GitHub users may soon be able to contribute to projects on behalf of an organization. This feature has often been requested by developers who are contributing on behalf of their employers.

“Corporate contributions to the third-party open source projects can still be a source of friction and ambiguity,” GitHub Product Manager Ben Balter said. “We’re beta testing a new platform-agnostic commit pattern we hope can help you contribute on behalf of your employer.”

Committers who are members of an organization can add a commit trailer in the following format:

On-behalf-of: @ORG <ORG CONTACT EMAIL>

The committer must use an email that matches the organization’s verified domain and sign the commit. Committing on behalf of an organization can also be done via the command line.

Balter posted a demo of how the organization’s badge appears next to the committer’s. The feature is now in public beta:

833e155be7949b0341b1387d71b14372 GitHub Is Testing Commits on Behalf of Organizations design tips  News|github

It will be interesting to see how well this is adopted among individuals and organizations committing to open source projects. Some projects have more overt contribution from commercial entities than others. Having individuals commit on behalf of their employers makes it easier to track contributions funded by organizations. It may also provide project owners a more accurate picture of how deeply companies are invested in a project, especially in scenarios where the lines between individual and employer contributions are blurry or unclear.