Learning patterns/Create groups of academic specialists to prepare training events
What problem does this solve?
The Fondation Lionel-Groulx has been organizing training events to Wikipedia since May 2019. However, even though we have had events with large groups and most of the time we have succeeded in recruiting participants for our training courses with, among others, the help from our partners, we have noticed that it is difficult to have a satisfactory level of writing and involvement from specialists post events.
What is the solution?
If you have already organized training events and want to increase the quality of writing for a set of articles around a topic, it is relevant to involve specialists interested in improving Wikipedia. The main idea is that by contacting specialists who might be motivated to improve the content in Wikipedia, you can build a team of talented editors who already know the topic very well, either because they are doing scientific research on the topic or because they are part of a network of people who publish literature on this theme. Our experience showed us that an effective way to recruit qualified Wikipedia editors is to work with the editor of a a peer-reviewed scientific journal, who is already in contact with a vast network of potential collaborators. It can also work by collaborating with a person who holds a research chair or has otherwise access to a solid network of specialists. These people who are strong nodes in the networks of scholarly research can in addition help identify and prioritize relevant articles to improve.
Things to consider
- Long before the training event, contact specialists who might be interested in getting involved in some aspect of the training, typically finding participants. Most of the time, those are very busy people due to there specialization, like university professors for instance.
- Before contacting the specialists, prepare a list of articles to improve on Wikipedia by making an inventory of their level of advancement. This will help them to better understand what they will be able to bring to the project. Indeed, those specialists know what topics related to the theme are relevant for the project. For example, since the start of the 2nd grant obtained by the Fondation Lionel-Groulx, the team in charge of the wikimedian projects has repeatedly created lists evaluating the progress of relevant articles on topics related to the history of Quebec and French-speaking North America. Here is an example (in French) of a list prepared by Mathieugp for the training event on the history of international relations of Quebec: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilisateur:Mathieugp/Brouillons/Histoire_des_relations_internationales_au_Qu%C3%A9bec - This list was proposed to several specialists who publish scientific papers in the Bulletin d'histoire politique (BHP) of Université du Québec à Montréal (one of the biggest university in Québec). We asked Stéphane Savard, full professor at Université du Québec à Montréal, and editor of BHP, to suggest priority subjects for the theme and also to suggest other specialists or students (graduate or postgraduate) who could bring their expertise.
- Most of the time, university professors supervise master's and doctoral students who may also be able to provide their expertise. It is important to consider them as a editors after the training event.
When to use
You can use this pattern when you organize a training event and you have access to a community of specialists on a topic: professional historians, university or college professors, archivists, writers, etc. The most important aspect is to convince them that their commitment will make a real difference during and after the training in improving the quality of articles that deal with their specialty in Wikipedia. Sometimes their work (peer-reviewed articles, books, reports, etc.) is already cited on Wikipedia. By informing them that articles in Wikipedia cite their work, this can help convince them to take an interest in the training and get involved in its development and continuity.