At the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting this year, scientists gathering from all around the world were asked to ponder one question. What does science stand for? AGU proposed their own answer to be discussed over the course of the meeting: science stands for inclusion, creativity, and thinking bigger.
Director of Partnerships Jami Mathewson and Outreach and Communications Associate Cassidy Villeneuve attended the fall meeting and were eager to connect with attendees about our mutual passion for these pillars.
Those who came by our booth were enthusiastic about Wiki Education’s commitment to equity and open knowledge, and wanted to learn how they could help. Some were a great fit for our upcoming professional development courses, which train scientists to edit Wikipedia articles in their field. Others were interested in bringing Wikipedia editing assignments into their university classrooms and thus were perfect for our Wikipedia Student Program. All shared a passion for ensuring the public has access to accurate and complete science information.
According to AGU, inclusion in science means “free and open exchange of knowledge”, “diverse ideas and individuals”, and “unselfish cooperation”. We couldn’t help but notice the alignment with Wikipedia’s own values. The unique online encyclopedia serves to gather all the world’s knowledge and share it freely with everyone. Because all information on Wikipedia is written by volunteers, it requires “unselfish cooperation” by nature. And Wiki Education’s commitment to bringing a more diverse range of editorship to the platform will help expand the diversity of ideas represented there. We had a great time sharing our practical solutions for facilitating open science and enjoyed hearing from the experts themselves about why they believe this to be so important.
For AGU, creativity in science means “we collaborate, co-create, debate, experiment, and learn”. This pillar fits well with Wikipedia’s process of crowdsourcing knowledge. The detailed and particular process of consensus building on the encyclopedia requires extensive collaboration, effective communication between individuals and across disciplines, and humility in favor of truth.
“We commit to our work for the benefit of humanity, in small and large ways, but always with care,” says AGU. It’s a value that’s integral to each Wikipedia volunteer’s dedicated work of making the site what it is.
“Our Earth and space science community is united by a passion for science and driven by the profound effects our work can have on others, our communities, our nations and our world,” writes AGU. At Wiki Education, we also recognize the positive impact that knowledge can have on the world. When scientific information reaches outside of the academy, more people are equipped to make better informed political and behavioral choices. But to make that impact beyond the scientific community, scientists need to reach the public where they are.
Let’s think beyond the traditional routes of knowledge production. How can we include more voices in that production and how can we get that knowledge into the hands of more people? Wikipedia offers an opportunity to expand scientific knowledge into the public sphere. Our professional development courses engage scientists in that very expansion, channeling their passion for open knowledge in an impactful way. And not only is the public looking to Wikipedia to understand new scientific topics, so are the experts! Let’s work together to make that resource a good one.
So, for scientists interested in open science, consider engaging the place where the public most often seeks their information. That place is Wikipedia. And we’re here to help you do that.
For information about our professional development course opportunities, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. To read reflections by past course participants, click here.