Indicating the role each author played can be particularly important for early-career researchers.
With the number of papers with 20 or more co-authors on the rise, it can be a major challenge to give fair credit to each contributor.
Generally recognising the contribution of all co-authors is important. This needs to include co-authors from the community/users. This recognition also needs to include technical advisors (such as statisticians) and cultural advisors. This raises the larger issue of publishing for the sake of academic advancement rather than purely contribution to new knowledge or societal improvement. We have commented on this before, as a serious issue for science/research. We have included a swag of related links.
Although the author contribution section of a research paper offers a more detailed breakdown of individual contributions than an author list, it can become unwieldy in papers with large teams.
Researchers have been experimenting with more visual ways to represent author contributions.
In 2019, Nick Steinmetz, assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, proposed this simple contribution matrix.