This page presents the design principles and results of a survey (now closed and being analyzed) to understand expert motivations for or against contributing to Wikipedia and other collaborative projects. This survey is an initiative of the Wikimedia Research Committee and is run by Dario Taraborelli, Daniel Mietchen and Panagiota Alevizou.
The first results from the survey were presented at Wikimania 2011 (Haifa, 4-6 August, 2011).
- Main outcomes:
- A majority of respondents considers Wikipedia as useful for educational purposes (sl. 14)
- About 75% of respondents would consider rating or reviewing Wikipedia articles (sl. 16)
- Wikipedia contributors are more likely than non-contributors to have most or all of their published research articles available by way of Open Access (sl. 17)
- The target group of this survey is experts, broadly defined (e.g. scientists, academics and scholars as well as other expert professionals outside the academia) and on the barriers that keep them from contributing, either as editors or as reviewers.
- The survey consists of: (1) a short introductory section to collect basic demographic information of participants (age, gender, professional status, field of expertise, geographic location, languages spoken and prior participation to Wikipedia); (2) two main sections follow, focusing on the general perception of Wikipedia participation by experts and on individual motivations respectively; (3) a final short section is devoted to collecting further information about participants, including their ICT literacy and their participation to other collaborative projects. We explicitly designed the survey so as not to force participants to consider themselves as either contributors or non-contributors: we want to capture reasons that keep existing contributors from contributing more or reasons why previous (expert) contributors decide to leave or decrease their involvement.
- The survey is open, meaning that we cannot control upfront for potential biases in the sample and responses will need to be debiased a posteriori.
- Nov 25, 2010: initial discussion on FriendFeed and Wikiversity, with follow-up at Reddit
- Dec 2010-Jan 2011: pilot phase
- Jan 2011: redesign of the survey using LimeSurvey based on feedback from the pilot phase
- Feb 9, 2011: official launch of the survey
- Feb-Mar 2011: dissemination and recruitment of participants via targeted mailing, banner ads campaigns, blog posts.
- April 16, 2011: Survey closes
- August 5, 2011: Talk at Wikimania 2011
- Scholarly community gives feedback regarding Wikipedia - report on the results of a similar survey, conducted in 2009 amongst authors of articles in PLoS journals
- Why do People Write for Wikipedia? Incentives to Contribute to Open-Content Publishing. GROUP 05 workshop position paper (2005). Andrea Forte, Amy Bruckman. GROUP 05 Workshop: Sustaining Community: The Role and Design of Incentive Mechanisms in Online Systems. Sanibel Island, FL
- The Future of Science - 2008 blog post by Michael Nielsen (2011 comment, focusing on the wiki aspects)
- Wikipedia - a legitimate academic source? (mp3) - a QAA podcast about the APS Wikipedia Initiative
- Wikipedia Journal - a proposal to encourage Wikipedia contribtions by academics through a dedicated journal