Wikipedia contributors ‘should be proud’

Academics should be proud about the contributions they make to Wikipedia, instead of treating them like a “shameful secret”.

June 30, 2013

Wiki keys

That is the view of an academic who is to work as an ambassador for interaction between scholars and the online encyclopaedia.

Martin Poulter, new media manager in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, said experts from across academia were helping to improve Wikipedia pages that cover topics in their areas of expertise, but that trumpeting such work was often frowned upon.

“Improving Wikipedia is an important way of promoting greater understanding among the general public about their own research areas,” he told Times Higher Education.

“An academic paper might be read by relatively few people, but Wikipedia articles reach a massive audience. It’s often the first place people look for information on a topic. Unfortunately, editing articles on Wikipedia is often regarded as a shameful secret.”

Dr Poulter, who is an active Wikipedia editor himself, is to head up a project that will aim to promote a better working relationship between academia and Wikimedia UK - the national charity that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wiktionary and Wikiversity.

It wants to encourage more experts to use their knowledge to improve the quality of theencyclopaedia’s articles, while at the same time helping them to ensure their work reaches a wider audience.

Among other activities, the £30,000 project – which is jointly funded by Wikimedia UK and Jisc, and will run for around nine months - will arrange events and briefings to help researchers to engage with Wikipedia.

Peter Findlay, Jisc programme manager, said: “Our communities have worked hard to develop academic rigour but equally Wikimedia’s community has developed a rigorous approach to publishing crowd-sourced knowledge; it makes perfect sense for us to join forces for the advancement of teaching, learning and research.”

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Principal Lecturer - Academic Lead roles GREENWICH SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT LTD
Head of Brand UNIVERSITY OF DERBY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Track runner slow off the starting blocks

Lack of independent working blamed for difficulties making the leap from undergraduate to doctoral work

A keyboard with a 'donate' key

Richard Budd mulls the logic of giving money to your alma mater

Quality under magnifying glass

Hefce's new standards regime will enable universities to focus on what matters to students, says Susan Lapworth

Woman tearing up I can't sign

Schools and universities are increasingly looking at how improving personalities can boost social mobility. But in doing so, they may be forced to choose between teaching what is helpful, and what is true, says David Matthews

Door peephole painted as bomb ready to explode

It’s time to use technology to detect potential threats and worry less about outdated ideas of privacy, says Ron Iphofen