Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Could featured articles reveal insights about the trustworthiness of Wikipedia

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statusnot funded
Could featured articles reveal insights about the trustworthiness of Wikipedia? A comprehensive study of the editing process of featured articles in English Wikipedia
start and end datesJuly 2023 - July 2024
budget (USD)30,000 - 40,000 USD
fiscal year2022-23
applicant(s)• Renita Murimi



Renita Murimi

Affiliation or grant type

University of Dallas


Renita Murimi

Wikimedia username(s)

Renita Murimi

Project title

Could featured articles reveal insights about the trustworthiness of Wikipedia? A comprehensive study of the editing process of featured articles in English Wikipedia

Research proposal[edit]


Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.

Wikipedia is at the crossroads of a crucial public conversation: to trust or not to trust. The perceptions of trustworthiness of Wikipedia have widely varied. At one extreme, lie the recommendations to bans citing Wikipedia due to its untrustworthiness (see Harvard GSE article, “Truce be told”). At the other extreme, lie recommendations from experts who explicitly mention that they find Wikipedia entries as useful references for their research (see Nature article, “Internet encyclopaedias go head to head”).

This research project aims to study the anatomy of featured articles in Wikipedia in an effort to characterize what a trusted, free Wikipedia could be. Representing roughly 0.1% of the entire English Wikipedia, featured articles are the gold standard of what an article should be and serve as exemplars for the Wikipedia community on accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style. By analyzing the editing attributes of featured articles, this project will shine a light on the unique editing process that accompanies the caliber of featured articles. The insights from this project will serve as a blueprint for the Wikipedia community of new and ongoing contributors on how to approach the process of content creation and curation in Wikipedia. Wikipedia has acknowledged that the initial low barriers to entry for editing have now been replaced largely by high barriers created by lack of transparency and awareness of the editing process, layers of monitoring and maintenance, and poor community-building efforts that drive away new editors.

The main research question is: What are the attributes of the editing process of featured English Wikipedia articles? To the best of my knowledge, a detailed analysis of the editorial process of featured articles has not been undertaken. In this project, I plan to determine the salient markers of the editorial process of featured articles in an effort to increase the adoption of Wikipedia as a trusted, free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. While not every article can be a featured article, every Wikipedia entry can benefit from the lessons offered by the editing process that featured articles have undergone.

Giles, J. Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature 438, 900–901 (2005).

Hough, L. Truce be told. Harvard Graduate School of Education. (2011).


  • None


Approximate amount requested in USD.

30,000 - 40,000 USD

Budget Description

Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).

The funds will be used to support my salary, a research assistant, open access publication fees, conference participation costs, and meet the university’s overhead specifications for grants.

Salary and benefits: $19,000 – To support my research efforts.

Research Assistant: $8,000 – To support a research assistant.

Conference participation: $3,000 – Conference expenses.

Open Access journal publication fees: $2,000

Institutional overhead: $4,950 – For the university's overhead expenses.


Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.

This research project deals with the topic of knowledge gaps. The 2030 Strategic Direction has acknowledged that readers question the reliability of Wikipedia primarily because they do not understand the process of article creation. My research project will provide insights from a comprehensive analysis of the editorial process of featured articles and attempt to close the knowledge gap about the quality and trustworthiness of Wikipedia articles.

The 2030 Strategic Direction anticipates high growth from Wikipedia in other languages, and the findings of this project serve as a blueprint for the development of trusted, free encyclopedia in other languages as well.


Plans for dissemination.

I am committed to the dissemination of the findings of this project in a variety of formats and media including, but not limited to publication in an academic journal, the WikiConference, and engaging with the Wiki Education Foundation. The focus of this study on building a free, open, trusted encyclopedia has the potential to engage a broad audience interested in finding reliable, accessible information.

Past Contributions[edit]

Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.

My research interests are centered on understanding how we inhabit our virtual communities, and how we can design these communities to live well. Topics that I have studied include anonymity and inhibition, content sharing incentives, and trolling behavior in online communities.

Murimi, R. (2021). A Subsidy Model for Social Media Interventions. In Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Workshop on AI for Behavior Change.

Bourbon, B. and Murimi, R. (2020) The Vagaries of Online Trolls. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2), MIT Media Lab.

Murimi, R. (2016). An Analysis of Trimming in Digital Social Networks. In Proceedings of the 30th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

I agree to license the information I entered in this form excluding the pronouns, countries of residence, and email addresses under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. I understand that the decision to fund this Research Fund application, the application itself along with all the information entered by my in this form excluding the pronouns, country of residences, and email addresses of the personnel will be published on Wikimedia Foundation Funds pages on Meta-Wiki and will be made available to the public in perpetuity. To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, I agree that any output of my research will comply with the WMF Open Access Policy. I also confirm that I have read the privacy statement and agree to abide by the WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.