16:11, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
Duration: 2014-02 — 2017-06
This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.
Please contact the project lead before formally citing or reusing results from this page.
- SUPSI - The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland. With the research team from the Laboratory of Visual Culture at the Department for Environment Constructions and Design and from the Department of Formation and Learning, SUPSI specifically contributes to the project by focusing on managing and implementing the establishment of the Scientific Committee and the “Wikipedia Scientific Journal”, and by providing the support for the evaluation process.
- Iolanda Pensa, principal investigator, post-doc researcher, Laboratory of Visual Culture, Department for Environment Constructions and Design. Focus on systems of knowledge production and distribution in Africa. Scientific director of the project WikiAfrica and Share Your Knowledge: Creative Commons and Wikipedia for cultural institutions for lettera27 Foundation (2007-2012). She directed the WikiAfrica Primary School Feasibility Study.
- Luca Botturi, post-doc researcher, director of research at the Department of Formation and Learning. Focus on educational technologies, digital learning and games for learning.
- Erica Litrenta, scientific collaborator, Laboratory of Visual Culture, Department for Environment Constructions and Design (until October 2015).
- Marta Pucciarelli, scientific collaborator, Laboratory of Visual Culture, Department for Environment Constructions and Design.
- Giovanni Profeta, research assistant and technical collaborator, Laboratory of Visual Culture, Department for Environment Constructions and Design. Focus on web design and development, digital media and visual communication.
- Giancarlo Gianocca, scientific collaborator, Laboratory of Visual Culture, Department for Environment Constructions and Design.
- Florence Devouard, scientific collaborator, Laboratory of Visual Culture, Department for Environment Constructions and Design (from October 2015).
- University of Cape Town specifically contributes to the project by focusing on its network and by involving scientific journals and institutions working in education. The specific expertise of the UCT team is essential for the project think tank and its development.
- Tobias Schonwetter, principal investigator, director of the Intellectual Property Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town. Focus on open content, intellectual propriety, Creative Commons.
- Kelsey Wiens, researcher, University of Cape Town. Focus on Open Educational Resources. She contributed to the WikiAfrica Primary School Feasibility Study and she developed the case study about primary education in South Africa and OER.
Partners supporting the project
- Africa Centre involved in implementing Wikipedia Primary School with a specific focus on the African continent and in training new contributors in Africa capable of involving institutions and developing outreach. The Africa Centre is an institution active in the implementation of Wikipedia Primary School in specific territories and it contributes to the project as a major stakeholder and part of its advisors.
- Isla Haddow-Flood, WikiAfrica project manager at the Africa Centre. Focus on management and communication. She contributed to the WikiAfrica Primary School Feasibility Study and she is currently developing the project Wikipedia Primary School with a focus on training for new contributors.
- Wikimedia CH contributes to the project as a major stakeholder and a team of Wikimedia advisors.
- Wikimedia ZA contributes to the project by running and implementing a number of edit-a-thons and training programs in late 2015 and early 2016
- Douglas Scott, director at Wikimedia ZA is in charge of running the WMZA organised edit-a-thons.
Relevant institutions working in education in South Africa
Beyond the two co-applicants and the two partners involved, it is important to mention the wide network of institutions working in education in which can be involved and addressed by the project. In South Africa among them:
- School of Education at WITs (University of Witswatersrand)
- Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS)
- Equal Education
- Eduation without Boarder
- e-Government for Citizens (E-G4C)
- LEAP Science and Math Schools
- Shuttleworth Foundation
- Mindset Network
- Dep. of Economics at Stellenbosch University
- South African Institute for Distance Learning
- OER Open Educational Resources Africa
Current state of own research and partnership aspect
The project is based on the WikiAfrica Primary School feasibility study produced in 2012 with the support of lettera27 Foundation. The study was developed by a research team which already involved three members of the current Swiss and South African research team. The feasibility study was an opportunity to analyse the project context but also to establish and test an extremely fruitful collaboration. The Feasibility study focussed on Africa and it looked at Wikipedia and at primary education with three case studies related specifically to Cameroon, Italy and South Africa. This first research looked at Wikipedia editions in African languages, the state of educational and related programmes developed by the Wikimedia movement, and the assessment processes used on Wikipedia. The South African case study highlighted the current state of primary education in South Africa, the potential synergies between Wikipedia and primary education, current projects in the field of Open Educational Resources and the potential institutions working in education which the project can address and involve.
Furthermore the project developed within the frame of the SSAJRP establishes a network of two co-applicants and two partners with complementary and specialised competences, and it involves an interdisciplinary research team. The partnership is designed to continue after the project end, and it addresses institutions interested in fostering further development of the Wikipedia Primary School project. The project co-applicants are SUPSI - University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland and UCT University of Cape Town; the project partners are Wikimedia Switzerland and the Africa Centre. Approximately 25 other partners will be involved during the project implementation (5 scientific journals and 20 institutions working in the field of education). All research members, partners and new partners involved will be part of the project think tank and they will contribute to Wikipedia Primary School evaluation. They will be involved through the Scientific Committee and they are asked to provide their feedback for the project evaluation.
A short presentation of the project.
The full project description.
Providing on Wikipedia the information necessary to complete the cycle of primary education in the languages used by the different education systems. The aim of Wikipedia Primary School.
The joint research project Wikipedia Primary School, developed within a Swiss and South African collaboration, specifically focuses on the theoretical frame of the project Wikipedia Primary School and in developing and evaluating a system to assess Wikipedia articles for primary education and to involve a wide network of scholars and contributors in their production. The project is an applied research involving a team lead by SUPSI University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland and the University of Cape Town, and benefitting from the partnership with Wikimedia Switzerland, and the Africa Centre based in Cape Town.
The research moves from the current state of research in the field, and it contributes to fill the existing gap between Wikipedia and primary education. More specifically, thanks to the Swiss and South African collaboration the research project developed within the frame of the SSAJRP satisfies the need for:
- Producing the necessary frame to address and involve users (the Wikipedia community, partners, volunteers, scholars and experts in the field of education).
- Defining and selecting relevant articles which respond to curriculum-based questions.
- Facilitating the production of high quality and assessed articles on Wikipedia linked to primary education.
The Swiss and South African joint research, implemented within the frame of the SSAJRP, focuses on the Wikipedia Primary School scalability and in developing the necessary network and tools to establish, promote and evaluate the project.
Work division, schedule and milestones.
Based on the specific competences of the Swiss and South African research team involved, the project develops the following activities within the frame of the SSAJRP.
Establishment of a Scientific committee
The scientific committee contributes to the project strategy, its monitoring and evaluation. The scientific committee is composed by the project stakeholders (scholars, researchers, experts on wikipedians and education, teachers and parents) and it guarantees that interests are represented and the different communities are kept informed. The establishment of the scientific committee allows the project to broaden its network, to acknowledge the role and contribution of an international team and to assure that each step of the project is developed with a collaborative and sustainable methodology.
The scientific committee aims at:
- Defining a list of relevant articles which provide an indicator for the project overall milestone.
- Contributing to the qualitative analysis of the project through its feedback.
- Generating discussions and exchanges among people contributing to education, Wikipedia, ICT, Creative Commons and collaborative knowledge.
Establishment and implementation of a Wikipedia Scientific Journal
The “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” is a peer-reviewed scientific publication designed to collect and assess content for Wikipedia. The “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” is open access, under Creative Commons attributions share-alike license; its content can be used, reused and modified by anyone for free for commercial and non-commercial purposes, and it can be used to enrich Wikipedia.
The journal produces thematic issues launched with calls for papers. Anyone can submit articles; also existing Wikipedia articles can be submitted for peer-review.
The peer-reviewers are scholars with academic affiliation; they are involved through partnerships with existing scientific journals (please refer to the specific activity).
The journal has the format of a traditional academic journal. It credits authors, Wikipedia authors (if pertinent) and the partner scientific journals. An open and editable edition of the journal is also provided on Wikisource.
“Wikipedia Scientific Journal” aims at:
- Addressing scholars and engaging them in contributing to Wikipedia.
- Peer-reviewing new and existing Wikipedia articles with peer-reviewers with an academic affiliation and in collaboration with existing academic journals.
- Producing calls for papers for specific thematic issues.
- Publishing the articles on a traditional online journal under Creative Commons attribution share alike license.
- Attributing the articles to the authors and to the existing academic journal which is partnering with “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” for the peer-review process.
- Assessing high quality articles which can be used on Wikipedia and translated. The “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” is conceived as a tool to allow the project to produce and assess Wikipedia articles related to primary education. At the same time, while focusing on its specific aims, the project tests the tool for further uses. The idea of establishing a “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” is in fact not new to the Wikipedia community (it was proposed as part of the Wikimedia Movement strategic plan in 2009) and a similar concept was developed directly by some scientific journals which already produced few peer-reviewed articles for Wikipedia (the most well-known examples were implemented by the RNA Biology and by PLoS). The “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” has therefore the assets to continue after the end of the project.
Partnerships with scientific journals and scholars
Partnerships with existing scientific journals allow to involve qualified peer-reviewers in different disciplines and to give a broader visibility to Wikipedia articles already published in scientific journals and to disseminate this practice. The partnerships allow also non open access scientific journals to contribute to Wikipedia; this is due to the fact that copyrighted journals can use the “Wikipedia Scientific Journal” platform to publish articles
with an open license different from the license of their publication. This specific involvement can allow existing scientific journals to test the use of open access and its beneficial effect on their visibility and it
can be a first step to facilitate negotiations with publishers. Thanks to partnerships with existing scientific journals, articles can be submitted in different languages.
The partnerships with scientific journals and scholars aim at:
- Involving a wide team of peer-reviewers.
- Benefitting from the support of established scientific journals and their role as stakeholders.
- Supporting the visibility of scientific journals as first sources for Wikipedia.
Partnerships with institutions working in education
Partnerships with institutions working in education are established in order to strengthen the capacity of the education ecosystem to contribute to Wikipedia, and in general to open collaborative knowledge. More specifically the partnerships contribute to the project communication; they allow to invite a series of partners to implement to the project in particular in schools. Partners can promote the project by themselves and contribute to it with their content and knowledge. The establishment of partnerships is also the first step to collaborate with institutions and people who can verify and evaluate the use of Wikipedia as a source of information for primary education.
The partnerships with institutions working in education aim at:
- Acknowledging the role and importance of institutions already working in the field of Open Educational Resources.
- Using already existing Open Educational Resources to contribute to the project.
- Fostering the use of open licenses on educational resources among institutions working in education.
- Establishing the condition to support institutions and people who can autonomously promote, develop and adapt the project to different territories.
Partners are invited to join the project through digital communication tools (websites, news, mailing lists, e-mails) and by providing them with printed documentation.
The evaluation collects and analyses data from the project. The evaluation allows to use those data, to monitor the project, and to verify its methodology and scalability. The evaluation is a transversal activity of the project.
The evaluation aims at:
- Producing intermediate reports of the project, and the final report.
- Producing papers about the project methodology and results.
- Collect and use feedback from the project research team, the Scientific Committee, the partners (scientific journals and institutions working in educations) and the peer-reviewers for the qualitative analysis.
- Collect and use data related to the projects (quantitative indicators, website statistics, number of users, number of participants, etc.) for the quantitative analysis.
To allow a proper development of the project evaluation, reciprocal visits and two symposia are organised to allow the research team to meet and to exchange with members of the Scientific Committee and with institutions working in education involved as partners.
Wikimedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection
The project relies on the principal of respecting Wikipedia pillars and the opinions of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia communities.
The project explores the possibility of involving scholars and scientific journals in contributing to Wikipedia. The project relay on previous experience, and it develops it in a systematic way and on a specific list of articles. The benefits for the Wikimedia community are connected to the capacity of the project
- to produce outreach (scientific committee, scholars, scientific journals and partners with a particular focus on Africa)
- to focus on content that could be developed further on Wikipedia (content related to education and content specifically connected to the geographic imbalance of Wikipedia)
- to contribute to the review of articles.
Indirect benefits for the Wikimedia community are related to the capacity of the project of
- enhancing the use of open licenses compatible with the Wikimedia projects (among scientific journals, institutions working in education and open educational resources which are not necessary compatible with the Wikimedia projects)
- reviewing existing content related to primary education.
It is important to note that the project is NOT meant to produce content on Wikipedia. The project is meant to contribute to Wikipedia but it does it in an indirect way (outside Wikipedia and mainly on meta). We communicate the project to the Wikipedia community and we test uploads and editing of articles on Wikipedia using documentation from the project, trusting that this content can contribute to the quality of Wikipedia. If the community does not like the content or the methodology this will be reported on the project evaluation and we will check if other ways of contributing can be implement, or corrected or simply not possible. It is clear that institutional contributions to Wikipedia is still unusual and challenging; at the same time it can be a significant way to benefit Wikipedia content, Wikimedia community and its mission and it can allow other sources of information and other users to be indirectly part of the knowledge Wikipedia provides. This is specifically necessary to overcome systemic bias and real technical and practical difficulties of a large part of the world to contribute to Wikipedia.
Please refer to the general Wikipedia Primary School calendar.
The research project is supported in Switzerland by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and in South Africa by the National Research Foundation (NRF)
Please note that the project is based on the results of the WikiAfrica Primary School Feasibility Study, a document under Creative Commons attributions share-alike license produced in 2012 within the frame of WikiAfrica, a cross-continental collaboration that aims to increase the quantity and quality of African content on Wikipedia promoted by the Africa Centre and lettera27 Foundation which initiated the project in 2006. WikiAfrica Primary School Feasibility Study was conceived and directed by Iolanda Pensa and implemented by Claudio Coletta, Isla Haddow-Flood, Luca Martinelli, Iolanda Pensa, Kelsey Wiens; project manager Cristina Perillo. The WikiAfrica Primary School Feasibility Study was made possible thanks to volunteers and the support of lettera27 Foundation. The presentation of the current state of research in the field summarises the result of the feasibility study which on the following references (selection).
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Iolanda Pensa, io (at) pensa (dot) it.