An elite European university group says listing all contributors to research would avoid damaging disagreements and properly reflect the work of scholars.
The idea of authorship could be abolished in many academic disciplines, with researchers instead listed as “contributors” in “movie-style credits” at the end of a published paper, a leading university group has suggested.
Over the last few years, there is growing recognition of the importance of acknowledging contributors beyond the authors. Persons such as statisticians, research librarians, cultural advisors, translators and consumers can make valuable and important contributions to a draft research outputs. This can make for a long list of contributors to acknowledge in very specific areas. This item discusses using a movie credits approach rather than a traditional list of authors and acknowledgments. One of the advantages of such an approach is that it encourages academic writers to think about categories of persons who have made an important contribution to an output.
In one of several bold proposals, it suggests the “role of authorship completely disappears.”
Instead, “there are only contributors, and each contribution is clearly described,” says the paper, adding, “This would resemble the credits shown at the end of a movie, where every function is listed.”
While acknowledging that “this concept might feel to be too far away from realisation to be practical at present”, the paper explains this would help to solve disagreements about who qualifies for authorship and who is listed as a contributor, or in acknowledgements, or not at all.
“The advantage of this system is that the cut-off for authorship versus contribution, or versus acknowledgement, disappears: every contribution is described in detail and credited, also the ones that were of a supportive or analytical nature that would normally not qualify for authorship,” it explains.