CRediT grew from a practical realization that bibliographic conventions for describing and listing authors on scholarly outputs are increasingly outdated and fail to represent the range of contributions that researchers make to published output. Furthermore, there is growing interest among researchers, funding agencies, academic institutions, editors, and publishers in increasing both the transparency and accessibility of research contributions.
Most publishers require author and contribution disclosure statements upon article submission – some in structured form, some in free-text form – at the same time that funders are developing more scientifically rigorous ways to track the outputs and impact of their research investments.
In mid-2012 the Wellcome Trust and Harvard University co-hosted a workshop to bring together members of the academic, publishing, and funder communities interested in exploring alternative contributorship and attribution models. Following the workshop (see workshop report), and working initially with a group of mainly biomedical journal editors (and members of the ICMJE a pilot project was established to develop a controlled vocabulary of contributor roles (taxonomy) that could be used to describe the typical range of ‘contributions’ to scholarly published output for biomedical and science more broadly. The aim was to develop a taxonomy that was both practical and easy to understand while minimizing the potential for misuse.
A draft taxonomy was tested with a sample of recent corresponding authors publishing across science and was relatively well received. The outcomes of the pilot test are described in Nature commentary (April 2014).