Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Dear Katherine: Socialization Tactics in Wikipedia and Their Effects

In the contract of Wikimedia employees it says that they are not allowed to blow their own horn in any of the Wikimedia projects. It is according to a very senior Wikimedia official why they cannot add/contribute to information to scientific papers like Socialization Tactics in Wikipedia and Their Effects in Wikidata.

Dear Katherine, you will agree with me that this is a perverse effect of a well intentioned item in personnel contracts. So let me tell you more about the effects and how we can overcome this issue.

As you know, there is a thriving research community and its recorded presentations showcase the  research on Wikimedia projects. These presentations are recorded and may be found on YouTube. Typically these showcases are based on scientific papers. They should be recorded in Wikidata with all the details like it is done for any and all subjects. When a paper is properly covered, we know all its authors, the papers it cites and in time the papers who in turn cite the paper. When an author is well covered, we know every paper published, co-authors, subjects, subjects, citing authors. We know this because of Scholia. Scholia is what prevents Wikidata from being a stamp collection, Scholia is what makes a subject come alive, it is what brings data together, makes it digestible and gives it relevance.

Not so for subjects relating to Wikimedia apparently for contractual reasons. There are several strategies to overcome this. But first let us decide what we are, what we do and why this matters.

Wikimedia is a publisher of scientific papers; currently there are three and in order to raise the impact of the papers it publishes, they have to gain visibility. To do this we can associate with ORCID, and publish and certify all the details of papers to its authors. One of the things we do on a big scale, is re-publish data from ORCID. They have a program whereby they can sync their information with ours.. They collaborate with Crossref and so could we. When we do, we make Open Science much more visible.

Dear Katherine, what we have shown is that we can and do care about publications, about citations. We care about science. The least we want is our own research to be presented the best we can. In order to achieve this we have to consider the unintended impact of a provision in a labour contract and overcome this self inflicted barricade.

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