Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How scholars see and use Wikipedia

Erik Moeller, Scholarly community gives feedback regarding Wikipedia, Wikimedia Blog, April 27, 2009.

In February, the Wikimedia Foundation ran a survey with support from the Public Library of Science to explore the attitudes and beliefs of the open access scientific community with regard to Wikipedia. ...

At Wikimedia, we’ve been thinking for a while about ways to directly work with scientists and open access journals. While scientists already contribute to Wikipedia in a self-organized manner (an example being the Gene Wiki effort), we have never made a systematic, large-scale effort to invite them to participate. Our exploratory survey indicates that such an invitation would be welcomed with open arms.

The survey was published on the PLoS website, blog, newsletter and Twitter feed, and the link to the survey was also more widely circulated, most notably in Peter Suber’s open access newsletter. 1,743 self-selected respondents completed the survey. Out of the respondents, 225 identified as PLoS authors. The subsample of authors did not differ remarkably from the general response. In general, respondents expressed a very favorable (58.98%) and somewhat favorable (32.19%) opinion of Wikipedia, and 87.73% indicated they used Wikipedia frequently or occasionally as part of their professional work.

71.03% of respondents supported some form of hyperlinks from open access publications to Wikipedia, and 91.51% supported links from Wikipedia to open access publications. 67.93% of respondents indicated support for large scale efforts to invite scientists to become Wikipedia contributors, and 24.73% indicated support for limited experiments. 81.82% responded they would participate in such an effort to improve Wikipedia, with roughly half of the respondents indicating they would only do so as part of their professional work.

... We’ve had some initial conversations specifically with the Public Library of Science, and are looking forward to continuing them, specifically with an eye to scalable approaches to future collaboration.

More information:

See also our past post on the survey.