Contributor Roles

A high-level classification of the diverse roles performed in the work leading to a published research output in the sciences. Its purpose to provide transparency in contributions to scholarly published work, to enable improved systems of attribution, credit, and accountability.

ID: 9dbb95f4-55ed-4e43-9301-a9f0e3e17afe

Extended Description

The classification includes, but is not limited to, traditional authorship roles. That is, these roles are not intended to define what constitutes authorship. Rather, the roles are intended to apply to all those who contribute to research that results in scholarly published works, and it is recommended that all tagged contributors be listed, whether they are formally listed as authors or named in acknowledgements.

An individual contributor may be assigned multiple roles, and a given role may be assigned to multiple contributors. When there are multiple people serving in the same role, a degree of contribution may optionally be specified as ‘lead’, ‘equal’, or ‘supporting’. It is recommended that corresponding authors assume responsibility for role assignment, and that all contributors be given the opportunity to review and confirm assigned roles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Could one person contribute in multiple roles? When there are multiple people serving in the same role a ‘degree of contribution’ should be further specified as either ‘lead’, ‘equal’, or ‘supporting’. Roles are intended to apply to all those who contribute to a project — and it is recommended that, if possible, all contributors be listed, whether or not they are formally listed as authors. It is also intended that multiple roles be assigned to a single person where appropriate.

Do you anticipate this being a mandatory taxonomy? No, the taxonomy is envisioned as voluntary and each system would choose whether and how to implement. We do see value in the entire community eventually agreeing on a single set of terms, but at a pace appropriate for each stakeholder.

Would this taxonomy be implemented as a drop-down box in software? That is one potential mode of implementation during data entry. We envision multiple ways of implementing the taxonomy – suited to each implementation. But we hope the content of the implementations can be common and standardized.