Future of Facts

Future of Facts

Improving access to public information for millions of citizens

Over 450 million users turn to Wikipedia every month for accurate information about topics ranging from medical conditions to pop culture to history and more. Edited by volunteers, Wikipedia is strong in some areas. However, Wikipedia has gaps and lacks detailed and accurate articles about many topics including those that are relevant to informed citizens.

Wiki Education’s Future of Facts initiative will significantly improve Wikipedia’s coverage in topic areas that are key for an informed citizenry. In our model, higher education faculty assign their students to edit Wikipedia articles on course-related topics on Wikipedia. Wiki Education will provide training in source evaluation, critical thinking, and other skills students need to complete the assignment.

As a result of our efforts, we will empower millions of Wikipedia’s readers to contribute to society and participate in public affairs based on factual and reliable information.

Improving underdeveloped content areas on Wikipedia 

Working with professors and Wiki Education staff, students identify content gaps in Wikipedia and then improve existing articles or author their own.

Over the past couple of years, we have consistently increased the number of students that improve Wikipedia’s content quality. In 2017 alone, we raised the bar from 8,000 students to more than 15,000 students participating in our programs.

A recent study performed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon has shown that students who joined Wikipedia through Wiki Education’s Classroom Program edit more and improve articles more than did newcomers who joined Wikipedia in the traditional way.

Targeting high-impact articles through Visiting Scholars and Wikipedia Fellows

Through our Visiting Scholars program, Wikipedia editors gain online access to an educational institution’s library resources like databases, journals, ebooks, and special collections. As a result, high impact articles – articles with a large number of page views – are getting improved to the point that they reach Wikipedia’s highest quality level.

Through our Wikipedia Fellows pilot program, we’re training members of three of our partner associations to contribute to Wikipedia. By the end of the program, these subject-matter experts will make a substantial improvement to at least two articles on subjects important to our initiative.

Both efforts, Visiting Scholars and Wikipedia Fellows, will be instrumental in delivering free access to information that the American public cares most about.

Wiki Education has already partnered with professors at 429 universities in the United States and eleven academic associations. As part of Future of Facts, we’ll further expand our partnership network across North America.

Here’s a blog post about why we think this initiative is important. And here’s where you can find more information about our Classroom Program.