I'm looking for a way to list the contributors to a code project in the project description. After seeing the responses to Does "collaborated by" make sense?, I started thinking of substitute words to replace "collaborated by" with.

My next idea was to use "authored by", like shown below:

Unicorn is an amazing tool that does super, cool stuff. Project authored by James Smith and Olivia Jones.

Can "authored by" be used to describe a code project?

When I googled the definition of "authored", I got the following results:


past tense: authored; past participle: authored

  • be the author of (a book or piece of writing).
    "she has authored several articles on wildlife"
  • be the originator of; create.
    "the concept has been authored largely by insurance companies"

I'm not sure if a code project falls into any of these categories.

The first definition seems to be specific for writing, so is source code considered a piece of writing?

The second definition is much more general, but it is not clear what this usage can be applied to. Not everything that can be "created" can be "authored".

For example:
"The construction worker created a house" makes sense.
"The construction worker authored a house" does not make sense.

  • 1
    You are reading the definition as saying that authored means any creation, whereas I read it as a writing creation. Authored by sounds right were you need it, so does created by and the classic developed by. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 17:59
  • @YosefBaskin The second example is talking about a concept, so it is not just for writing.
    – Tot Zam
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 18:00
  • On the Google definition, the second definition is a bullet underneath the first one for writing, not a separate definition. If you believe that authored can be used for any creation, you can them use it that way, but it looked like you were asking for guidance. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 18:18
  • @YosefBaskin I didn't notice that. That does change things. How does a concept fall into the writing category then? And I guess, based on your first comment, you are saying that source code can be considered a piece of writing. Is that correct?
    – Tot Zam
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 18:21
  • 1
    Yes, coding is writing. Some is more efficient, some is easier for the next developer to read and follow, some is more self-documenting, some is better documented in English 'remarks' per instruction or at least per page or procedure. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is:

authored by XYZ would be the most fair and logical choice if XYZ actually represents the sole author, or, small group of authors, which are all named at XYZ. It would also make sense if it's a large group which did create the original project but that is so large it cannot be named individually (i.e., The Semantics & Language Processing Team).

contributed to by XYZ would be the most fair and logical choice if XYZ represents quite a large group of people that might not include the original creators, or the name of a large group which contributed but didn't have any major players that actually designed the original work (i.e., The Semantics & Language Processing Team).

created by XYZ can be used for either of the above scenarios but it would be more fair to use it to be roughly equal to "authored by XYZ" with a special note of "contributions by XYZ".

Source: Nearly 30 years of experience in computer science and the tech field as a software developer, network engineer, network administrator, software architect, program manager, software dev manager, and director of technology.

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