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Wikimedia Research Network

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Update August 2010: The Wikimedia Research Network was the first effort to wiki-organize all individuals engaged in Wikimedia-relevant research. While people have continued to sign up on this page, no meetings or activities have been organized since 2006. If you would like to simply identify yourself as a researcher, the best place to do so is on the Research page. If you would like to interact with other researchers, there is an open mailing list, wiki-research-l, to do so. Finally, the Research Committee is a formalized Wikimedia Foundation committee which helps to organize policies, practices and priorities around Wikimedia-related research.

Research Network
Development tasks

The Wikimedia Research Network (WRN), guided by a Chief Research Officer, will study Wikimedia's content, technology and community, to identify the needs of the individual Wikimedia projects, to facilitate the prioritization process, to make recommendations for targeted development, to guide and motivate outside developers, to assist in the study of new project proposals, and to collaborate with researchers who are not part of the Wikimedia community. The team should attempt to build a bridge between the Wikimedia community and the developers, and channel the creative energy of thousands of users to useful ends.


See /Rationale.


Wikimedia Research Network[edit]

The Wikimedia Research Network is an open group tasked with the following:

  • research the development needs of the individual projects as well as MediaWiki as a whole
    • prioritize software enhancement proposals which are currently in Bugzilla
    • conduct surveys among users of the projects
    • carefully study the work processes in each Wikimedia project
    • organize regular IRC meetings with project communities
    • coordinate and lead the effort towards peer review and stable offline editions of Wikimedia content
    • regularly review the usability of our software
  • develop rough ideas into full specifications for development
  • make the results of research permanently available to the wikimedia community, in a structured way
  • if developers are hired, or outside parties participate, supervise development from specification to implementation, in coordination with the MediaWiki Release Manager and the developers
  • assist in the planning, definition and implementation of new project proposals like Mobile Audio Wikipedia, Wikiversity, etc., and make sure that new projects are not set up before their technical needs are identified
  • coordinate academic or non-academic research into Wikimedia content (note: see Research/Social Research Collaborations for coordination of sociology-oriented research)

The Wikimedia Research Network is not positioned in any way above the developer community, it exists alongside it. Its purpose is not "Research and Development", but Research and, to a smaller extent, coordination of outside development. Its primary purpose is to publish reports and recommendations. At present, the Research Network is also not defined to study hardware needs and making purchase recommendations, although it could take on such tasks if qualified members join.

Chief Research Coordinator[edit]

The CRC is an official position appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. The functions of this role are described on the Wikimedia Foundation wiki on the Chief Research Coordinator page.

The current Chief Research Coordinator, Greg Maxwell, was appointed February 17, 2007 [1].

Update August 2010: This Board-created volunteer role has expired and no longer exists.


Membership in the Wikimedia Research Network is open to anyone. However, the Network can decide, with a two-thirds majority, to exclude existing members (this is meant to ensure smooth cooperation, and a community consensus for outside representation).

Current members[edit]

Please simply add your name below if you wish to join the Network. As noted above, there is no application procedure, only an exclusion procedure. For further classification of yourself, please also list your research interests on Wikimedia Research Network/Interests.


See the Research page for a list of research resources and a list of individuals actively working on research projects and short description of such.

See the Research Projects page for a list of current and proposed research projects.

Meeting history[edit]

Upcoming meetings[edit]

Mailing list[edit]

There is a public mailing list for research related to the content and the communities of the Wikimedia projects: wiki-research-l.

Please use wikitech-l for technical issues! The list is not meant to be used for organizational issues of the Research Network either; a separate mailing list for this has been requested.