The role of a Visiting Scholar
Wikipedia Visiting Scholars are experienced Wikipedians who receive free remote access to resources at an educational institution’s library (such as special collections, research databases, ebooks, or paywalled journals), and use those resources to write high-quality Wikipedia articles in a topic area of mutual interest.
- Scholars are given an institutional account to access library resources from anywhere.
- Scholars are given access for a particular length of time, usually 6–12 months.
- Scholars contribute to Wikipedia in one or more broad topic areas.
- Scholars are volunteer editors, not employees. In some cases, they may receive a small honorarium.
- Scholars improve Wikipedia in a variety of ways, and are asked to write a short blog post about the impact they’ve had at the end of the agreed upon term.
Who can become a Visiting Scholar?
- Any experienced Wikipedian in good standing with the Wikipedia community is welcome to apply.
- Scholars should have a solid understanding of Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines and know what makes for a high-quality article.
- Numeric data has limited importance, but Visiting Scholars typically have at least one year of editing experience and/or 1,000 edits.
- “Visiting” takes place via the Internet. Most Visiting Scholars opportunities are open to Wikipedians anywhere in the world. Geographic proximity may allow for access to the library’s physical holdings, but only in exceptional cases is it required.
- Institutions specify particular topic areas they would like to see improved. To apply for one of them, you should have some interest in one or more of the topics specified. If you don’t see interests like your own, however, you should still apply to participate in the program (see How to become a Visiting Scholar).
For a list of current scholars and affiliated institutions, see our Current Scholars page.
How to become a Visiting Scholar
Review the openings below to see if your interests overlap with the topic areas specified by the sponsoring institutions. If so, head to the Visiting Scholars application. It will ask you to specify which institution’s posting you’re interested in. You will be asked to explain why you’re interested to be a Visiting Scholar, why you’re a good match for that particular opening, and about your experience editing Wikipedia.
If there aren’t any openings below, or if none are a good fit for you, you should still apply to be a Visiting Scholar. If you indicate on the application that you are not applying for one of the open positions, it will ask you to talk about your editing interests and goals. When we find a library or academic institution that makes a good match, we’ll make the connection and get in touch with you. The process can take a bit longer, since it typically takes time for an institution to set up the program on their end, but the result is worth it.
- Visiting Scholars application
- Submit the form and e-mail a copy of your resume or CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. Selection is based on experience on Wikipedia and subject matter interests, not credentials or job history, but a resume/CV and the information it contains are commonly required by university administrators in order to grant library access. You will need to provide your real name for the same reason, but tell us if you would like to remain pseudonymous, and we will not use your real name in any publicly accessible communications.
We currently have open positions at five institutions:
Temple University is a state-related higher education institution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1884 when lawyer and minister Russell Conwell started tutoring members of the community’s working class in the basement of his Baptist Temple. It quickly grew, with 600 students by the time it was chartered just four years later. Today it is a research university (R1) with 17 colleges, including a law school and medical college, and 38,000 students.
Temple University Libraries would like to give an experienced Wikipedian remote access to its resources to improve articles on the history of Philadelphia, the history of African-Americans in Philadelphia, and/or the history and study of the Holocaust.
The Visiting Scholar would have access to a full range of Temple University Libraries resources, including extensive collections on the history of Philadelphia, a collection of work by Holocaust scholar and educator Franklin Littell, and several relevant photography collections including John Mosley’s documentation of African-American life in Philadelphia between 1930-1960.
For more information, including an overview of library resources, see the Temple University Visiting Scholars page.
University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) was founded in 1789, making it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. One of the original Public Ivy schools, it consistently ranks among the best universities. It is committed to making the best quality education and information available to the widest audience possible.
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience was founded (as the Department of Psychology) in 1921. Its mission is “to engage in psychological research and scholarship of the highest quality and to provide excellent teaching and service, informed and enhanced by our efforts to discover, synthesize, and transmit knowledge.” The department is rated as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Report, with the Clinical Psychology program in particular ranking #2 for 2017.
UNC and the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience would like to work with an experienced Wikipedian to improve articles about clinical psychological science, with a possible emphasis on evidence-based assessment (especially open access/public domain tools, rather than commercial products).
For more information, including an overview of library resources, see the University of North Carolina Visiting Scholars page.
University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco (USF) is a Jesuit Catholic university in San Francisco, California. The city’s first university, USF was founded in 1855 as St. Ignatius Academy, a one-room schoolhouse with three students. Today its main campus spans 55 acres between the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park, with more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. It strives to educate leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world. An urban university with a global perspective, USF offers students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as persons and professionals, and the values and sensitivity necessary to be men and women for others.
The Gleeson Library/Geschke Center shares in the university’s mission to distinguish itself as a diverse, socially responsible learning community of high quality scholarship and academic rigor sustained by a faith that does justice. The library plays a key role in the university’s core value to create, communicate, and apply knowledge to a world shared by all people and held in trust for future generations.
The Gleeson Library would like to work with an experienced Wikipedian to improve articles in one or more of the following topic areas:
- Social justice reformers and reform movements/projects in the Jesuit Catholic tradition
- Social justice reformers or social reform movements and initiatives related, but not limited to the health sciences, library and information sciences, or the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Lesser known social justice reformers or social justice reform movements
- Ignatian/Jesuit educational traditions (e.g. humanism) and spirituality
For more information, including an overview of library resources, see the University of San Francisco Visiting Scholars page on Wikipedia.
University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico (UNM) is the state’s flagship institution with five campuses and a combined student population of over 32,000 as of Spring 2017. It is designated as a Carnegie-Classified “Highest Research Activity” university as well as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Based in the large, rural state of New Mexico, one of five U.S. states to be a majority-minority state with 60.8% of the population self-identifying as being part of a minority group.
The College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences (UL&LS) supports the largest and most comprehensive library in the state of New Mexico. Its distinctive collections feature diverse materials on New Mexico and the Southwest, Indigenous Nations, and Latin America. Shared from the perspectives of Native Americans, Iberians, Chicanos, Latin Americans and others across the hemisphere, these unique holdings offer diverse lenses for addressing more than six hundred years of culture in the Southwest United States and Latin America.
The University of New Mexico Libraries would like to work with a Wikipedian to explore themes related to following interdisciplinary areas: Intersections of science, design, art, and architecture in New Mexico, Energy, water, and environmental policy in the Southwest and Latin America, and Healing and foodways in the high desert.
Please follow this link to apply.
North Dakota State University
Founded in 1890 as North Dakota’s land grant university, North Dakota State University (NDSU) is a Carnegie-Classified “Higher Research Activity” university. As a land grant university, there is a strong focus on agricultural research, but research interests also include the biomedical fields, materials science, engineering, history, and others.
The NDSU Libraries comprise the Main Library, Business Learning Center, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Klai Juba Wald Architectural Studies Library, NDSU Archives, and P.N. Haakenson Health Sciences Library. Their collections include 875,060 physical items, 232 databases, 86,334 e-journal titles, along with their specialized collections. The Libraries’ general collection supports the agricultural sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, chemistry, psychology and computer sciences. NDSU is fully accredited as an institution by the Higher Learning Commission.
This particular scholar’s position will require applicants to propose ideas to both the University Libraries as well as the corresponding department(s). The Libraries and corresponding departments will review applications. If you’re a Wikipedian with an interest in agriculture, German or Russian heritage in the United States or if you just want to learn more about being a Visiting Scholar, visit the Visiting Scholars section of our website here.
Please follow this link to apply.