Acknowledgment (science)

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A Thanksgiving ( . On English : Acknowledgment . British English: Acknowledgment ) is a widely used form in published media such as books or scientific publications , thanks towards helpers and supporters in the form of a Thanksgiving express. In addition to the persons mentioned by name, the thanks also extend to funding institutions, host institutions during a research semester or a research trip, and guests at research seminars or scientific conferences .

Acknowledgments are usually found immediately after the foreword or dedication for books and as a footnote on the title page for specialist articles. It is thus a form of paratext .

to form

The reasons for authors to express gratitude for support during the scientific process can be many. The information scientist Blaise Cronin subsumed existing typologies in 1995 and differentiates into six categories:

  1. Financing ( paymaster ) through grants or grants
  2. moral support ( moral support ) by the home institution of the author, his family or in the form of provision of equipment
  3. editorial support ( dogsbody ) in the form of secretarial work or assistance with data analysis
  4. technical assistance ( technical ) for handling computer programs and programming languages
  5. Idea generation ( prime mover ) as inspiration from doctoral supervisors or mentors
  6. intellectual support ( trusted assessor ) through criticism and comments from colleagues

The first two categories relate to access to resources, categories three and four relate to procedures, while the last two categories are concept-related. Colleagues are not always listed by name in the acknowledgment: a reviewer in the peer review , as he is unknown to the author, is often thanked anonymously ( anonymous referee ) for suggestions, in addition to other ideas and critics.


The meaning and shape vary significantly across the various disciplines, as different support is required in each discipline. For example, in 1995 three major economic journals ( American Economic Review , Journal of Political Economy, and Quarterly Journal of Economics ) thanked about twice as many colleagues for intellectual support as three biology counterparts ( Quarterly Review of Biology , Journal of Experimental Biology) and Biological Bulletin ). This is related to the fact that (laboratory) equipment and physical support are far more important in natural sciences than in social sciences, where social interaction plays a far greater role. Another reason are different publication cultures and the intensity of cooperation with editors.

The meaning of the categories of thanks also changes over time. Another study examining publications in the cell biology journal Cell found in 2006 that the importance of moral (or organizational) support and editorial assistance stagnated between 1975 and 2006, while that of the other categories steadily increased.


  • Blaise Cronin : The Scholar's Courtesy: The Role of Acknowledgment in the Primary Communication Process . Taylor Graham, Los Angeles 1995, ISBN 0-947568-66-2 , pp. 124 (English, online [PDF; 290 kB ]).

Individual evidence

  1. a b B. Cronin (1995), pp. 42-43
  2. ^ David N. Laband, Robert D. Tollison: Intellectual Collaboration . In: Journal of Political Economy . tape 108 , no. 3 , 2000, pp. 632-661 , doi : 10.1086 / 262132 (English).
  3. ^ Blaise Cronin, Sara Franks: Trading Cultures: Resource Mobilization and Service Rendering in the Life Sciences as Revealed in the Journal Article's Paratext . In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology . tape 57 , no. 14 , 2006, p. 1909–1918 , doi : 10.1002 / asi.20407 .