, 9 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
As scientific teams grow, our model of credit assignment (1st author, last, or everyone else) becomes increasingly outdated. One impediment is ineffectiveness of author contributions text. Here’s a suggestion for a better way: the contributions table. A thread; feedback welcome.
Authors contributions sections are new and still don’t appear in many journals, but can be improved. Rather than text listing each author’s contributions, the same data can be presented as a table with rows corresponding to contributions and columns for each author.
Advantages include: 1. Graphics are faster and easier to comprehend. They are also easier to locate in the document.
2. This format can be readily augmented with additional information, such as distinguishing between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ contributions of each type. Here, it makes clear that Warren had a much bigger role in data analysis than Tirin and me, which is a more accurate attribution.
3. This format can be read as easily in either direction, answering both “Who did X?” and “What did person Y do?” equally. Try finding what author DJD (Dan Denman) contributed in each of these representations.
4. This format lends itself to a nice extension for including your author contribution information on your CV: a similar table where each column is one of your papers.
A difficulty with this is the diversity of terminology used, which would be helped by refinement and more widespread adoption of the CRediT framework (casrai.org/credit.html). Note that the table above is only for illustration as some modifications were made to fit into CRediT.
The benefits of adoption would be increased focus on the author contributions as declared in papers, so this information can be taken more seriously and ultimately drive more fair credit attribution, especially for large-scale team science.
The first step is to include author contributions information in machine-readable formats, e.g. in RIS and Bibtex citation documents provided on journal websites. </thread>
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