Elsevier expands CRediT approach to authorship

Fairer recognition of all authors’ contributions to scholarly work, supplying a transparent description of the roles of each co-author


Amsterdam, December 10, 2019

Elsevier, a global information analytics business specializing in science and health, announced that it has expanded the “Contributor Roles Taxonomy” (CRediT) approach to describing authorship to 1,200 journals—with plans to expand to hundreds more journals throughout 2020.

In a landscape of increasingly collaborative research and multi-authorship, standard author lists at the top of a paper don’t always adequately convey the diverse contributions of different individuals. Now when lead authors submit to a journal offering CRediT, they are asked to provide an accurate summary of the roles contributed by each author.

The CRediT statement appears above the acknowledgement section of the paper and details one or more of 14 distinct contributions per author that can go into a scholarly work: conceptualization; data curation; formal analysis; funding acquisition; investigation; methodology; project administration; resources; software; supervision; validation; visualization; writing – original draft; and writing – review and editing.

“By detailing each author’s role in the research, we hope to help all authors receive fairer recognition for their personal contribution to the advance of science, particularly vital for early career researchers. As part of our ongoing focus on research integrity, CRediT can act as a framework for collaborators to have constructive conversations about ethical authorship,” said Philippe Terheggen, Managing Director for STM Journals, Elsevier. “In addition, CRediT offers more transparency for funders, academic institutions, government and other stakeholders.”

Authorship disputes typically occur when authors cannot agree on who deserves to be listed as an author. Such disagreements can lead to erosion of professional relationships, delays in publication and occasionally even in the retraction of papers. CRediT can help encourage co-authors to start discussing authorship and who contributed what early in the process, as recommended by COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics, who welcome today’s announcement.

“Data, from cases brought to COPE over many years, has shown that authorship is the single largest category of dispute,” said its Chair, Dr. Deborah Poff, CM, PhD. “Therefore, any advance that encourages authors to think about authorship in a structured way, like CRediT, is a significant contribution to publication ethics. If the CRediT taxonomy is applied effectively, authors will get the credit they deserve, and their contributions will be transparent.”

The idea came about following a 2012 collaborative workshop led by Harvard University and the Wellcome Trust with input from researchers, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and publishers, including Elsevier, represented by Cell Press, and with facilitation from CASRAI and the National Informational Standards Organization (NISO). Cell Press first started offering CRediT to authors in 2015. Aries Systems introduced CRediT into its Editorial Manager (EM) manuscript submission and peer review system in 2016 as an option for any journal using EM. Since 2017, Elsevier has piloted the approach with 150 further journals in all fields, to very positive reception by authors and editors.

As the approach expands and matures, CRediT will advance existing bibliometric methods for author credit assignment, as well as create a culture of responsible use of metrics in research evaluation. This is a topic under active research at Elsevier’s recently-launched International Center for the Study of Research (ICSR).

More information on CRediT is available here.

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About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.elsevier.com

Media contact
Tom Reller
Vice President, Global Communications
Elsevier
t.reller@elsevier.com