The open science movement is fighting to make scientific research – especially publicly funded research – more transparent, freely accessible and reusable. The goals of open science are closely aligned with our mission, yet for years there has been little institutional contact between our movement and initiatives such as Open Access and Open Data. Joining forces with individuals and organizations who are working to promote a culture of openness in the scientific community should be high on our agenda.
How can we achieve this goal? The Wikimedia Foundation is currently working on a set of policies to enforce the release of its research data and research output in the open and to incentivize researchers who seek our support or collaboration to do the same. More importantly, today we are thrilled to announce that our community is in a stronger position to bridge the gap with the open science movement. Daniel Mietchen – a biophysicist based in Germany, outspoken open data and open access advocate, and active member of the Wikimedia Research Committee – is the recipient of a grant from the Open Society Foundations and will become the first Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science with a focus on Open Access (OA).
The WiR program has been an immense success in the context of other initiatives such as GLAM. But what exactly is the mission of a Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science? In Daniel’s words, “a Wikimedian in Residence is someone trusted by and in good contact with both the Wikimedia and the partner communities who can guide article development on the target topics and help to keep in focus the common goals, in our case: improving Open Access coverage and reuse
in WMF projects”.
As Daniel reports in his programmatic blog post, content from Open Access publishers is already widely used on Wikimedia projects, yet traditional publishers still receive way more citations from Wikipedia articles than their open counterparts. There are lots of one-time image and media donations to Wikimedia but ongoing donations from reusably licensed OA sources have not received adequate attention yet. Likewise, contents from suitably licensed text sources are systematically being used in WMF projects, but OA sources much less so.
Daniel’s mission is to facilitate the reuse of materials from Open Access articles in WMF projects, to improve coverage of topics related to Open Access in the English Wikipedia, to support the implementation of the WMF’s Open Access policy and to explore the potential for the WMF community to collaborate with Open Access, Open Science and Open Knowledge initiatives in general. In the long run, the project is designed to extend beyond Open Access and into Open Science proper, as well as into other languages and possibly other collaborative projects. The directions this project ultimately aims to explore, and how to go about the exploration, will be determined in part on the basis of community feedback received during the pilot phase. The host of the project is the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, which will also act as a content partner and as a contact point for external expertise on matters of Open Knowledge, especially Open Data.
How can you help support this initiative?
- submit requests for illustrations of articles on scientific topics, to help identify suitable images from OA sources
- share your views on the Open Access and Open Data policy draft
- help us understand how to coordinate OA activities across languages and projects
- check out OA journals as a potential source for articles and media and for Picture of the day/month/year
- help connect this project with other GLAM and outreach projects
Daniel Mietchen, Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science
Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst
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