- Dylan Walker and Hyunuk Kim
Affiliation or grant type
- Chapman University; Boston University Metropolitan College
- Dylan Walker and Hyunuk Kim
- How Does Wikipedia Disseminate Science?
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 plays a critical role in digesting scholarly and scientific knowledge and making it accessible to the general public. To what extent does it achieve the mission of “overcoming social, political, and technical barriers” in disseminating such knowledge? Recent work has mapped scholarly and scientific citations in Wikipedia. Yet, an understanding of how digested science on Wikipedia pages is disseminated to the general public is not known. We will tackle this question by looking at how Wikipedia acts as a “disseminator of science” both by looking at direct consumption and through diffusion (sharing).
First, we will examine how Wikipedia moderates public consumption of digested science through direct consumption. We will break down the consumption of Wikipedia pages that cite scholarly and scientific work by domain and topic of science articles and relate it to public funding of that science. We will attribute consumption of Wikipedia pages (pageviews) to the scientific articles that they cite. Do Wikipedia pages confer more attention to some types or domains or topics of science than others? How does this compare to public investment (funding)? We will study how “Wikipedia as a disseminator of science” faces and potentially circumvents language barriers and access barriers. For example: To what extent does Wikipedia digest scholarly and academic work in English and make it available to non-English speakers? Do low resource language editions of Wikipedia confer different attention to domains or topics of science as compared to English Wikipedia? To what extent do Wikipedia pages cite scientific articles that are behind a paywall? When personal preprints or other publicly accessible versions of scientific articles are available, are they linked to citations in Wikipedia?
Second, we will look downstream to understand how Wikipedia moderates public consumption of digested science through the broader fabric of the internet. Wikipedia pages are shared through a variety of channels including social media and aggregator sites (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, Reddit). How do these different channels convey attention to science through Wikipedia? We will use available APIs (YouTube, Twitter API) and data (pushshift.io Reddit data) to study how Wikipedia pages that mediate access to science are shared and what engagement they foster.
Approximate amount requested in USD.
- 48,000.00 USD
Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).
25k - PhD Student support: We will support a PhD student for approximately one year
10k - Summer effort: This will provide summer effort support for Dylan Walker and Hyunuk Kim.
8k - Equipment: We will purchase a computer to analyze data for the research project.
5k - Open access fee: To support open access publishing of our paper.
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.
Our proposed research relates directly to the knowledge equity aspects of the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction.
- Overcoming Access Barriers: Wikipedia provides a means to convey science to the public who often do not have direct access to science due to paywalls and are not familiar with scientific jargon.
- Beyond English Wikipedia: Wikipedia can overcome language barriers by digesting science from articles mostly written in English and summarizing and describing them in a low resource language edition.
Plans for dissemination.
We will write articles that describe our research and findings and publish them in top general interest or field journals (e.g., Proceedings of the National Academy of Science; Information Systems Research).
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.
Dylan Walker co-authored an article with Kai Zhu on addressing information poverty in Wikipedia that won the 2020 Wikimedia Research Award of the Year. He has also published numerous studies on how information and behavior diffuse on online social networks that were published in Science, Management Science, and other journals.
Hyunuk Kim has published research quantifying the structure of science and technology from large-scale bibliographic databases and has worked on the consumption of knowledge on social media.
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