Twelve years after its launch, Wikipedia continues to attract a large amount of attention from scholarly research trying to understand what made this one of the most remarkable collaborative efforts in history and what makes it work. Researchers have called Wikipedia “our Everest” (because of its complexity and cultural importance) or “the Drosophila (fruit fly) of social software” (because the project’s transparency and freely available data make it accessible and popular as a research subject).
In 2011, we launched a monthly Wikimedia Research Newsletter with the aim of covering recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Published jointly by the Wikimedia Research Committee and the Signpost (the English Wikipedia’s community-edited newspaper), it has established itself as a comprehensive outlet enabling both researchers and Wikipedians to stay on top of current research, aiming to facilitate exchange between these two communities.
Today we are announcing the release in the public domain of a curated corpus containing the bibliographic references of all 225 publications reviewed or covered in the second volume of the newsletter, forming a historical record of Wikipedia research in the year 2012. This corpus can be browsed online or downloaded, ready to be imported into reference managers or other literature collections. Papers in this dataset have been marked as either open access or closed access .
Last year, we published a similar dataset for volume 1 (2011). Together, these releases complement other efforts to catalogue the research literature on Wikipedia, in particular the WikiLit project which focuses on publications until June 2011, prior to the launch of the newsletter.
A year ago we launched the @WikiResearch news feed on Twitter and Identi.ca, covering new preprints, papers or research-related blog posts, before they are reviewed more fully in the Newsletter. As of February 2013, it has gained 745 followers and continues to be actively updated.
We also started offering the newsletter in form of an HTML email newsletter (in addition to the announcements of each new issue on the Wikiresearch-l mailing list, which only contain the table of contents). This experiment proved successful, too, with almost 100 subscribers to date (adding to the thousands of pageviews each issue receives when published as part of the Signpost, on Meta-wiki and on this blog). You can sign up to receive a copy of each new issue in your inbox as soon as it comes out.
The Newsletter is a collaborative effort and would not exist without the following 22 people who contributed reviews and summaries in 2012:
Aaron Shaw, Amir E. Aharoni, Angelika Adam, Bence Damokos, Benjamin Mako Hill, Daniel Mietchen, Dario Taraborelli, Diederik van Liere, Evan Rosen, Heather Ford, Jodi Schneider, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Lambiam, Nicolas Jullien, Oren Bochman, Phoebe Ayers, Piotr Konieczny, Adam Hyland, Sage Ross, Steven Walling, Taha Yasseri, Tilman Bayer
More than half of our contributors are researchers themselves, who have published about Wikipedia in peer-reviewed publications. We are also grateful for the help of several Signpost collaborators in copyediting and preparing the final publication every month.
Finally, thanks to everyone for reading the Wikimedia Research Newsletter, and please
consider contributing by pointing us to new research we should cover, or by volunteering to review new publications.
The editors of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter:
Tilman Bayer, Senior Operations Analyst
Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst