Research directions towards the Wikimedia 2030 strategy – Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Research team has published a set of white papersthat outline our plans and priorities for the next 5 years. These white papers, which were developed collaboratively by all members of the team, reflect our thinking about the kind of research that will be necessary to further the 2030 Wikimedia strategic direction of knowledge equity and knowledge as a service.

Altogether, these white papers define a set of recommended directions in three key areas—knowledge gapsknowledge integrity, and foundations—where the Wikimedia Foundation, in partnership with affiliates and academic collaborators, can help the Wikimedia movement address and anticipate challenges and take advantage of emerging technological opportunities. Example directions include:

  • Developing a knowledge equity index to track progress towards removing barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge
  • Identifying new methods and tools for characterizing bias, information quality, and trustworthiness in Wikimedia content
  • Designing and testing machine learning technologies to assist contributors in identifying and filling knowledge gaps….”

UVA Library, UVA Press Partner to Make Original Scholarship Freely Available | UVA Today

“Students and parents often and understandably object to the high cost of textbooks, and colleges and universities also incur high costs to make academic research in scholarly journals available to students and faculty alike.

It’s a problem that affects everyone – students, researchers and scholars, the colleges and universities where they work, and the public who often have no easy access to the latest studies. A new partnership at the University of Virginia aims to solve these problems and to make new knowledge more readily available – and free.

Called “Aperio,” the new digital publishing partnership between the University Library and University of Virginia Press employs the latest technology to produce what’s called “open access” to research, scholarship and other educational materials – eventually including textbooks. (“Aperio” is a Latin word meaning “to uncover, to open, to make public.”) …”

Blacklisting or Whitelisting? Deterring Faculty in Developing Countries from Publishing in Substandard Journals

Abstract:  A thriving black-market economy of scam scholarly publishing, typically referred to as ‘predatory publishing,’ threatens the quality of scientific literature globally. The scammers publish research with minimal or no peer review and are motivated by article processing charges and not the advancement of scholarship. Authors involved in this scam are either duped or willingly taking advantage of the low rejection rates and quick publication process. Geographic analysis of the origin of predatory journal articles indicates that they predominantly come from developing countries. Consequently, most universities in developing countries operate blacklists of deceptive journals to deter faculty from submitting to predatory publishers. The present article discusses blacklisting and, conversely, whitelisting of legitimate journals as options of deterrence. Specifically, the article provides a critical evaluation of the two approaches by explaining how they work and comparing their pros and cons to inform a decision about which is the better deterrent.

Sapping Attention: How badly is Google Books search broken, and why?

I periodically write about Google Books here, so I thought I’d point out something that I’ve noticed recently that should be concerning to anyone accustomed to treating it as the largest collection of books: it appears that when you use a year constraint on book search, the search index has dramatically constricted to the point of being, essentially, broken….

What’s going on? I don’t know. I guess I blame the lawyers: I suspect that the reasons have to do with the way the Google books project has become a sort of Herculaneum-on-the-Web, frozen in time at the moment that anti-Books lawsuits erupted in earnest 11 years ago. The site is still littered with pre-2012 branding and icons, and the still-live “project history” page ends with the words “stay tuned…” after describing their annual activity for 2007….”

Open Letter from History Journal Editors in Response to Consultation on Plan S – Past and Present

We write as the editors of a number of academic journals in History and associated Humanities disciplines, based in the UK, continental Europe and North America, in collective response to the call for feedback about the proposals for the implementation of Science Europe’s Plan S.

The overall aim of Plan S, to make publicly funded research freely accessible to all users, is a laudable one. As a group we are committed to the principle of Open Access (OA). …

We are, however, concerned about some key aspects of Plan S and about their workability in practice, particularly (but by no means exclusively) within the landscape of the Humanities, in which publishing operates in a significantly different way from the way it does in STEM disciplines. …”

Plan S and the economics of scientific journal publishing

“Paywalls and subscription requirements are currently tools publishers use to exercise their market power. However, the underlying reason for publishers’ market power is not this tool, but rather the fact that journals provide services that cannot, at least from the point of view of individual researchers, be easily replaced by the services of other journals. This will prevail even with open access.Rather than imposing very strict requirements on journals’ business models, we would encourage funders to collaborate with academies and professional organizations. These organizations have the professional credibility to establish new but still highly regarded journals if needed. Funders can fully finance such journals, presumably at a reasonable cost, making subscription fees as well as publication fees redundant….”

Plan S: A threat to quality of science? | Science

However, the requirement to publish in an open-access journal does not consider the most important aspect of publishing: selecting a journal that has a strong record of rigorous and high-quality review. This is essential to ensuring that the science is credible. Journal quality is built on a strong track record of publishing significant and impactful manuscripts in a given field. The current Plan S emphasizes only the open-access aspect of the journal, not the quality of the science the journal publishes.

For over a century, academic societies have developed scientific journals that provide rigorous scientific review of submitted manuscripts. To do so, societies must recruit leadership (such as editors and editorial board members) and provide fiduciary oversight for journals. These responsibilities require highly trained personnel and are expensive. In turn, these journals provide society members with a venue for publishing their research and advancing the discipline. For societies that self-publish, the proceeds from the journals fund activities such as scientific meetings, which focus on the presentation of current research and exchange of information, and mentoring and financial support of young scientists, which are essential to sustaining a rich scientific community. As members of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, the worldwide body for pharmacological societies, we believe using only open-access journals will negatively affect those activities of our professional societies….”

Wikipedia is a surprisingly good resource for doctors.

“But at least one new study suggests that Wikipedia is superior to other medical sources in at least one key respect: short-term knowledge acquisition. That is, when it comes to finding the right answers quickly, Wikipedia seems to lead the pack. This suggests a new way of thinking about the utility of the crowdsourced encyclopedia. Wikipedia delivers value not only by offering massive amounts of information with its nearly 5.8 million English articles so far, but by providing the means for even professional users to quickly identify and retrieve the most relevant information….

The authors of the paper, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in October, devised a “three-arm randomized trial” to test the comparative effects of three resources. 116 first- or second-year medical students in Canada took a multiple-choice medical test similar to the Canadian medical licensing examination. During the test, participants took notes on topics to research. After the test, the students were provided one of three pre-selected resources: Wikipedia, a digital textbook, or UpToDate, a subscription service mostly used by doctors. After the test, participants researched topics and took written notes using their assigned resource. Then the students retook the test using their notes.


If you’re like me, then at this point you’re probably feeling bad for the poor medical students. But at least the trial yielded a meaningful result: Students in the Wikipedia group had significantly better post-test performances on the exam compared to the digital textbook group. The Wikipedia group also outperformed the UpToDate group by a small margin, an impressive result given that UpToDate costs more than $500 annually for a subscription….

It’s not only the general public that turns to Wikipedia for health content. More than 90 percent of medical students, and 50­–70 percent of physicians, use the online encyclopedia as a source for health information….”