Submissions/The State of Wikimedia Scholarship 2011-2012

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no. 162
Title of the submission

The State of Wikimedia Scholarship (2011-2012)

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Benjamin Mako Hill

When I've given this talk in the past, I've had lots of help from other academics or folks involved in research. This year, there has also been tons of work on the Wikimedia Research Newsletter which has already written a whole tons of summaries over the last year. I've collaborated with many of the contributors to the newsletter to this talk at previous Wikimanias and expect a number of them will join me this time as well.

E-mail address


User:Benjamin Mako Hill

Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University

Personal homepage or blog

Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
This talk is a repeat of Wikimania talks given in 2010 and 2009.

This talk will offer a quick tour of scholarship and academic research on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects from the last year. It will give a birds-eye-view of Wikimedia research and go into depth on a dozen or so of the most important findings from the last year. The goal is to explain both what our community is teaching others and what Wikimedia editors, the foundation, and our community as a whole, might be able to learn about ourselves. While wonderful research will be presented as part of the academic track, this talk will focus on the other important results that will not be presented at the conference.

A quick search of a multi-disciplinary scholarly database over 300 scholarly publications (i.e., articles, books, thesis, etc.) in the last year alone that contain the term "Wikipedia" in their title. Journals and conferences in the social sciences, computational sciences, humanities, engineering, and a variety of other fields have published scholarly works that examine Wikipedia, use data mined from Wikipedia, and try to help us make sense of Wikimedia projects, their people, processes, and artifacts. A half dozen people have now graduated with PhDs earned by studying Wikipedia. There are even conferences --- WikiSym most notable among them --- that focus on wikis and who are heavily biased toward publishing work based on Wikipedia. Even Wikimania has an academic track where scholars are presenting their own Wikimedia and Wikipedia research. What does all this work mean for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects? How can our community learn from academic research into our projects? Does any of this work have anything to teach us about how to run our projects? What does all that academic jargon mean in terms that any editor could understand?

This talk will try to point toward answers to these questions with a quick tour --- a literature review in the scholarly parlance --- of the last year's academic landscape around Wikimedia and its projects geared at non-academic editors and readers. It will try to categorize, distill, and describe, from a birds eye view, the academic landscape as it is shaping up around our project. It will build both the experience of the facilitators, existing resources in our community (e.g., meta:Research:Newsletter, meta:Wiki Research Bibliography, w:Wikipedia:Wikipedia in academic studies), and on research done for this presentation. It will quickly highlight a dozen or so of the most important articles published in the last year on Wikipedia, summarize their results, and describe what these findings might mean for Wikipedia, its editors, and processes.

Wikimedia and its projects are and will remain, for some time, under academia's magnifying glass. This talk will give Wikimedians a view from the other side and help point at where we might go with some of the insight we gain in the process.


WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education

Length of presentation/talk

25 Minutes is possible, but longer (e.g., 45 minutes) would allow us to cover more research.

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Of course!

Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. --Sj (talk) 02:52, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Mindspillage (talk) 04:34, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Great to see this little Wikimania tradition taken up again, and as one of the two editors of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter I would be happy to support it. Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 13:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Pundit (talk) 13:21, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  5. HB-NCBI (talk) 11:01, 21 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Shunlingchen (talk) 17:56, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Johnbod (talk) 13:36, 25 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  8. --Lilaroja (talk) 05:16, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  9. HazelAB (talk) 14:29, 11 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Shujenchang (talk) 12:34, 3 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Groupuscule (talk) 14:29, 9 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  12. vVvA2012 (talk) 00:40, 12 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Nataev (talk) 18:29, 12 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  14. add your name