Recommendation 12: Establish recognition principles for new partners for attribution and content donation
Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
In order to fulfill our potential and carry out diverse, sustainable, effective and impactful partnerships, we need to be supportive and we need different ways to encourage new partnership. We must support our community volunteers and partners with the tools they need to develop successful new partnerships in their local and regional context. One way of encouraging new partnerships are recognition and proper attribution, that is why we recommend to develop a systematic way that recognize our partner contributions, especially (but not only) in cases of content donations and attribution. Recognizing the efforts of partners and volunteers who build partnerships will increase their involvement and establish stronger ties. A protocol can be prepared to act in cases of incorrect or false attribution, for example, with a model letter in different languages to send to whoever has used the image or text without attributing it correctly. We can measure with statistics with an automatic process for tracking uses of free content to show our partners the impact and the use of their heritage and how it was positioned so they could know how their collections perform. Reports can be made with statistics telling the institutions which material was best positioned, which one was most used, how many visualizations it had and which articles were improved, to show them the impact of their contribution.
Q 2-1 What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make this Recommendation?
Some web pages or media or even conferences and books use images or videos from Wikimedia Commons or articles from Wikipedia but do not include the corresponding author attribution. We assume that we are losing possible partners.The aim of almost all cultural institutions is not only to preserve but also to position their heritage. The International Council of Museums (Conseil international des musées), for example, requires museums to comply with the diffusion in order to be on its list of museums. In exchange for donating their material, they have, with us, a free platform that helps them carry out a fundamental task of any museum or archive: the dissemination of the heritage to be protected. However, many potential partners, galleries, libraries, archives, and museums refuse to share their material because we cannot guarantee the proper attribution or because they don't feel sufficiently recognized. This can be modified in the future. Wikimedia projects can give many museums, galleries, libraries, archives, and other potential partners, visibility to fulfill their social mission offering them guarantees that their collaboration will be recognized. We need that everybody who shares our vision could collaborate with us. That can only be met if we work together with partners, only with that collaboration we will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge.
Q 2-2 What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation?
People need to feel valued for their contribution. Although these institutions collaborate with us, share our vision and donate material to us, they do not self-identify with Wikimedia and pretend to see their names recognized. We believe that greater recognition increases retention and the quality of work. Wikimedia should take on the responsibility of securing partnerships who donated their material. If we want to become the essential infrastructure of free knowledge with partners joining us we must support them on the topic of attribution and support them when someone misuses their material and appropriates it. Our organizations should be the ones to send letters of complaint to make sure that our partners contributions are not abused and that no one is able to take credit for their work.
Q 3-1 What will change because of the Recommendation?
Correct attribution is important to make our work better known and to promote our platforms. We must train people about the type of licenses and the rights that institutions have over the content used. Many people don’t know that they must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license or indicate if changes were made. To acknowledge and to promote proper attribution will make our partners feel recognized and could have a greater impact on their willingness to collaborate, creating new alliances and building new partnerships. Feeling valued is one of the great motivations for volunteers, as well as for some partnering institutions. If people feel recognition for the work they do, they would be encouraged to share more of their knowledge, information and material with us. By naming it explicitly and clearly indicating who they are, our partners will be given more reconnaissance for the efforts and resources they are providing. Our partners will be proud to have donated that material to Wikipedia or other projects. It would not change the way knowledge circulates but it would be an incentive for potential partnerships to donate more material and collaborate with us. To give credit and show gratitude make our partners feel that they also benefit from the association, it will contribute that more organizations want to associate with us and will promote a more inclusive movement. We need to measure involvement not only in numbers but with qualitative methods, over the long term. We believe that seeing the traffic derived from their donation will generate more engagement. This will result in more organizations opening up to the idea of being part of the free knowledge ecosystem.
Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation?
All our partners, future possible partners, those who already partner with Wikimedia movement, those who potential could do and all our volunteers in all projects.
Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality?
Some possible partners are reluctant to continue collaborating with us, as they are not getting enough recognition, or their contributions are not clearly marked. We don’t have a systematic way of recognition. Although an institution may have a page on Commons, anyone can use their photos without saying where they got it from. Partners are interested in sharing content and being able to work in a coordinated manner. They like that what is online is correctly allocated and figures where it comes from and what organization is behind it. In many cases, even when someone wants to attribute it is not easy or very clear how to do it. We need to change that. For example, GLAM institutions should know how their collections perform and we should be able to automate the process and so other partners.
Q 6-1 Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations? If yes, how?
With recommendation 12, to create a systematic way to recognize and with recommendation 1, to recognise Wikimedia’s impact and responsibilities.
Q 6-2 Does this Recommendation connect or relate to your Scoping Questions? If yes, how?
Yes: How do we develop technical infrastructure, capacities and the support we need in order to be an effective partner to share ‘the sum of all knowledge” and fulfill the vision of knowledge as a service for our partners?
Recognition is a way of supporting partnerships, it can be an important factor in continuing to contribute. Part of the support that individuals and institutions need is to feel that they are not alone, that if someone uses their resources and publishes them as their own, the movement will defend them and protect them.
By defending the right to attribution and making a good recognition of the material or work donated, we will empower the institutions and individuals who collaborate with our movement and we will make them feel they benefit from collaboration. More people and institutions will want to collaborate with us and that will make the movement more inclusive.
Q 8 Do you have anything to add that was not covered with previous questions, yet essential for understanding the recommendation?
What kind of support should Wikimedia offer? For example, our mobile app to upload images does not visibly show the attribution of the photos, and it is the only thing we offer when we sit down to talk personally with some institution to make an alliance. It is important to remind people during the downloads that there are photos that allow their reuse but that they have an author and they should always quote.We could create a sample text to send to the press about rights attribution for dummies. It is necessary to give support if any publisher or photographer or institution wants to claim the lack of attribution, advise and accompany him/her, instead of making him/her feel that it is his/her problem. Wikipedia could enable a "Cite this page" button. Wikimedia Commons could generate more friendly templates for derivative works. We can also make the FAQ simpler and easier to find licenses and understand that it is required that all users of the work attributed to the author. Volunteers who build new partnership could be recognized by online barnstars, scholarships to do a course related to the topic, an award on partnership capacity building or receive the appropriate equipment or free internet access.