Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Slow Editing towards Equity

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Slow Editing towards Equity
start and end datesJune 2022 – June 2023
budget (USD)30,000-39,999 USD
applicant(s)• textaural



Applicant's Wikimedia username. If one is not provided, then the applicant's name will be provided for community review.


Project title

Slow Editing towards Equity

Entity Receiving Funds

Provide the name of the individual or organization that would receive the funds.

Dr. Steve Jankowski, University of Amsterdam

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.

Over the past decade, there has been a significant and concerted effort to address both Wikipedia's knowledge equity and the relative stagnation in increasing and retaining editors. This has manifested in article creation initiatives like Art+Feminism and Whose Knowledge?. However, knowledge equity is not just a question of content — it is also about process. As Amanda Menking and Jon Rosenberg recently argued in ""WP:NOT, WP:NPOV, and Other Stories Wikipedia Tells Us"" (2020), Wikipedia's policy environment reinforces problematic norms about knowledge processes. However, what can be done about these community-defining features? Unlike their article counterparts, policies are slow to change, conservative in their iterations, and they rely on community precedent rather than external sources of authority for legitimacy; and often serve as important resources of Wikipedian identity. Given this importance to constructing the community, policies are important area that should also be examined.

Given this situation, the research project proposes that in order for the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction on knowledge equity to succeed, these concerns about Wikipedia's policies must be addressed. While there have been numerous studies about the content and the organizational value of policies, the actual activity of collaborating to create them has been understudied. It is therefore necessary to first understand how Wikipedian policies are created, how they change, and what they mean to Wikipedians. To fill this gap, the proposed research will answer the following questions: What percentage of English Wikipedians have historically contributed to policy development? To what degree have these users worked together across multiple policies? As well, which socio-technical activities have been historically enlisted to make and reject proposals? Furthermore, which processes are involved to legitimate these community practices? In addition to this background, the research will also identify which policies English Wikipedians perceive to be the most important to maintaining the integrity of the project. The research goal is therefore to identify which features of the policy environment are flexible enough to withstand change, identify the means to enact that change, and to make recommendations about the knowledge equity of policies that are within the scope of established Wikipedian practices.


Approximate amount requested in USD.


Budget Description

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

  • 20,285.00 —Direct personnel costs for 400 hours
  • 1120.00 — Report design
  • 2000.00 — Conference travel, registration, and accommodation
  • 1200.00 — Green open access publishing costs
  • 700.00 — Editing costs
  • 849.00 — Software costs
  • 3923.00 — Overhead


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.

Given the social significance of policies, the major impact of the work will be in increasing the sustainability of the Wikimedia movement. This will be by identifying gaps in policy that are necessary for the needs of all English Wikipedians. This research will also provide a precedent for similar research and changes to be made in other language versions also seeking knowledge equity at the level of policies. It is anticipated that the research and its dissemination will elicit the same effect as concerns over the exclusion of groups and cultures in Wikipedia's articles — that is — to inspire new users to become Wikipedians and develop new Wikiprojects dedicated to improving the encyclopedia.


Plans for dissemination.

This research project will be disseminated to three key groups. First, Wikipedians will be made aware of the project, its development, and its reports through Wikiproject talk pages, noticeboards, social media networks, and the Wikimania conference. Second, the research will be disseminated to academic communities through mailing lists, peer-reviewed publications, and conferences. Third, international news organizations will be contacted to disseminate the research to the broader public.

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.

Wikipedia has been my research topic for over a decade for both my PhD dissertation and Master's thesis. I have disseminated this research as a book chapter as well as at several academic conferences. Additionally, I have also coordinated three Wikipedia workshops at academic conferences.

More directly related to Wikimedia initiatives, I presented my research at Wikimania 2017 and I was the Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the University of Windsor in Canada from 2018 to 2020. I have also contributed three article reviews to the _Wikimedia Research Newsletter_.

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.