Academic Commons Solution Stories

All contributions to academy commons are attributed

Academic commons are constructed so that all activities that contribute to human understanding and scholarship are attributed unambiguously. This is both to recognise contribution and establish provenance and responsibility. While this recognition can be used by other systems as the basis for the assignment of rewards (e.g. pay, promotion, positions, and honours), commons do not impose an intrinsic hierarchy on participation: attribution is the primary goal within these commons; what work is valuable and to whom is left up to the various other communities and systems to decide.




Attribution is the hallmark of scholarship: statements and works are attributed so that credit can be assigned and provenance and responsibility can be determined. Explicit attribution to a stable identity is also an important safeguard against malicious or irrelevant works within commons, e.g., spam.


Currently, in many disciplines, only writing is rewarded and only for those individuals ​fortunate enough to be officially deemed authors​. Much of the collaborative work that leads to great scholarship is obscured and ignored in this system. Even in disciplines where collaborative work is credited, the value systems that overlay this credit (e.g. first­ and last­ vs. middle authorship, byline vs. acknowledgement) create hierarchies that devalue some forms of participation.


A similar problem pertains to adjudication and editorial work, which is also in many disciplines largely anonymous. This both prevents participants from claiming recognition for their adjudication work and prevents responsibility from being assigned.


Participants in academic commons willingly recognize and nurture the full sweep of activities that comprise the scholarly enterprise. These maximally inclusive commons require new approaches to providing attribution. Basic principles must be that all contribution to research and its dissemination and adjudication is attributed (i.e. recognised explicitly), that such attribution is focussed on description rather than valorisation, and that attribution systems be unambiguous and machine­readable.


This approach requires attribution taxonomies and a reconsideration of traditional loci and forms of attribution : e.g. “authorship” vs. microcredit, open vs. blind peer review.


While open attribution and responsibility is a core value of these academy commons, attribution may be made to a stable, pseudonymous identity when required for ethical reasons or to ensure personal safety.


Adapted from Version .05 Force11 Commons Principles


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Idea No. 30