The Wikimedia Foundation Research Committee (RCom) is a committee created by the WMF staff consisting of Wikimedia volunteers, researchers, and Wikimedia Foundation staff. Its mandate is to help organize policies, practices and priorities around Wikimedia-related research. It maintains the Wikimedia Research Index
The committee's core functions include:
- developing policy around researcher permissions for non-public data
- supporting the development of subject recruitment processes
- reviewing research projects when conflicts-of-interest arise
- articulating and channelling requests for data and technical resources
- helping to formulate the key strategic research objectives of the Wikimedia movement (see strategy.wikimedia.org)
- helping to formulate small tactical experiments related to Wikimedia's strategic goals
- developing an open-access policy as a requirement for significant support from the Wikimedia Foundation
- helping create a "starter kit" for researchers to avoid duplication of effort both by researchers and by the wikipedians being "researched"
- set guidelines for Wikimedians creating and using statistics within Wikimedia.
- set guidelines for use of aggregation and research that singles out Wikimedians
- operate a research request page that in a similar way to the bot request page on EN wiki; Enables wikimedians to request research; Other wikimedians to comment on the viability, desirability and similarity of the request to research that has already happened; and researchers to volunteer to fulfil requests.
The committee may invite applications for membership at regular intervals, and interested candidates may contact the committee at any time. Committee members will be asked to submit an activity self-assessment twice a year, and inactive members will be removed. Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia chapter staff tasked with research are welcome to join the committee's mailing list as non-voting participants, and undergo the normal process for joining and leaving as voting members.
The committee was officially launched on August 25, 2010. The following are current RCom members:
Panagiota Alevizou is a research fellow at the Open University in the UK. She's currently working on a AHRC-EPSRC funded project with the title Media, Community and the Creative Citizen. The project aims to understand the changing landscape of digital and physical media and how they can be used to transform communities and support creative citizenship. She has been involved in researching open content, encyclopaedias and role of Wikimedia projects in the Open Educational Resources for a number of years. Also as part of the wikisym community, she has been working on issues surrounding wikipedia article quality and the perceptions of readers and/or readers' experiences. She has also been researching in more details issues surrounding negotiation of authority and expertise in the development of articles and projects, both within the community level and at the interface of the article. She is particularly interested in developing further knowledge and assisting in projects that relate to the re-use of Wikimedia content, particularly in OERs (open educational resources), and in projects relating to community-led design. More at http://design.open.ac.uk/Alevizou/index.htm
Yaroslav Blanter (User:Ymblanter) is an associate professor at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University of Technology. His main research interest is theoretical condensed matter physics.
Ziko van Dijk (User:Ziko) is a German historian working in archives in the Netherlands. His field is contemporary political history; he obtained his PhD at the institute for the history of international relations in Utrecht. As a Wikimedian he edits in several Wikipedias and works on promotional materials and wrote a text-book in German. His scientific interest lies in the comparative study of various Wikipedias, especially small ones.
Aaron Halfaker (User:EpochFail) is a computer science researcher in the GroupLens Research lab at the University of Minnesota specializing in online communities and mass collaboration. His current research related work in Wikipedia centers around the development and maintenance of user scripts (interface modifications) that enable communication or otherwise provide insight into the editing process and studying their effects.
Daniel Mietchen (User:Mietchen) is a biophysicist by training and currently Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science as well as a consultant on web-based science. He has a general interest in integrating collaborative activities in wikis and similar environments with scholarly workflows in the framework of open science, particularly with original research, encyclopaedic knowledge, open access publishing, reputation systems and scientific networking as well as teaching and outreach. His home wikis are Citizendium and OpenWetWare, and he also contributes to a number of other wiki communities, including several Wikimedia wikis, Encyclopedia of Earth, Scholarpedia and WikiEducator.
Goran S. Milovanović (User:GoranM) is a researcher in cognitive psychology focused on the study of concepts and categorization, causality, and choice under risk and uncertainty, based in Belgrade, Serbia. Goran is currently writing a PhD thesis on the rationality of human cognition at the University of Belgrade. In 2001. he started another line of research focused entirely on Internet usage, user attitudes and the transition of human societies towards the Information Society; this line of research is based on large samples and research methods of social psychology, extensively relying on statistical modeling. He co-edited a number of books on Internet research and managed the Center for Research on Information Technologies in Belgrade. He has also cooperated with DiploFoundation on a number of Internet Governance related research projects; in 2009, he acted as a Researcher Manager & Data Analyst for the Internet Governance Forum: Identifying the Impact study which provided initial insights about the effects of the UN's Internet Governance Forum.
Erik Moeller (User:Eloquence) is Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Erik is a software engineer by training, and inaugurated the original Wikimedia Research Network and mailing list. He is interested in developing the research committee into a key function supporting the Wikimedia movement, similar to the chapters committee.
Mayo Fuster Morell (User:Lilaroja) just finished a Phd. research on “The Governance of online creation communities: Provision of infrastructure for the building of digital commons” at the European University Institute (Florence). She is postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of governance and public policy (University Autonoma of Barcelona) and visiting researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) (Open University of Catalonia). She has been visiting researcher at the School of Information University of California Berkeley and provided teaching assistance at the Communication Department, Stanford University. She is part of the steering committee of the standing group on Internet & Politics of the European Council of Political research.
Cheryl Moy (User:MichChemGSI) has been a Campus Ambassador since 2010 and is interested in increasing the editorship of scientists in Wikimedia Projects. She is a graduate student in chemistry and active on the English Wikipedia.
John Riedl is a professor in the computer science department at the University of Minnesota. His research interests are focused on developing intelligent user interfaces that help groups of people work together more efficiently than they can unaided. You can see some of his research papers at his group's web site www.grouplens.org. In Wikipedia John has been focusing on research that involves machine learning algorithms combined with novel front ends to deliver new ways for editors to work in Wikipedia. Perhaps the best known of these projects is SuggestBot, which helps editors find articles they can contribute to.
Dario Taraborelli (User:DarTar) is a researcher in cognitive science and social computing, currently a senior research analyst with the Wikimedia Foundation's strategy team. Formerly based in London, he was previously a lecturer at the School of Communication of Sciences Po (France), a postdoctoral fellow with the Centre for Research in Social Simulation, University of Surrey and a Marie Curie Fellow with the Psychology Department at University College London. He holds an MSc and PhD in cognitive science from EHESS (France) and a MA in Philosophy of Science from University of Pisa (Italy). His research interests focus on online peer production, online trust/reputation and distributed cognition. He is actively involved in the WikiSym community and he develops analytics projects focussed on measuring online peer production and collaborative tagging systems. More: http://nitens.org/taraborelli
Denny Vrandecic (User:Denny) is a research associate at the Institute AIFB at KIT Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and currently visiting researcher at ISI Information Sciences Institute at USC in Los Angeles, CA. He studied Computer Science and Philosophy at the University of Stuttgart, and received a PhD from KIT on the topic of ontology evaluation. He co-organized several workshops at WWW and ISWC, co-chaired the scientific track of Wikimania 2008, and co-chaired the ESWC2010 Web of Data track. He was the first administrator and bureaucrat of the Croatian Wikipedia. He is co-inventor of the Semantic MediaWiki system (SMW). More: http://denny.vrandecic.de
User:WereSpielChequers is an editor primarily on the English wikipedia but also on strategy and occasionally on various other projects. I started the Death anomalies table - a project to identify anomalies between Wikipedias. I've studied the adminship process on EN Wiki (Wikipedia Signpost/2010-08-09), and been involved in various discussions and attempts to quantify, explain and resolve the drought that has affected the adminship process since early 2008. I'm also interested in the way we treat or mistreat new wikipedians and started and subsequently had to suspend a research project on our new page patrolling process (Wikipedia Signpost/2009-11-09). So I've experience of what is and is not acceptable research as far as Wikipedians are concerned.
Luca de Alfaro is on leave from UC Santa Cruz, where he is an associate professor of computer science, and he is currently at Google, Inc. His interests include online collaboration, reputation systems, and game theory. He is one of the co-developers of WikiTrust, a reputation system for wiki authors and content. At Google, he has worked on the development of reputation systems for Google Maps and other applications.
Milos Rancic (User:Millosh) (1973) is a Wikimedian involved in a couple of Wikimedia bodies (stewards, Language committee, Chapters committee and Wikimedia Serbia as its Secretary-General). He is working as Development and Research Director of the archiving company Ebart. He is a system administrator by training and he is a student of general linguistics. His primary interest in Wikimedia research lies in building effective scientific networks around Wikimedia projects based on mutual interests of researchers and Wikimedians.
The committee aims to conduct its affairs publicly, and will choose private communications only where appropriate and required. The committee has a publicly archived, members-only mailing list, rcom-l, not to be confused with the public wiki-research-l list which is open for subscription by anyone.
The RCom runs a public IRC channel on freenode for real-time discussion of research policies or WMF support to researchers: #wikimedia-rcom If you wish to get in touch with the committee, you can contact Dario Taraborelli (firstname.lastname@example.org)