In the creative arts and scientific literature, an acknowledgement (also spelled acknowledgment in American and Canadian English) is an expression of a gratitude for assistance in creating an original work.
Receiving credit by way of acknowledgement rather than authorship indicates that the person or organization did not have a direct hand in producing the work in question, but may have contributed funding, criticism, or encouragement to the author(s). Various schemes exist for classifying acknowledgements; Cronin et al. give the following six categories:
Apart from citation, which is not usually considered to be an acknowledgement, acknowledgement of conceptual support is widely considered to be the most important for identifying intellectual debt. Some acknowledgements of financial support, on the other hand, may simply be legal formalities imposed by the granting institution. Occasionally, bits of science humor can also be found in acknowledgements.
There have been some attempts to extract bibliometric indices from the acknowledgments section (also called "acknowledgments paratext") of research papers in order to evaluate the impact of the acknowledged individuals, sponsors and funding agencies.
The spelling acknowledgement is used in British English, Australian English, and other English-speaking areas outside North America, whereas the spelling acknowledgment (without the e after the g) is often used in American English and Canadian English.