Science experts learn how to bring their knowledge to Wikipedia

By on July 23, 2018

Science experts learn how to bring their knowledge to Wikipedia

By on July 23, 2018

Science experts learn how to bring their knowledge to Wikipedia

Contributing scientific content to Wikipedia means being able to distill complex topics to a general audience who may not have a scientific background. Experts are well positioned to do this sort of ‘translating’ because they have access to the latest research and have a deep understanding of these topic areas. It’s no secret that the public looks to Wikipedia to understand scientific topics and histories. So let’s make that information as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

Wiki Education is one of the only organizations systematically improving Wikipedia’s coverage of science. And we’re doing that through our Communicating Science initiative and our new Wikipedia Fellows program. Wikipedia Fellows engages experts in bringing their expertise to the world’s fifth most visited website. Fellows learn how to create, expand, and/or improve articles as part of a three-month, Wiki Education-facilitated online course. We’re announcing two new cohorts focused on improving Wikipedia’s coverage of science. To recruit these experts, we’ve partnered with the American Chemical Society, Association for Women in Mathematics, Association for Psychological Science, and Linguistic Society of America.

For more information about the Wikipedia Fellows program, including application opportunities, visit fellows.wikiedu.org.

Meet the Women in Science cohort:

On English Wikipedia, only 17% of biographies are about women. Wiki Education and the Wikipedia community at large are eager to change that figure. This particular group of new Fellows will work actively to counteract Wikipedia’s gender gap, the bias in Wikipedia content that prioritizes the representation of the lives and accomplishments of men. Wikipedia as an encyclopedic platform doesn’t contain gaps on purpose, but due to the fact that volunteers are responsible for all maintenance and creation of its content, gaps inevitably arise. This cohort will be producing biographies of women scientists, adding to articles of their accomplishments, and creating articles about these women scientists and their works that do not exist yet.

American Chemical Society (ACS)

  • Alice Chang is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. With a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, her research interests connect polymer chemistry and polymer physics in order to guide materials design. Alice sees contributing to Wikipedia as a valuable opportunity to communicate important science to a public audience.
  • Jiazhen Chen is a graduate student at Northwestern University. He believes it is the responsibility of the scientist to provide easy-accessed, easy-to-understand information for the general public. He is interested in improving Wikipedia’s coverage of chemicals of public interest.
  • Mukund Chorghade is President and CSO at THINQ Pharma. He is interested in improving articles related to chemistry in medicine, as well as drug discovery and development. He wants the public to be more cognizant of the transforming power of chemistry.
  • Alexandra Golliher is a graduate student at New Mexico State University. She would like to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of chemists, institutions, conferences, and the current scientific climate in politics – thus ensuring that other scientists have access to dependable information about these topics.
  • Claire Jarvis is a Postdoctoral Scientist at Emory University. With a PhD in organic chemistry, she looks forward to putting chemical reactions in context on Wikipedia to explain why they are important or useful to scientists.
  • Alex Kluber is a graduate student at Rice University. He says Wikipedia has been an essential resource for his development as a scientist, and that he would like to give back as an act of public service. He is interested in improving Wikipedia articles related to his expertise in biological physics – including a broad range of physical theories and computational strategies relevant to modeling proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.
  • Karen (Youngah) Kwon is a graduate student at Columbia University. With backgrounds in physical chemistry and material science, Karen is excited to create and expand articles on women who have made a major contribution to the sciences.
  • Anibal Lopes is the Quality Control Director at CiVentiChem, LLC and Alabaster GMP, LLC. He can interpret highly technical information and translate it into a palatable poem, to enlighten the misinformed. He is interested in cultivating the history of scientific thought, as well as improving Wikipedia articles related to the environment, biotechnology, health, engineering, and psychology.

Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)

  • Linda Beverly is a student at California State University, East Bay. Linda has wanted to engage with Wikipedia for many years, and is excited that this program will provide her the necessary information to become a contributor. She has a wide range of interests including mathematics, computer science, social and behavioral sciences, cybersecurity, music, social justice, and much more. She’s also interested in acknowledging female mathematicians’ contributions through her editing work.
  • Jiahua Jiang is a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Jiahua is primarily interested in explaining technical terms in research articles, and in spreading knowledge to help others.
  • Donna LaLonde is a Director of Strategic Initiatives at the American Statistical Association. She is interested in contributing articles that will improve the quantitative literacy of Wikipedia’s readers. She is also interested in augmenting the representation of women in STEM.
  • Caitlin Lienkaemper is a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University. They is broadly interested in improving coverage on the intersection of math and mathematical modeling with the political, legal, and social world. Some specific subtopics in this area include the mathematical analysis of gerrymandering, voting theory, mathematical modeling in climate change and in ecology more broadly, math education, and biographies of mathematicians.
  • Rebeccah MacKinnon is studying to be an algebraic topologist at the University of Iowa. She would like to improve articles on the various homology and cohomology theories. She would also like to work on improving articles concerning subjects undergraduates may encounter, such as graphs and derivatives, so that they are more accessible and useful to the average student.
  • Elham Matinpour of Temple University is interested in improving Wikipedia articles related to mathematics, philosophy, and the history and philosophy of mathematics. She is looking forward to the unique and interesting experience ahead in this program.
  • Denise Rangel Tracy is Visiting Professor of Mathematics at Central Connecticut State University. She is excited by this opportunity to share her knowledge with the general public. As a pure mathematician, she says, these types of opportunities do not come very frequently.
  • Saumya Sinha is a graduate student at the University of Washington. She is interested in improving technical articles in science and math, biographies of scientists, and articles on the American and/or Indian educational system. She sees Wikipedia editing as a good way of engaging in effective public discourse.
  • Rebecca Steiner is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech. She would like to improve articles containing statistics about the economic growth of the country, unemployment rates, and immigration. She believes people should be able to consult the Internet for facts and be confident in what they find.

Meet the Communicating Science cohort

Our Communicating Science initiative extends across all of our programs. The initiative aims to improve public knowledge by creating and expanding Wikipedia articles about science. Students in our Classroom Program have been successful in translating complex scientific concepts for a lay audience (especially since the topics were once so new to them). So have Visiting Scholars. And now academic experts will have the opportunity to expand on that work even further. Meet our Communicating Science Wikipedia Fellows cohort.

American Chemical Society (ACS)

  • Abhisek Manikonda is a doctoral student at UNC Charlotte. As a student in environmental science, he hopes to contribute to subjects regarding public health, sanitation, clean water, water scarcity, and related topics.
  • Bruce Burton is Senior Principal Scientist at Huntsman Corp. He is interested in improving Wikipedia’s coverage of thermosetting polymers, plastics, epoxy resins, and other science related items.
  • Helen Siaw is a graduate student and research assistant at Emory University. She is interested in creating new Wikipedia articles related to current biophysical chemistry or general chemistry research, as well as updating and adding citations to other science-related articles.
  • Jeffrey Mak is a Research Officer at the University of Queensland. He is passionate about social justice and is trained as a scientist. He sees Wikipedia Fellows as a great opportunity to combine his passions and skills to contribute to society.
  • Nihar Kinarivala is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He would like to improve articles related to life sciences, particularly pertaining to FDA approved drugs, drugs in clinical trials, drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, or chemical biology.
  • Yvonne DePorre is Laboratory Manager at the University of Michigan. She enjoys finding scientific sources and incorporating them into resources for the general public. She also enjoys making chemdraw pictures of reactions or structures, and looks forward to making them to illustrate relevant Wikipedia articles.

Association for Psychological Science (APS)

  • Beth Venzke is Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Concordia University, Chicago. With a background in developmental psychology, she would like to focus on providing accurate information on issues related to how individuals develop biologically and the role of the environment in this development. She is also interested in social justice.
  • Cecil McManus is Director of Assessment and Compliance at Fayetteville State University. He is interested in editing topics related to the relationship between psychological stress and health outcomes for ethnic-minorities. He is also interested in issues related to educational outcomes in colleges and universities, as well as the effectiveness of asynchronous web-based education across for-profit and non-profit platforms.
  • Chris Koch is Professor of Psychology at George Fox University. He is interested in improving cognition-related pages, especially those related to the application of cognitive findings and the related ethical considerations. He hopes to encourage people to think about the application of cognitive science related to cognitive processes and principles.
  • Erin Bowen is Professor and Department Chair at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Her interests include aviation psychology, human error in organizations, interpreting data in non-technical settings, critical reading/thinking, and decision making.
  • Katheryn Eads is a Professor at Florida Keys Community College. She looks forward to improving psychology-related articles and learning something new through the process.

Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)

  • Samantha Kao is a graduate student and teaching assistant at Western Washington University. She often looks to Wikipedia to learn more about mathematicians whose lives interest her, particularly with respect to female mathematicians, and looks forward to improving those articles herself.
  • Violet Tiema is a teaching assistant at the University of Iowa. She is interested in improving articles related to social systems, educational information, and African studies.

Linguistic Society of America (LSA)

  • Amy Fountain is Associate Professor at the University of Arizona. She is interested in improving articles about Native American and Indigenous languages; language endangerment and revitalization; and stigmatized varieties of English.
  • Christian Brickhouse is a graduate student at Stanford University. He is interested in improving articles related to sociolinguistics, and is excited to improve public knowledge in the process.
  • Sandra McGury is a graduate student at the University of Georgia. She sees Wikipedia Fellows as a good opportunity to engage in the linguistic discourse, while also informing the public about topics like formal linguistics, particularly syntax and morphology.

 

  • Marwa Wafeeq Abdelkhaliq Ibraheem is a Research Scholar & volunteer at the University of California, Berkeley.

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