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Shake Up of Centuries Old System of Credit in Scholarly Communication: Project CRediT

18th March 2015
By Katy Alexander

We are pleased to announce some news that plans to shake up the old system of credit in scholarly communication!

Today, The Wellcome Trust and Digital Science introduce a new Contributor Role Taxonomy to provide a high-level classification of the diverse roles performed by individuals in the work leading to published academic research.  The purpose of the CRediT Taxonomy is to provide transparency in contributions to scholarly published work.  Attribution and credit will be able to be assigned to researchers undertaking a wide range of roles such as data curation, visualization and software programming.

Furthermore, the taxonomy will be published to the Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI) Data Dictionary and will lay the foundation for appropriate credit where it is due, fewer author disputes, and fewer disincentives to collaboration and the sharing of data and code. The project will help to improve accessibility and transparency around who did what to support peer reviewer selection and help researchers identify suitable potential collaborators.

Digital Science and the Wellcome Trust partnered with two information industry standards organizations, CASRAI and the US-based National Information Standards Organization (NISO), to achieve broad community consultation in drafting the taxonomy and testing its fit with a range of scientific fields.

During the latter half of 2014, a 17-person multi-stakeholder group composed of representatives from several publishers, funders, and universities met monthly under the auspices of CASRAI to review and refine each of the roles and role descriptions. This effort adopted the name Project CRediT, and the project overview and the taxonomy itself are available at

As the number of authors on scientific publications increases, ordered lists of author names are proving inadequate for the purposes of attribution and credit. A multi-stakeholder group produced the contributor role taxonomy for use in scientific publications.

Amy Brand our VP for North America explains:

 “Publication to the CASRAI data dictionary is a major step forward for Project CRediT because it signifies that the taxonomy has undergone a thorough community consensus and standards building process and is now considered ready for use by publisher’s partners. We’re proud to be entering the early adopter phase of the project.”

Liz Allen, Head of Evaluation at the Wellcome Trust concurs:

“It is great to see the project reach this stage. There has been so much support for having improved meta-data around the contributions to published output –  technology can now facilitate this and we are keen to explore how the taxonomy might work in practice and to minimize any unintended consequences particularly for researchers. Publishing the terms in the CASRAI dictionary will enable a range of pilot projects to implement the taxonomy to start, allowing the concepts to be tested properly.”

CRediT- Contributor Role Taxonomy

Conceptualization Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims.
Methodology Development or design of methodology; creation of models.
Software Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components.
Validation Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs.
Formal Analysis Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyse or synthesize study data.
Investigation Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection.
Resources Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools.
Data Curation Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later re-use.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation).
Writing – Review & Editing Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision – including pre- or post-publication stages.
Visualization Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/data presentation.
Supervision Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team.
Project Administration Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution.
Funding Acquisition Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.

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