Flatter relationships

I am thinking of returning json according to the json:api specification for a scientific database / search engine (for mathematicians). My question is about the necessity of the extra “data” layer in the “relationships”

I would somehow like to have

  "type": "articles",
  "id": "1",
  "attributes": {
    "title": "Rails is Omakase"
  "relationships": {
    "author": { "type": "people", "id": "9" }

More precisely: can the value of a “relationships” member be a “Resource Linkage” object or do I absolutely have to add the additional indirection using “data”?

Alternatively, should I make “author” an attribute?

Definitely don’t make author an attribute.

You do need at least the data, links, or meta field. This is from the specification.