Collective credit allocation in science

H.-W. Shen, A.-L. Barabasi
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
111:34, 1-6 (2014).
August 26, 2014

Abstract

Collaboration among  researchers is an essential component of the modern scientific enterprise,  playing a particularly important role in multidisciplinary research. However,  we continue to wrestle with allocating credit to the coauthors of  publications with multiple authors, because the relative contribution of each  author is difficult to determine. At the same time, the scientific community  runs an informal field-dependent credit allocation process that assigns  credit in a collective fashion to each work. Here we develop a credit  allocation algorithm that captures the coauthors' contribution to a  publication as perceived by the scientific community, reproducing the  informal collective credit allocation of science. We validate the method by  identifying the authors of Nobel-winning papers that are credited for the  discovery, independent of their positions in the author list. The method can  also compare the relative impact of researchers working in the same field,  even if they did not publish together. The ability to accurately measure the  relative credit of researchers could affect many aspects of credit allocation  in science, potentially impacting hiring, funding, and promotion decisions.

Related publications