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A new method of co-author credit allocation based on contributor roles taxonomy: proof of concept and evaluation using papers published in PLOS ONE

Abstract

Scientific research cooperation and co-authored papers are becoming increasingly popular in the era of big science. However, allocating appropriate credit to each co-author of papers remains a challenge. We consider author contribution declarations according to the contributor roles taxonomy (CRediT) scheme (assigning each co-author to 14 contributor roles) and propose a new method of author contribution to allocate co-authors’ credits reasonably by converting the 14 contributor roles in an article into a binary author-role matrix. Based on the data of PLOS ONE, we further explore the new method’s advantages by comparing with other representative methods: It normalizes the total credits of different articles to 1, avoiding the inflationary bias caused by the increasing number of co-authors; awards different credits per co-author based on the participation rate of contributor roles to avoid the equalization bias; reduces the impact of the increasing number of co-authors on the credit of the first co-author.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the anonymous referees for important insightful comments and suggestions. This research was funded by Project of Ministry of Education in China (Grant no. 18JHQ043).

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JD was involved in conceptualization, formal analysis, methodology, supervision, review, the initial draft preparation, and the final draft editing. CL was involved in data collection, formal analysis, methodology, software, and the initial draft preparation. QZ was involved in formal analysis and review. WC was involved in the final draft editing.

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Correspondence to Jingda Ding.

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Ding, J., Liu, C., Zheng, Q. et al. A new method of co-author credit allocation based on contributor roles taxonomy: proof of concept and evaluation using papers published in PLOS ONE. Scientometrics 126, 7561–7581 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-04075-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-04075-x

Keywords

  • Contributor role
  • CRediT
  • Credit of co-author
  • Allocation method