In the Wikipedia research community — that is, the group of academics and Wikipedians who are interested in studying Wikipedia — there has been a pretty substantial and longstanding problem with how research is published. Academics, from graduate students to tenured faculty, are deeply invested and entrenched in an system that rewards the publication of research. Publish or perish, as we’ve all heard. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of publications which are recognized as ‘academic’ require us to assign copyright to the publication, so that the publisher can then charge for access to the article. This is in direct contradiction with the goals of Wikipedia, as well as many other open source and open content creation communities — communities which are the subject of a substantial amount of academic research.
Here are my notes from the closing ceremony of Wikimania. It was really an amazing conference and I was very honored to be there.
This is a paper I presented at Wikimania 2008, the international conference of those involved with or interested in Wikipedia, Wiktonary, Wikibooks, or any other wiki under the Wikimedia Foundation umbrella. This presentation was about the relationship between Wikipedia and Academia.
The official theme or slogan for this year’s Wikimania is “the knowledge revolution that is changing wisdom.” I think this phrase – especially the difference between knowledge and wisdom – was chosen very carefully and I think it is an excellent distinction to make. This morning’s opening ceremony began with a speech from the Egyptian Minister of State for Administrative Development, Dr. Ahmed Darwish. I will relay his comments here, without much analysis – that will come later, when I have the time.
I am currently in Egypt for Wikimania 2008, which is being held this year at the Library of Alexandria. On Sunday, I will be presenting my ethnographic analysis of conceptions and misconceptions academics hold about Wikipedia. This presentation was going to be about old, computer-illiterate professors but has turned into something much more interesting: a commentary on Wikipedia’s status in the so-called postmodern digital humanities. I will update the post on this site as I finalize my presentation.
I will also be blogging and Twittering about the conference. Stay tuned for updates.
This is an investigation into an Internet subculture which I wrote for a class I took titled “Rhetorics of Cybercultures.” It is an ethnography into the community formed by small number of Wikipedia contributors who care enough to decide how, at some level, Wikipedia is run. The work discusses identity, communication, and organizational hierarchy in this subculture.