By Daniel Mietchen

I propose to create a virtual research environment with the mission to address knowledge gaps in Wikimedia projects in a transparent and participatory fashion. Research undertaken through this environment would be organized in an open-by-default fashion, through dedicated projects continuously documented in public that welcome constructive edits, feedback and other forms of collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Such a facility would complement existing quality control workflows on the platforms, strengthen the way in which they could leverage relevant expertise, and enrich the open research landscape with a somewhat universal edit button. It would connect Wikimedia projects with ongoing research pertaining to these knowledge gaps, thereby broadening the scope for both participation in such research and for spillovers into education, while maintaining the community-driven approach and commitment to transparency that has made Wikimedia so successful. This translates into using participatory community processes to define, identify and prioritize knowledge gaps and research needs as well as suitable governance and collaboration mechanisms. The approach can be piloted with knowledge gaps already identified by the Wikimedia community or in expert-led analyses of Wikimedia content. Likewise, the pilot would initially be using existing Wikimedia infrastructures, which can already support many digital research workflows.


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Daniel Mietchen



Published: 24 Mar, 2023

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