The values and challenges of the CRediT taxonomy

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First of all, thank you for a fantastic session. I really appreciated the talks gathered today and the different perspectives covered.

I would love to hear more about discussion around the “software” role in the current taxonomy. Has there been consideration of how to give attribution for open source or proprietary software used in research?

I am mainly concerned with giving attribution for open source software given the importance and current economics driving this digital infrastructure. Better recognition of volunteer-led projects can lead to better funding, more resilient infrastructure, improved security, and improved resiliency in the project ecosystem.

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Thanks Amanda! I’m going to encourage the CRediT steering group leaders to sign up here so you can discuss this with them directly :slight_smile:

I saw a tweet about this session and the screen shot of Tenzing. I hope the developers consider adding a column for participants to put in their ORCID—that seems like a natural addition to the data collection!

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Thanks for the question. The current (initial) version of the standard does not make this sort of distinction.
I would hope though that if the software used was open source then it would be on (eg) GitHub, and have a DOI, it is then easy to include it in the references section. I’ve never actually done that myself, but I have done it with datasets (on Figshare, with a DOI) so the data authors get a reference too [and they may or may not be an author on the paper that references the data. I don’t see why that would not work for software…?
But - I’m open (if you will excuse the pun) to b put right.


Thank you. I’m still learning in this space, so I might ask questions that are more well known from folks who are deeply involved.

I can see how software could be cited using DOI. Some scientific packages and tools do give ways to cite in the references section (see scipy citations and tips on citing Jupyter notebook)

However, unless the research is about the software itself, I’m not seeing a common pattern of referencing the tools used in general (or even when it is but there isn’t a groundwork paper for it). The difference between open source and proprietary tools being the expectation of maintenance and continuity of support - we may not cite every tool used in a lab, but we would want to cite a community of volunteers who were ultimately contributors to a final outcome as a result of their time.

That leaves the recognition of “who is a contributor in open source” to a different conversation, mainly one we are having now. The citation of the software used, would allow for that kind of second-order contribution to be linked.

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I’ll invite Alex Holcombe to join this conversation so he can respond :slight_smile:

Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for your comment. Open Source Software projects are near and dear to my heart, too. I agree - recognition for all of the various contributions that are made in those communities are super important to recognize.

Today’s “Software” role within #CRediT is, I think, envisioned to grant recognition to a contributor or contributors who ‘bring the software to the party’ in the sense that they build something that is used within the context of the research the contributors are all contributing to. This means it currently does not make space for, for example, granular recognition of all of the contribs unique to OS projects. “Software” is the deepest level here and can identify who, in the whole group of contributors, made software contributions as defined here: Software – CRediT

That said, this is very much a community standard so we are very interested for both feedback and participation in our working group. I hope this is helpful, but if not, please feel free to follow on with more questions!

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Yes I agree with @AlisonMcG (or course). In terms of crediting software used, then I think that it is good practice to do this as a reference - for example in a recent paper my co-author and I used SPSS (statistics software) and so we referenced the IBM website where the software can be found (as was sure to indicate the version we used).
Your other point about crediting open source software contributors is a MUCH broader one… and something for a (much) longer and later discussion!

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