Grants:Project/McMaster University Health Sciences Library Faculty & Researcher Engagement Effort

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statusproposal withdrawn by applicant due to covid-19 restrictions
McMaster University Health Sciences Library Faculty & Researcher Engagement Effort
summaryThis project will foster a culture at the Faculty of Health Sciences that engages faculty, researchers, and health experts to contribute their research findings or knowledge to the improvement of Wikipedia's health and medical content.
targetWikiProject Medicine
type of grantoffline programs and events
amount$37,362.52 CAD
type of applicantorganization
created on21:14, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

McMaster University is Canada’s most research-intensive university since 2017. In 2019 the university received $391.6 million in sponsored research grants. Of those funds, the Faculty of health sciences typically receives $239 million CAD. In 2019, Web of Science indexed 445 systematic reviews or meta-analyses where at least one author is affiliated with McMaster University, all of which were within the field of health or medicine. Despite the university’s significant contributions to health research, there is little to no knowledge of Wikipedia among many researchers and faculty at McMaster. Researchers and faculty could benefit from education around the value of adding their research findings to Wikimedia projects, support to summarize their recently published reviews in relevant Wikipedia health articles, and academic incentive to make these contributions.

What is your solution?[edit]

We propose to solve the above problem through the launch of an education initiative in the Faculty of Health Sciences that aims to foster a community of practice among researchers and supports and encourages contributions to Wikipedia as a valuable research output.

Project goals[edit]

The education initiative will:

  1. Educate researchers and faculty at McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences about DORA, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which encourages funding organizations and academic institutions to “consider the value and impact of all research outputs.., in addition to research publications”. A major funder of health research in Canada, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) has signed this declaration
  2. Provide mentoring and training to teach researchers and their staff how to summarize a published systematic review for inclusion in relevant Wikipedia articles.
  3. Facilitate the cultivation of a relationship between Wiki Education and at least one educational program in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

Project goal outputs[edit]

  1. Create a training curriculum for faculty who wish to edit Wikipedia’s health content or to introduce editing Wikipedia as an educational tool in their classes
  2. Host at least five (5) edit-a-thons using a Wikimedia Project Dashboard to track and report the cumulative impact of these events
  3. Register at least five (5) new editors with faculty or researcher status in the Faculty of Health Sciences

Project goal outcomes[edit]

Tangible change in culture at the Faculty of Health Sciences represented by increased awareness of the value of contributing to Wikipedia’s health content, increased editing activity among members of the Faculty of Health Sciences, and an increase in participation in the Wikimedia community among McMaster University health sciences faculty. Wikipedia's health and medical content only stands to benefit from the exceptional expertise that McMaster University's health sciences and medical faculty and researchers can provide. McMaster University's School of Medicine has blazed the trail of evidence-based medicine. It is well-positioned to blaze a new trail by situating itself as a Canadian university that values openness of, and broad access to, health information and experts

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

Our overarching motivation is to cultivate a culture in the Faculty of Health Sciences that understands and respects the value of improving or creating content in Wikipedia. As such, we will aim to reach at least 50 participants across all edit-a-thons. We also aim to be responsible for the registration of at least 10 new users who go on to edit Wikipedia outside of the edit-a-thons, and create or improve at least 50 pages of Wikipedia’s health content. Content creation or improvement can also include the addition of new copyright-free images to health pages.

Project plan[edit]


  1. Hire a co-op student from the Master of Library and Information Sciences program (Western University, London, ON) to intern as Wikimedian in Residence under supervision of a hlalth sciences librarian and Wikipedian
  2. Design and deliver a training curriculum for faculty and researchers in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Offer this training opportunity three (3) times in an eight (8) month period.
  3. Host five (5) edit-a-thons for faculty and researchers
  4. Conduct a qualitative follow-up survey with all participants to understand whether or how their understanding of Wikipedia’s value in and academic health environment has changed


  • The hourly wage for a student hired as library co-op student/ Wikimedian-in-residence August 2020-April 2021: $26 CAD per hour + 4% vacation pay at 35 hours per week
    • $30,284.80 CAD
  • Overhead costs (e.g. costs to the university for hiring and employing a co-op student): 15% of salary
    • $4,542.72 CAD
  • Cost of benefits for hourly employees (approximately 10% of paid wages)
    • $3,285 CAD
  • Travel to McMaster University’s dsitributed medical campuses, which house medical school students and faculty
    • $600 CAD
  • Support for two people in the library, including the co-op student/Wikimedian-in-residence to attend and/or participate in WikiConference North America in Toronto, Canada in Autumn 2020
    • $2,000 CAD
  • Events budget (e.g. catering, marketing materials, space rentals or education sessions or edit-a-thons). NOTE: All events will be scheduled between November 2020 and April 2021
    • $$3,500 CAD @ $500-$700 per event
  • Financial Institution fees for converting USD to CAD
    • $150 CAD

In-kind contributions from McMaster University: 2-3 months (approximately mid-August to mid-November) of training for the hired co-op student provided by an experienced Wikimedian currently employed as an academic librarian at McMaster University's Health Sciences Library + 5-6 months supervision of the hired co-op student by the same Wikimedian/academic health sciences librarian

Total budget for project: 43,362.52 CAD

Total financial support offered by Health Sciences Library: $6,000 CAD

Total funds requested from WMF: $37,362.52 CAD

Community engagement[edit]

Community input and participation helps make projects successful. How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve during your project?

The health sciences library at McMaster University understands the value of an engaged community of health experts and researchers. Part of this engagement includes understanding that traditional means of disseminating health information are insufficient to provide valuable, high-quality answers to the many questions consumers of health information may have. As an academic institution with a strong collection of health and medical literature, we would like our community of experts to leverage their knowledge with the breadth of information resources made available to them through the library. The library proposes to target the faculty of health sciences because WikiClub Hamilton’s Health Sciences Editing Initiative has begun to lay a foundation for us to build on. Further, the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Program for Faculty Development is keen to explore and encourage a scholarly practice that appreciates the value of alternative research outputs.

The Faculty of Health Sciences extends beyond Hamilton with distributed medical campuses in Kitchener, ON and Niagara, ON. Holding educational sessions for faculty and edit-a-thons for any members of the health sciences community in these campuses will allow us to wholly engage with the entire McMaster FHS community.

Get involved[edit]


Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

Denise Smith (Mcbrarian) is a health sciences librarian at McMaster University and a PhD candidate at Western University. She advocates for the improvement of Wikipedia’s health and medical content and has recently published an article that highlights the many contexts in which Wikipedia can be viewed as a health information resource. She is a co-founder of WikiClub Hamilton and she instructs a third-year health sciences course that has students edit Wikipedia to learn more about the politics of health information production, information poverty, and information literacy. Denise is on board to supervise the hired co-op student as they work collaboratively on this project.

Co-op student: The successful candidate will be a current student enrolled in a Library and Information Sciences program at an institution accredited by the American Library Association. The co-op student will dive into developing a deep understanding of scholarly communication, publication models, knowledge translation, while also learning how to use, edit, and teach using Wikipedia. The student will be responsible for organizing and hosting edit-a-thons and training sessions with support from Denise Smith.

The Health Sciences Library Marketing team will work to promote all activities to the McMaster Community using appropriate messaging to draw out the target audience.

Community notification[edit]

  1. WikiProject Medicine
  2. GLAM-Wiki
  3. Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  1. Support - A very logical comination of Wikipedian in residence and support activities. Leveraging DORA as part of the incentive to get more expert engagement is an interesting idea. The applicant is knowledgeable and well-suited to the project (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228786). T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 00:41, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
  2. Support Many of the most successful Wikimedian in Residence projects which have themselves attracted the most external support have been in the field of medicine. It is simply a statement of fact that the medical field has excellent administration and programs in this space are high-impact, well-organized, and attract skilled participation. The organizer of this recently published an excellent summary of academic research on Wikipedia's medical content which we at WikiProject Medicine are discussing. I can confirm that as the organizer Mcbrarian says, they have good training and have adopted an existing proven strategy for Wikipedia outreach in a university setting. Also, I expect that this project would collaborate with the Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network of which I am a member to support the staff Wikipedian which they recruit for this project. Although I think every university would benefit from having a Wikimedian in Residence, this university is especially well prepared for this. The amount of money they are requesting is modest and I trust because of their history that the university will put a lot of its own resources into this program to make it successful. I want this university on our side now and this program would get them more engaged and integrated into multiple active Wikimedia networks - medicine, education, Wikimedian in residence, library, Wikicite - quickly. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:19, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
  3. Support A major impediment to engaging academics is the would-be academic Wikipedian's initial experience of isolation and victimization. They feel isolated because their colleagues aren't editing Wikipedia, and if the would-be Wikipedian talks about his/her/their Wikipedia efforts, they're often met with a perplexed look, if not sneers of derision. They feel victimized because many experienced Wikipedia editors think etiquette is for sissies, and see academics as particularly plump prey for repeated "colon attacks" (see Wikipedia:WTF), you know, like "You're clearly a WP:NOOB who needs to WP:LEARN the WP:RIGHTWAY to edit Wikipedia, before you WP:DESTROY all the WP:GOODWORK that your Superiors have accomplished!" This McMaster Project vastly reduces these two threats by creating a community of McMaster editors, armed with knowledge, and able to consult with experienced academic Wikipedians to plan a fierce defense against the smarter-than-thou editors who believe that Please bite the newbies is a serious essay. ¶ Plus, Mcbrarian has, in many ways, demonstrated her/their sincerity, commitment, discipline, and drive to improve the world's free encyclopedia. Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) 18:00, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
  4. Support per T.Shafee and Bluerasberry. Clayoquot (talk) 19:22, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
  5. support per Dr. Shafee--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 01:11, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
  6. Support Worthwhile research that will provide data about the efficacy of Wikipedia in the area of health communication. (and thankyou Mark D Worthen PsyD for a good laugh. i recognise that scenario :) Doctor 17 (talk) 02:02, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
  7. support need to build medical content creators Slowking4 (talk) 01:34, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
  8. Support accurate medical information is important for everyone, and a university seems well-positioned to provide ongoing support Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 16:56, 18 March 2020 (UTC)
  9. Support I think that this is an excellent initiative and one that will help improve medical content that is shared on Wikipedia and help build our medical editor base. JenOttawa (talk) 00:14, 2 April 2020 (UTC)