want to bring transparency and credit to the scholarly workflow. See the full roadmap here.

Now – July 23

  • [Design] What will these badges look like on a paper? (#71)
    • Designing badges. How will these be displayed on papers / ORCID? If you’re familiar with academic papers and have ideas how to add badges and experience digital credentials, we could use your input here!
  • [Design, Dev] Build the badge issuing process (#22, #24)
    • We’re testing out a way to issue badges! (current workflow in #18):
    • Build interface for the publisher (#22)
      • In the first prototype, Journals will manually enter in the DOI & Author emails in a form. We need to design and build this form.
    • Build interface for the Authors (#24)
      • Build a form (currently at that allows authors to select their roles on a paper (after login via ORCID). This will trigger issuing the badges. Authors can only issue badges to their own ORCID for papers that Publishers have confirmed they authored.
  • [Dev] Testing (#19)
    • Mocha, supertest. Help us make sure we’re building things that work! The testing framework has been added. Tests needed.

July 23 – Aug 27

  • [Design, Dev] Creating JavaScript snippets (#72)
    • Our API is ready for use! Use the data we have available in our API to write a JS snippet that visualizes a user’s / a paper’s badges. Built using our JSON endpoints, implement the visualizations created in #71. By providing these snippets, a journal (or an author, or ORCID) can just embed the snipped on their website to view badges for this paper/author.
  • [Dev] Finish implementing the badge issuing process (#18, #23)
    • We’re testing out a way to issue badges! (current workflow in #18):
    • Implement function on Publisher form submission (#23)
      • Add the functionality that will notify authors by email when they can select bages for a paper.

Launch MVP, Sept 1!

Minimum viable product. Have a prototype that tests out the following workflow:

  • Publishers send us info on a new paper (DOI, author emails)
  • Authors select their roles and claim badges for each role they contributed to a paper
  • These badges appear on both the online version of the paper and on the authors ORCID page

What’s Next?

Help us reach this MVP by September 1st! Jump in on any of the tasks above, or join our next project call on Thursday, July 23rd to help us with our last push.

WHAT: Call for anyone interested in helping build Contributorship Badges for Science (PaperBadger)
WHEN: July 23, 11am ET

Many thanks to all our outstanding collaborators and contributors that have given their time and talent to this project! Thanks everyone for helping us leverage the web as part of the scholarly workflow.