Next Steps Toward Using CRediT for Credit

Ensuring that researchers get credit for all the work they do, not just for the papers they write, is essential if we are ever to move beyond the current culture of “publish or perish.” Securing funding, managing data, writing software, and more are every bit as important to the success of a research project. But these roles are typically harder to identify and, therefore, tend to be overlooked when a researcher’s work is being evaluated, for example, when they are applying for promotion or tenure or seeking funding.

The CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) initiative aims to make it easier for researchers to get the credit they deserve for all their contributions, by identifying 14 different roles that can be assigned to one or more contributors to a research project. This information can then be included in the metadata for any research output — articles, books/book chapters, datasets, etc.

The CRediT taxonomy grew out of a Wellcome Trust/Harvard University workshop in 2012, which led to a pilot project to test it out with a group of science journal editors, the results of which were reported in Nature Communications. The 14 roles that have been defined are:

  1. Conceptualization: formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims
  2. Data curation: management activities to annotate, scrub data, and maintain research data for initial use and later re-use
  3. Formal analysis: application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyze or synthesize study data
  4. Funding acquisition: getting financial support for the project leading to the publication
  5. Investigation: conducting the research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection
  6. Methodology: development or design of the methodology; creation of models
  7. Project administration: management and coordination responsibility for the research activity, planning, and execution
  8. Resources: providing study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools
  9. Software: programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components
  10. Supervision: oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team
  11. Validation: verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs
  12. Visualization: preparation, creation, and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/data presentation
  13. Writing – original draft: preparation, creation, and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation)
  14. Writing – review and editing: reparation, 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

Over 30 publishers and publishing outlets have already adopted CRediT, and the taxonomy has been integrated into several manuscript submission systems and other researcher platforms. After having been managed as an informal standard at CASRAI for some years, we are excited to announce that NISO has now been asked to formalize the CRediT taxonomy as an ANSI/NISO standard, and to establish a NISO Standing Committee to continue education and outreach efforts and foster continued development of the taxonomy. This proposal was approved by the Information Creation & Curation Topic Committee on November 15, 2019, and has now been sent to the NISO voting membership for agreement. Results of the ballot will be announced on December 19 (via @NISOInfo); if you have any questions or comments, please contact Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Executive Director,