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Wikipedia at the Royal Society: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


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Wikipedia has a troubled relationship with scientists and their science. Many scientists are wary of editing Wikipedia and reluctant to contribute their knowledge to it, despite its global reach. Consequently, Wikipedia's coverage of Science is very variable with many notable scientists work either completely absent or poorly described.

There are several WikiProjects that are tackling these problems across Science, including in Computational Biology, Medicine, Cell Biology, Physiology and Women Scientists.

This talk will describe how the WikiProject Royal Society has addressed these issues, through its Wikipedian in Residence scheme. We will examine the outcomes of the project as well as the challenges that remain for this ongoing collaboration between the Royal Society and Wikimedia UK.

We will discuss the good, bad and "ugly" aspects of scientists Wiki-biographies (quick biographies in Wikipedia) and draw conclusions about improving coverage of Scientists, and their Science in Wikipedia using the resources of a learned academic society.

Speaker biography: Dr. Duncan Hull is a lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester who started editing Wikipedia in 2004. He helped setup the Wikipedian in Residence scheme at the Royal Society in 2012.

Published in: Science
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Wikipedia at the Royal Society: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  1. 1. Wikipedia at the Royal Society: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Dr. Duncan Hull School of Computer Science University of Manchester Friday 13th October 2017 The Physiological Society Hodgkin Huxley House, London
  2. 2. See lecture capture of this talk at or Google “wikipedia royal society good bad ugly”
  3. 3. Acknowledgements 1 • Andy Mabbett @pigsonthewing • Paul Nurse @TheCrick • Ruth Ford @RoyalSociety • Anisha Tailor @ThePhySoc • John Byrne, Wikipedian in Residence • Magnus Manske @MagnusManske and Charles Matthews @CharlesMatthe12 for @wikidata • …and thousands of editors
  4. 4. Acknowledgements 2 (Mancunian mentors & managers) • Professor Carole Goble • Professor Ulrike Sattler • Professor Robert Stevens • Professor Jim Miles • Dr. Toby Howard • Professor Steve Pettifer • Professor Douglas Kell