Definition: A formal addition or activity in a research context. Contribution and contributor statements, including acknowledgments sections in journal articles, are attached to research products to better classify and recognize the variety of labor beyond “authorship” that any intellectual pursuit requires. Contribution is an evolving “source of data for understanding the relationship between authorship and knowledge production.” (Lariviere et al., p.430). In open source software development, a contribution may count as changes committed onto a project’s software repository following a peer-review (known technically as a pull request). An example of an open-source project accepting contributions is NumPy (Harris et al., 2020).

Related terms: authorship, CRediT, Semantometrics

References: Knoth and Herrmannova (2014), Larivière et al. (2016), & Holcombe (2019)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Micah Vandegrift, Jamie P. Cockcroft, Dominik Kiersz, Michele C. Lim, Leticia Micheli, Sam Parsons, Gerald Vineyard

Note that we are currently working on an automated mechanism to link references cited above with their full-length version that can be found at with all references used so far.