1. How can I get involved?
Many ways! Head on over to the Contribute Page for more information.
2. How does the MeRIT system work?
Simple. Rather than using the traditional style of method writing, each part of the research, from running models to collecting data, is accompanied by an initial letting the reader know who performed such an action. Thus increasing transparency, granularity, accountability and allowing appropriate credit to be given.
For an example - head over to the Example Page!
3. What do you do when two (or more) people have the same initials or name?
In the case of similar initials you can spell out family names (e.g. PP = Patrice Pottier and Pietro Pollo would become PPottier and PPollo). For individuals with the same first/last name, you could do one of two things. Either include initials of middle names (if appropriate, e.g., ERIC and EIC) or add the individual’s affiliation (e.g. EIC-Glasgow and EIC-UEA).
4. What do you do when you have many authors on one paper?
In this circumstance you could create a group system where multiple authors are listed in the various large groups in which they participated.
For instance, “LR, HW, PP, KM, CW, LM did this and that. SN, PP, KM, CW, LM did this and that” becomes “Group 1 did this and that. Group 2 did this and that”. A list of authors included in the various groups colud then be included in the supplemental materials or at the start of the methods section.
5. How will this system work when there are restrictive word counts?
It is our belief that this will not substantially alter the length of methods sections. Furthermore, in some journals, there is often no limit on the word count for the methods section. However, if this is indeed an issue, then supplementary methods (SM) could be used to provide added granularity as to precise roles using the MeRIT system. For instance, you could simply expand or copy the methods sections in the SM but alter it to use the MeRIT system.
6. What do you do if you've supervised an action?
As mentioned in the accompanying paper, for supervisory or advisory roles you can still use the MeRIT system, e.g., “REO conducted the statistical analysis with the support of JLP”.
7. What do you do if a consortium is an author?
Consortia can be treated in much the same way as a single author. For instance, they can be simply given at the start of the document where all authors are listed with unique initial for said consortia. We do hope however that the granularity of who performs respective parts of the methods is not simply given by this consortia initial, otherwise the transparency is lost once again.
8. What do you do if an author has a single name?
Authors with single names can be referred to by that name. For example, an author called Salman, might be listed as “Salman”. They would then be listed as “S” elsewhere in the methods. If individual’s share the same first name, possible solutions are listed above in Q3.
9. What happens when the article type is not typical and has reporting of some methods outside of the main Methods section or split into the Supplementary Materials?
MeRIT allows identification of methodological roles throughout the article. This allows for identifying the contributor to all methodological roles throughout the study regardless of placement. For instance, the same principle of transparency using the MeRIT system can apply to sections outside of the methods. We simply used the methods section as an example as this is where most accountability and transparency is needed.
10. Would it cause confusion to readers for credit to be given to non-authors?
Contributors who are not authors are often acknowledged in the Acknowledgements section of an article at present (but not always). Allowing non-authors to be acknowledged in the MeRIT system will enable all contributors to get credit for their work. Regardless, as long as the non-author is clearly labelled and initialled, then we see no reason why this would not be possible.
11. How does MeRIT fit in with blinded reviews?
Good question! To maintain anonymity you could simply replace initials with temporary alternatives. For instance, EIC would become AA, SN would become AB… for the duration of peer review until acceptance and then these could be replaced with identifying initials.
If you have any other questions feel free to suggest or ask them on the Contribute Page