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CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) offers 14 roles that, when enumerated alongside a mult-authored publication, renders individual contributions visible.

Here is a simple example from this paper (involving three authors):

AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS

Felix Bittmann: Methodology, Software, Formal analysis, Writing—original draft, Writing—review & editing, Visualization. Alexander Tekles: Software, Data curation, Writing—review & editing. Lutz Bornmann: Conceptualization, Supervision, Project administration, Writing—review & editing.

Now if a journal requires an "author contribution statement" based on CRediT, then does it make sense to provide one if I'm the sole author?

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    Well, not every project requires all roles, so I would say "yes," especially if it's required by the journal. Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 19:12

3 Answers 3

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For many journals, author information is provided not just in the human-friendly rendering of the article as a PDF or webpage, but also in machine-readable database form in order to better support indexing, search, citation analysis, etc.

Thus, if the journal is going to be able to provide this information about complex multi-author papers, they need to populate the database with the appropriate information for all of their papers, including single-author papers.

Furthermore, just because you are the only one playing the roles doesn't mean you're playing all of the roles in the paper: for most papers, many roles go unfilled.

Bottom line: it may feel a little bit silly, but it's easy, doesn't take long, and is valuable for the journal.

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If the journal requires it, then yes, you must provide it. You are, in effect attesting that you are, indeed, the sole author and no one else should be.

Did you really do all this yourself? Yes. Yes I did.

It is a formality. It details those things that might rise to the level of authorship, though not in every case. It is a helpful checklist to think about contributions of any collaborators. But if it is required, then provide it.

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    It's not just a formality, per my answer above.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 20:42
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There is a high chance, that you not did all 14 roles. For examples a PhD student often does not the funding acquisition, resources, or supervision. If some roles are missing, it is an indication, that there are larger structures behind the author, he could rely on.

This might help to distinguish researcher outside of academia and industry, that lack such structures. And it can help young fellas to recognize the amount of work related to these roles.

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