The idea is curate the collection of citations in Wikidata, or perhaps in local instances of the Wikibase platform at particular institutions. To the extent that Wikidata has capacity and data is compatible, then information is in Wikidata. When the data seems too large, or not formatted for Wikidata, or when there is another constraint, anyone can host it in their own Wikibase instance and still make it compatible with WikiCite for possible later integration.
WikiCite is among the most popular projects in Wikidata. This popularity is a legacy of an old desire in the Wikipedia community to better manage citations across Wikimedia projects and languages. While WikiCite cannot quickly fulfil all dreams and ambitions, some community wishes for WikiCite is that it leads to better research discovery for Wikipedia and for all research in general. Potential applications include ease of discovering publications on a given topic, profiling of authors and institutions, and visualizing knowledge sources in new ways. WikiCite promises to open citation data, which many people are surprised to hear is a closed dataset in many fundamental ways.
One application for WikiCite is the management of citations on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Other applications for WikiCite imagine fundamental improvements to the way the Wikimedia community and the world access information. These applications include cataloging all possible knowledge sources which a person might use to develop Wikimedia projects or any off-wiki project, analyzing datasources with new technology to gain new information, and creating a network which ties Wikimedia information to the best available knowledge sources which anyone might access anywhere on any topic in the scope of Wikimedia coverage.
Contributors engaged in developing WikiCite typically seek to design bibliographic data models and to ingest bibliographic databases into Wikidata and to develop that information by annotating it and cross-linking it with other items in Wikidata. You can join! Challenges include identifying databases, getting the data, executing the import, verifying accuracy of content, disambiguating the authors and organizations which citations credit, and developing the citations in new ones by interconnecting their elements to other databases or in-wiki cataloging. Various tools can remix and visualize information from WikiCite, such as by presenting insights about publications from a researcher, university or region. The only connections between WikiCite and individual Wikimedia projects are experimental, so there is not social permission to - for example - routinely generate citations in Wikipedia from the WikiCite content in Wikidata. There are countless tasks for persons at all skill levels to do with WikiCite. Technically simple tasks include disambiguating authors and institutions or manually entering citations. More complicated tasks are similar but scaled up with automation.
WikiCite participants become excited about the project by imagining citations in a way that makes them radically more useful than they could have been before the advent of internet. For example, in the paper age a citation for a research project would name the authors of the paper. WikiCite aims to connect a publication to all persons involved in research, and to their institutions, sponsors, other research publications, research outcomes, citations in other literature, an analysis of the nature of citations, and whatever other information is public and implicit in a citation.
Various Wikimedia projects and proposals have sought to accomplish what this current iteration of WikiCite is advancing. The current WikiCite project began in 2016, but various people have used the term "WikiCite" since 2005 and many Wikimedia community members have participated in discussions or efforts to build an interconnected citation database for Wikimedia projects and beyond. Credit for WikiCite goes to 10s of highly engaged Wikimedia participants, 100s of rather engaged Wikimedia and off-wiki contributors, and 10,000s of individuals who have made some labor contribution to the project either by editing citations in any Wikimedia project, or by editing Wikidata citation content, or speaking up in any of the many community conversations about this which have been ongoing since the establishment of Wikipedia.