Jump to content

Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Expanding access to knowledge in the official South African languages – Antarctic Legacy Case Study

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
statusnot funded
Expanding access to knowledge in the official South African languages – Antarctic Legacy Case Study
start and end datesJuly 2023 - July 2024
budget (USD)48880.75 - including overheads USD
fiscal year2022-23
applicant(s)• Juan Steyn, Benito Trollip, Roné Wierenga and Ria Olivier




Juan Steyn, Benito Trollip, Roné Wierenga and Ria Olivier

Affiliation or grant type

SADiLaR; Virtuele Instituut vir Afrikaan, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa


Juan Steyn, Benito Trollip, Roné Wierenga and Ria Olivier

Wikimedia username(s)

Juan Steyn: Hopeful4TheFuture; Benito Trollip: BT1121

Project title

Expanding access to knowledge in the official South African languages – Antarctic Legacy Case Study

Research proposal




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.

  1. Project context:

Increasing access to tools and data that expands access to knowledge in the 11 official South African languages lies central to why the Virtual Institute for Afrikaans and the South African Centre for Digital Language Resource exist. There is a shared understanding of the types of challenges that Wikimedia face in building communities and starting new activities. This project aims to unlock access and create a reusable workflow that can support new members joining and promoting access to research materials not yet available.

  1. What are we planning to do:

The project will create a reusable workflow that can be applied in different research domains to open-up access and research possibilities to diverse and underserved language communities while breaking down participation barriers. The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa’s (ALSA) project will be a key collaborator and will provide “real world” data that can be used and made available for various Wikimedia-related projects.

  1. Through the project, we aim to:

1. Create a workflow that guides research data translation efforts for different user groups and use cases.

2. Develop needed domain-specific research terminology

3. Build the Wikipedia Author community in South Africa through the existing collaboration with Wikipedia South Africa

4. Contribute project outputs to specific language Wikipedias and terminologies to respective Wiktionaries

5. Apply the workflow to a specific case study - The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa

  1. Specific expectations/Outputs

1. Scientific publication on F1000 or a similar open-access platform describing the reusable workflow.

2. Multiple Wikipedia awareness and authorship training sessions in collaboration at regional http://dh-ignite.org events in South Africa

3. Generation of terminologies needed in different languages required to translate research contact to other languages and contribute it to the Wiktionary project similar to what was generated for COVID terminology during the pandemic in South Africa

4. Generation of topics related to the case study project that can be taken up as Wikipedia articles as well as reading articles that can be used by different communities such as schools.

  1. Why this project

We have seen that through collaboration we can go further. The workflow aims not only to show the steps of opening up research fields but also to note the partners and collaborators needed to make it a reality


  • Collaborators from the various Pan South African Language Board's National Language Bodies.



Approximate amount requested in USD.

48880.75 - including overheads USD

Budget Description

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

1) Wikipedia awareness & authorship workshops. Approx: $2785

2) Antarctic Legacy scientific topic generation. Approx: $7234

2.1) Additional text generations in various languages with associated audio recordings as part of VivA’s Wikipedia reading & listening stories for reading literacy in learners’ first language Approx: $16667

3) Terminology & definition creation, verification and standardisation: Approx $14469

4) Open access publication: Approx $1350

All elements of the project are scalable.



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.

A key challenge listed by the Wikimedia movement in terms of what can be improved is removing barriers to access or participation.

1) The project will create awareness on how to join the community and provide training on how to contribute, resources on what to contribute would be available.

2) The project's outputs will contribute directly to the Wiktionary project and remove barriers to writing in languages other than English by providing the required standardised terminology needed to convey scientific material in different registers e.g. more scientific vs use at the school level.

3) Through collaborations with existing initiatives and events diverse participation would be encouraged and strengthened.



Plans for dissemination.

Yes, through especially regional https://dh-ignite.org events general awareness about Wikipedia will take place. Existing collaboration with the SA Wikipedia community will be explored further e.g. linking to UNESCO Decade of Indigenous Languages activities of SADiLaR. A publication will be made in F1000 or a similar open-access platform describing the process of how to run similar capacity-building initiatives to open up different domains to research and general access to knowledge.

Past Contributions


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.

Projects by SADiLaR and its partners are available here: https://sadilar.org/index.php/en/10-news/279-sadilar-projects

Projects related to this proposal: COVID terminology development; Scientific topics generation and coordination bit.ly/3Wk3A8K

The https://escalator.sadilar.org/ project for capacity building the Year of Indigenous Languages Activities

VivA, Reading and listening app bit.ly/3FBMZXl

The Voice of Mzansi project focused on establishing Common Voice platforms for 10 South African languages and building communities to contribute to the creation of open datasets.

Antarctic Legacy Project

The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) project started in 2009 and a large amount of documentation is available on an open-access digital repository.

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.