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WikiCite/2021 Update

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Dear WikiCite Community,

As the WikiCite steering committee, we wanted to update you with an overview of the current status of the project, and what the future looks like.  


Over the past 5 years, the WikiCite community has been a home for those invested in the representation of open bibliographic data on the Wikimedia projects. It encompasses volunteers and participants from a broad range of geographies and professions—librarians, developers, GLAM practitioners, data modelers, data scientists, ethnographers—interested in improving the citation practices and citation infrastructure for free knowledge. Since the beginning, this community has built tools, schemas, and practices for the curation and creation of open bibliographic metadata in Wikidata. Today, “WikiCite” is a name used by many in the Wikimedia community to refer to their projects and activities in support of this goal. Dozens of presentations about activities under this umbrella have joined the growing body of research into citations on Wikimedia. Since 2016, WikiCite has been supported by grants from several organisations – OCLC, CrossRef, ORCID, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Simons Foundation – and also since 2018 by a 3-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, managed by the WMF, to build community and evaluate the opportunities for open citations in the Wikimedia ecosystem.

The grant has been overseen by a steering committee of people who have been involved in WikiCite work (most recently including Dario Taraborelli, Merrilee Proffitt, Daniel Mietchen, Alex Stinson, and Phoebe Ayers) and has funded a part-time contract for Liam Wyatt to be the program manager. The grant was initially developed under Dario Taraborelli and the WMF research team, and has also been supported by other staff at the Wikimedia Foundation. Thanks to previous program manager Elizabeth Seiver, and to previous steering and conference committee members: John Chodacki, Jonathan Dugan, Rachel Farrand, Léa Lacroix, Cameron Neylon, Jake Orlowitz, Lydia Pintscher, Sarah Rodlund, and Ben Vershbow. The annual reports for the WikiCite grants can be found here. The 2020-21 report is currently being prepared.

These WikiCite grants have supported three in-person conferences and hackathons, and one virtual conference, supported participation in community events, and managed a project and events grant program. Amid COVID restrictions, we also offered e-scholarship grants and supported virtual events. During this time, the representation of linked bibliographic data on Wikidata has grown dramatically. There are now nearly 40 million items about publications on Wikidata, with dozens of tools and platforms to support curating, analyzing and reusing this data.

With the completion of the grant from the Sloan Foundation, the funding series to support WikiCite has now come to an end.

As a direct outgrowth of the WikiCite work - as a spiritual successor - Liam Wyatt and others created a proposal for developing a “Shared Citations” infrastructure across Wikimedia projects. This proposal was based on synthesized input from WikiCite community members and the broader Wikimedia community, technical contributors, and years of discussion about Wikimedia projects’ in-house needs for improved citation management. The Shared Citations proposal was not prioritized in this year’s annual funding for the Wikimedia Foundation, but was well received by WMF leadership and community members, and we hope it will be a good candidate for future technical focus if the opportunity presents itself. The 2021-22 WMF Annual Plan which was approved by the Board of Trustees has now been published, and can be found via the ‘Diff’ blog here.

What’s next?[edit]

The members of the steering committee are proud of WikiCite’s accomplishments. Chief among which is growing a corpus of open citation/bibliographic metadata. We now have a growing and vastly interlinked body of open bibliographic linked data, including authors, affiliations, concepts, publishing venues, publishers, journals that many organizations and volunteers are contributing to on a daily basis. Countless open source tools and platforms have been created to support these efforts. Data models, shape expressions, and constraint reports were significantly tested and improved thanks to the efforts of this community.

As dedicated funding ends, we want to encourage new homes for the different aspects of the project and would like to invite the community to continue the momentum of the WikiCite community’s work. We also want you to consider the kinds of resources available for stewardship going forward:

  • The WikiCite identity is yours. Similar to other community initiatives like GLAM-Wiki, 1Lib1Ref, and WikiLoves, the WikiCite name and logo are not held by a single entity. If you want to host a conference, event, or apply for a grant to advance the work of structured citations and source metadata on Wikimedia projects, please do connect it with the WikiCite community.
  • Engage in the community channels that have developed around WikiCite: 
    • WikiProject Source Metadata on Wikidata, the WikiCite Telegram channel, and WikiCite mailing list are still active and are good venues for developing future community activities and ideas.
    • The official social media handle for the initiative (@wikicite on Twitter) has a growing follower base and is currently maintained on a volunteer basis by Liam Wyatt and Dario Taraborelli. If you are interested in contributing to it, please get in touch via DM.    
    • There are several professional spaces that are stewarding many different parts of the WikiCite conversation, including the IFLA working group and the LD4 Affinity group.
    • Scholia continues, and is going strong! Along with other tools like the Author Disambiguator, it also welcomes contributions.
  • If you are looking for funding for WikiCite-related projects, we wanted to remind you about the Wikimedia Foundation Grants relaunch -- there will be funding for existing communities, external partner organizations working on knowledge equity, and further technical projects (see the programs described here). In the coming months, the new funding programs will be announced in detail—while the WikiCite Steering Committee is not formally involved in decisions for these grants, we believe these programs will likely be a good fit for many parts of the WikiCite community’s work.

We would like to thank everyone involved in WikiCite and the funders who generously supported these efforts over the past 5 years. We are excited about everything that we have accomplished together and look forward to the future of open bibliographic data on Wikidata and beyond. The WikiCite steering committee will cease to formally exist as this grant ends; however, individual members of this group will continue to be involved in WikiCite activities and are happy to engage in discussions about the future of Wikicite.

On behalf of the WikiCite Steering Committee (Phoebe Ayers, Daniel Mietchen, Merrilee Proffitt, Alex Stinson and Dario Taraborelli)

-- LWyatt (WMF) (talk) 13:51, 14 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]