Saturday, October 08, 2022

An hydrology professor was killed in a shooting

I learned of Prof Meixner because of an outpouring of grief on Twitter by many people I knew of because of my hobby. I include papers and authors related to hydrology and related topics to Wikidata. As they expressed their loss, I started adding papers for Prof Meixner. The result is an evolving Scholia for him and his co-authors.

I have also done some work on some of the people I noticed on Twitter. Their Scholia has been expanded as a result. When they collaborated on research with Prof Meixner, they may pop up in his co-author graph.

Recently I had a tshirt printed with a design from a paper. When people suggest a picture that goes with a DOI and explain why it illustrated one of his papers, I will include the text on my blog. When there are more than one, the one Twitter likes best will get a tshirt.

It is horrible only to learn about someone when he dies like this. Apparantly this is how I deal with it.



Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Diversity for WMF is in its fundraising and in its results

Diversity is a stated objective and the Wikimedia Foundation does a comparatively good job.. except that it could be so much better.

It is known that (read Gapminder) genuinely rich people live in every country. The Wikimedia Foundation as a rule does not target the truly rich and consequently the average donation is low. It makes us independent of the vagaries of the opinions of the really rich. As Wikimedia becomes a truly global organisation, it should raise funds everywhere and report what WMF does locally. 

As we report on what we do locally, it follows that we have an interest for any locality. As local children do use Commons we ask people to upload pictures of a local policeman, firefighter, nurse, police car ambulance etc for them to use. As students read in their own language we easily offer e-books using the hub best suited for the purpose. When as a response we are asked to provide services, we prioritise the local service and we will internationalise and localise to get the most out of our investments.

As we become more global and diverse, the percentage of what the provision of our services will represent more and more the global distribution of people. It will grow our community, it will grow our audience and we will evolve away from an organisation managed from "the center of the world".

Plenty of challenges ahead but not so much the amount of money the highest earners in the WMF get paid. At that I do not give a fuck as long as the job gets done and, so should you.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Hierarchies of scientists from a personal @Wikidata/@Wikipedia point of view


As a hobby I add publications and scholars to Wikidata. I am particularly interested in hydrology, biodiversity and climate change. When I come across scientists, I look them up on Wikidata, I care most about scientists with an ORCiD identifier, I often add Google scholar and Twitter identifiers as well. ]

As there have been many, many papers and scholars for a long time, the impact I have is particularly in scientists new to Wikidata and attributing papers to them. This results in an improved representation that can be seen in their Scholia. When there is a Wikipedia article for a scientist, a template for the Scholia can be added; it will always show the most up to date information.

The way it works out is that I am a "browser", I read Twitter feeds by a scholar, find a publication they enthuse about and I may already be on a tangent adding the papers and scholars. In my job I do not have time to read and comprehend but I have time to mechanically add more papers. I read in the morning, make a pick for the day and I "search" using the Scholia search function with a DOI as the argument. When a paper does not exist I am presented with the option to add it to Wikidata. When its authors can be found because of their ORCiD identifier, they are linked from the start to their Wikidata item.

My personal hierarchy

  • I find a paper, a scholar on Twitter
  • They publish on a subject I am interested in
  • When they are already known to Wikidata, they are linked to the publication I search for
    • When search indicates that an ORCiD identifier exists, I search Wikidata and add a scholar or add an identifier.
    • When Twitter indicates Twitter handles, I add them
    • When I cannot guess the gender, I look at Google scholar for a picture, I add the identifier as well.
  • When a scholar is picked for the day, I add the latest pictures first because they include more ORCiD identifiers for co-authors.
A Wikidata/Wikipedia hierarchy
  • Most valuable are scholars with a Wikipedia article that includes a Scolia template
  • Scholars with a Wikipedia article
  • Scholars with a Wikidata item with many identifiers including an ORCiD identifier.
  • Scholars with only an ORCiD identifier
  • Scholars with no identifiers
  • Scholars only known because of an "Author string"
When I come across an Australian scientists who was rewarded with an award, who has a Twitter account, an ORCiD and a Google Scholar identifier but no Wikidata item, it is someone I will add. So a warm welcome to Heather Neilly. She is of interest to me because of her work as an ecological consultant and in natural resource management for local government. Her latest work is on vegetation change in sheep-grazed chenopod shrublands in South Australia.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Sabina Nowak a Polish scientist, an expert on European wolves

Dr Nowak has a Wikipedia article in several languages. Her notability is obvious because wolves is a very hot topic in many European countries. When people have opinions about wolves, it is obvious that in a European context you cannot dismiss the research of Dr Nowak over the years. 

When the notability and the quality of a Wikipedia article is assessed, it is obvious that an encyclopedic article is not best served with a list of papers Dr Nowak contributed to; the Scholia template provides more in depth information. However, Scholia only functions when the papers are known and attributed.

In Wikidata, there were two items that needed to be merged. Three papers were linked, an additional nine could be attributed. Additional identifiers were added, of particular significance is Google Scholar as it knows many if not most of the papers of a scientist. 

Adding missing papers is easy; you search with a DOI for the paper and when Wikidata does not know it, it is suggested to add it using the quickstatements tool. The best bit is that when CrosRef knows the ORCiD identifier for an author, it will either identify the author or will add the ORCiD identifier as a qualifier. 

Adding the Scholia template to any Wikipedia article about published scholars makes sense; the data is a "work in progress". It changes as more papers and co-authors become known. It is also an invitation to our communities and scientists to improve both the Wikipedia article and the data represented in the Scholias for any scientist.

Thanks, GerardM 

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Herbivory and fire. Automate citations to display them in @WDscholia

When what is there does not easily burn, a fire will be not that damaging. In a forest, a prairie particularly those with wild grazers and browsers, the damage by a wild fire is substantially less. Science describes this effect and science describes the effect of beavers who have a similar beneficial effect.

For the paper "Effects of large herbivores on fire regimes and wildfire mitigation" Wikidata has an item, it links to its eight authors but there are no citations. Like any quality article there are plenty of references on the website for the article but we do not know them yet in Wikidata. There is a bot that goes around and adds citations in its own sweet time but when volunteers like me take an interest, it would be great to tool up for attention for a single paper.

What it would look like is easy; it would show the papers that are known to be citations and enable a one click solution to add them as a citation. Then it would show the papers not known to Wikidata but with a DOI. They can be added one at a time. What is left is the stuff that is cited but takes more effort to annotate. 

The benefits are obvious; science connects what is said before to what is said in a paper and eventually it will be linked to those citing a paper. As more papers from more authors get this royal treatment, Scholia as a tool will become even more relevant for those who care about the references in related Wikipedia articles; its references are referenced.

It is easy to suggest that it should not be hard to implement; there is a bot and it only needs to function for only one paper in stead of serially. It then has to find its way as a tool in Scholia and that opens up a box of user interface related issues. Well worth it (I think) but it then we also need to get the message out that Scholia is very much an active as well as a passive tool.

Thanks, GerardM

Friday, August 13, 2021

You are a #scientist and, you want your papers to be read

People have to know that there is something new out there and Amy D. Willes gets it, she tweeted the news and illustrated it with gorgeous cover art. On Twitter I follow Jens Svenning, he retweeted the news from Amy and it is why there is now a Scholia for the paper.

When you want your paper to be read, you receive optimal results when your paper is used as a reference in Wikipedia. Current Wikipedia references have their references and when people want to review an article, it is only the later papers that provide new insights.

So what can you do for yourself and your papers:
  • Check if your papers or you as a scientist are known
    • a paper has a DOI
    • you have an ORCiD, a Google Scholar et al identifier.. your Twitter id is appreciated
  • You can check your profile using Scholia and you can add papers using Scholia
    • It will identify co-authors with an ORCiD identifier when they are known on the publication at Crossref
Adding yourself or any other scientist is a start; when there is a Wikipedia article, it is great to add a {{Scholia}} as a reference particularly as it will get updated from new papers, cited papers, new papers or because of co-authors that become known.

Obviously a well developed Scholia is a stellar argument to support the notability when a new Wikipedia article for a scientists is considered.

PS you can also add a "main subject" to a paper for instance "woolly mammoth".. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Making Wikicite a success by putting the Wikipedia editor first

Wikicite as a project has come to an end after a five year run. Much has been achieved (read the article). One great follow up idea is to harvest all the references of all the other Wikipedias and have all this data together so that we can analyse our quality even better.

All the data, all the Wikicite activities have been valued; people have been thanked, accomplishments announced and it is now left open how to move on. The best way to move forward is to bring a public to the data and add value. 

Every Wikipedia article has its references and we put Wikipedia editors and readers first when we show all the known references and its relations with older and newer publications. One button that provides the latest information will create buy in, makes it more interesting. It links to papers, to authors and requested updates are not part of a serial but of a targeted process.

A similar service we can provide for the authors of scholarly works. They will find in Wikidata what we know about them, identifiers of VIAF, ORCiD, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Twitter even Scopus. They can improve the information on their publications they can add identifiers, references to other publications, co-authors, subjects and see it improve the associated Scholia representations. What we can do for them is regularly harvest information and update Wikidata with the new or altered information.

When we truly build relationships, it is no longer essential that everything should be on Wikimedia servers. Why have a same project at the Internet Archive and at the Wikimedia Foundation? Why not share the work load. When we put our Wikipedia editors first, we provide them with the best information on literature, publications we have on offer. Most references are in the WaybackMachine anyway, we already rely on this so why not collaborate and share both the effort and the cost?

When we truly care about sharing the sum of all knowledge, it is in the eating that we find the proof, not in the dogma.

Thanks, GerardM