Is authorship sufficient for today’s collaborative research? A call for contributor roles

Nicole A. Vasilevsky*, Mohammad Hosseini, Samantha Teplitzky, Violeta Ilik, Ehsan Mohammadi, Juliane Schneider, Barbara Kern, Julien Colomb, Scott C. Edmunds, Karen E Gutzman, Daniel S. Himmelstein, Marijane White, Britton Smith, Lisa O’Keefe, Melissa Haendel, Kristi L. Holmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Assigning authorship and recognizing contributions to scholarly works is challenging on many levels. Here we discuss ethical, social, and technical challenges to the concept of authorship that may impede the recognition of contributions to a scholarly work. Recent work in the field of authorship shows that shifting to a more inclusive contributorship approach may address these challenges. Recent efforts to enable better recognition of contributions to scholarship include the development of the Contributor Role Ontology (CRO), which extends the CRediT taxonomy and can be used in information systems for structuring contributions. We also introduce the Contributor Attribution Model (CAM), which provides a simple data model that relates the contributor to research objects via the role that they played, as well as the provenance of the information. Finally, requirements for the adoption of a contributorship-based approach are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Attribution
  • authorship
  • contributorship
  • peer review
  • publication ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


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