Collaboration & Credit Principles

Chris Olah created an amazing post titled Collaboration & Credit Principles. Very relevant to SourceCred because it’s all about improving credit attribution and collaboration. I’ll repost the core principles here as a quick overview, but highly recommend checking out the full post :slight_smile:

Core Principles

  • Always check in with any person who could plausibly be an author or feel like they should be, even if you disagree . Never have authorship or authorship order be decided behind closed doors or without giving people an opportunity to advocate for themselves.
  • Err on the side of sharing credit. Credit isn’t zero sum. It is often in everyone’s benefit to be generous with credit, because it creates an incentive for others to help in the future. It also makes sense to be risk-averse to the possibility of not crediting someone who deserves it, because the harm of not crediting someone who deserves it is often greater than the harm of crediting someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  • Acknowledge anyone you can remember talking to about your research significantly. It costs nothing and builds good will. You can still use stronger language to highlight people who helped you more.
  • Avoid diffusion of responsibility . For example, have someone clearly responsible for checking in with everyone on authorship.
  • Don’t reveal someone else’s unpublished work or merge it into your own without their consent.
  • Remember that you are likely overestimating your own contributions.
  • Act in ways that will make people want to work with you. Enthusiastic collaborators are one of the most precious thing you can have as a researcher.
  • There’s no substitute for emotional labor. Humans have feelings. No magic bullet will remove the need for us to invest energy understanding them and talking them through together.
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Love it, thanks for posting. Fun fact, Chris is a good friend (and we’ve collaborated on some papers*).

*(I’ve tried to get my name changed there from “Dan” to “Dandelion” but it didn’t take)

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