Wikimedia Deutschland/Data Partnerships Model/Executive Summary

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 Main page Executive Summary Background Purpose Partners The Phases of Data Partnerships Data Partnerships Scenarios Decision-Making Conclusion 
Executive Summary

In recent years, data partnerships have emerged as an important component of furthering access to free and open knowledge for Wikimedia organizations. In particular, Wikimedia Deutschland has partnered with large institutions, small community projects, scientific data projects, and many other participants in the growing Linked Open Data Web. As we become more deliberate and strategic in the data partnerships that we choose to engage in, we need a better understanding of the mechanics, phases and dynamics of collaboration in this field. Opportunities arise every day, and we need to ensure that we engage with those that hold the most potential to free up knowledge, blaze a trail for others and help us improve and learn.

We engage with partners from various sectors (public, private, nonprofit and for-profit), each with different capacities, resources and data collections. Some partners bring existing communities with them, big and small, while other communities still need to be built. To date, we have partnered with a number of cultural, government and research institutions and libraries. These partnerships have increased public access to knowledge in the fields of culture, history and science, among others. Missing to date are fields covered by civil society organizations, including climate change and human rights, to name only two.

Data partnerships may take several forms: structured data donations, linking to data, enriching data, installing a Wikibase instance or a hybrid scenario involving two or more of the foregoing. Yet, regardless of the scenario, partnerships typically go through similar phases: initial contact, feasibility and profiling, assessment, implementation, conclusion and debrief, and post-project monitoring and support.

Ultimately we would like to see a growing set of Linked Open Data through data partnerships, whether in Wikidata or in individual Wikibase instances. This web of Linked Open Data should be accessible and usable, backed up by an empowered and literate data community whose members continue to maintain and grow their data.

Wikimedia Deutschland is an organization with a strong orientation toward learning; as with all of our efforts, it is important to evaluate our data partnerships. In doing so, we can continue to modify and improve processes as needed, and communicate what we learn to the Wikimedia movement and to the wider open knowledge ecosystem.

In this document we describe our perspective as the data partnerships team within the software development department at Wikimedia Deutschland. We cover the following questions:

  • What kind of data partners do we work with?
  • What form do these data partnerships take?
  • What phases do these data partnerships go through?
  • What criteria guide the commitment of our limited resources in the field of data partnerships?
  • What are the outstanding topics, questions and challenges for collaboration in this field?