Research:Online knowledge sharing

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Farid Pazhoohi
James R. Liddle
Duration:  2013-08 – 2013-10

This page documents a planned research project.
Information may be incomplete and change before the project starts.

Key Personnel[edit]

Farid Pazhoohi

James R. Liddle

Project Summary[edit]

As access to, and reliance on, information via the internet continues to increase around the world, it becomes increasingly important to understand the motivations behind online knowledge sharing so that such behavior can be encouraged. Although a handful of studies has examined the motivations of individuals who engage in online knowledge sharing (Amichai-Hamburger, Lamdan, Madiel, & Hayat, 2008; Schroer & Hertel, 2009; Yang & Lai, 2011), these studies have been largely exploratory in nature. We aim to evaluate Wikipedia contributors' motives behind online knowledge sharing based on their reputation in virtual and actual worlds.


We intend to test the relationship between competitive altruism and online knowledge sharing by contacting the contributors to Wikipedia and assess the importance of reputation and other potential motivating factors. Any interested Wikipedia user is welcome to participate, here. We need a sample size of 500 participants.


We would publish the result in the highly ranked journals.

Wikimedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection[edit]

Any interested Wikipedia user can participate. We kindly ask them to answer all questions. The approximate time to complete the survey is not more than 10 minutes. All the information will be handled anonymously and no one’s responses will be publicly revealed. We will ask for no identifies (legal names, username, email addresses, …) before/during/after the study. No Cookies or IP address would be collected. Just the country of participant. Taking part in this study is completely voluntary. If you decide to take part, you are also free to withdraw at any time.

Benefits for the Wikimedia community[edit]

The results of this study will clarify the ways in which an evolutionary psychological perspective can enhance our understanding of online knowledge sharing behavior. The potential applications of these insights will be discussed thoroughly, with a focus on how the likelihood of engaging in online knowledge sharing can be increased by manipulating the features of Wikipedia that tap into evolved psychological mechanisms for knowledge sharing.




Amichai-Hamburger, Y., Lamdan, N., Madiel, R., & Hayat, T. (2008). Personality characteristics of Wikipedia members. Rapid Communication, 11, 679-681.

Schroer, J., & Hertel, G. (2009). Voluntary engagement in an open web-based encyclopedia: Wikipedians and why they do it. Media Psychology, 12, 96-120.

Van Vugt, M., Roberts, G., & Hardy, C. (2007). Competitive altruism: Development of reputation-based cooperation in groups. In R. Dunbar & L. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of evolutionary psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Yang, H. –L., & Lai, C. –Y. (2011). Understanding knowledge-sharing behaviour on Wikipedia. Behaviour & Information Technology, 30, 131-142.

External links[edit]