Who is the creator or inventor of coefficient of determination (R-squared) ?

I know that Galton invented correlation.


1 Answer 1


A search on JSTOR shows that this term became quickly and widely adopted in the 1920s. It has been attributed to

Wright, Sewall. 1921. Correlation and causation. Journal of Agricultural Research 20: 557-585.

Wright was one of the giants of 20th century evolutionary biology.

For a rough but readable copy online, see here

  • $\begingroup$ Which words do you put in JSTOR? I cannot find the result by searching? THANKS $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 10:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I searched for "coefficient of determination" (including quotation marks) and then looked at early references. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ I do not know why I cannot get the same results after searching for "coefficient of determination" and pressing "Oldest", but thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ As I said, I looked at references in what came up. I didn't say that this Wright paper is on JSTOR, as it isn't. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ (+1) I was performing a similar search recently. Although I didn't find Wright's paper directly, I easily came upon Bradford Smith's Forecasting the Acreage of Cotton in JASA (1925). Smith quotes Wright in a lengthy footnote and credits him with inventing the term. $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 19:03

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