December 05, 2011

Thing 20: Join the Wikipedia Community

So far we’ve explored some of the online services on offer to researchers, which can help make collaboration easier, more productive and enjoyable, and hopefully you are now feeling a little bit more confident and open to collaborating. The best way to start is by engaging with a well-established collaborative team, on a project that most of us use everyday (even if we pretend not to): Wikipedia. This is surprisingly easy to do, even if you are not a technological wiz kid. Although Wikipedia started as an encyclopaedia written by “experts”, academics are not all contributing and it could be a valuable arena with which to engage and disseminate research. If your article is linked from Wikipedia, more people will read your work and your repository statistics will improve— and because Wikipedia is not a specialist academic encyclopedia, your research will have reach and impact beyond the academic community.

Researchers at Warwick are referenced on Wikipedia, for example the work of Prof. Jacqueline Labbe (English; Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies) on eighteenth-century writer Charlotte Smith is extensively referenced, and includes several talking-head videos of her discussing the life of Charlotte Smith, which can also be found on Youtube. Click on the link in Further Information (below) for examples of Warwick (WRAP) papers referenced in Wikipedia.

For the final Thing in “Collaborative Working” we are asking you to join the Wikipedia community and edit a page of your choosing (no matter how small your contribution is). You can start by simply engaging with your research field, or a field of interest. Perhaps you have recently read something of interest that is not referenced on a Wikipedia page. Simply click on the “edit” tab at the top of the page (not all pages are editable, but most are). This will bring up a text box with the editable text, to which you can then add. Help with formatting is readily available. Just follow these step-by-step instructions to get started.

Congratulations! You are now a collaborator!

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