Investigating the division of scientific labor using the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT)

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Contributorship statements were introduced by scholarly journals in the late 1990s to provide more details on the specific contributions made by authors to research papers. After more than a decade of idiosyncratic taxonomies by journals, a partnership between medical journals and standards organizations has led to the establishment, in 2015, of the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT), which provides a standardized set of 14 research contributions. Using the data from Public Library of Science (PLOS) journals over the 2017–2018 period (N = 30,054 papers), this paper analyzes how research contributions are divided across research teams, focusing on the association between division of labor and number of authors, and authors’ position and specific contributions. It also assesses whether some contributions are more likely to be performed in conjunction with others and examines how the new taxonomy provides greater insight into the gendered nature of labor division. The paper concludes with a discussion of results with respect to current issues in research evaluation, science policy, and responsible research practices.

This content has been updated on May 4 2021 at 10 h 59 min.