Wikipedia is a highway to discovery
Wikipedia gets 8,000 views per second and 500 million monthly visitors. It’s the top online educational resource on the planet, with more links from search engines than any other site.1
That’s a powerful opportunity for universities to engage the public. Just ask the University of Washington library: when they added links from relevant Wikipedia articles to pieces in their digital archives, monthly traffic to those pieces grew by 700 percent.2
Sponsoring a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar can expand the impact of your research materials, special collections, and other institutional assets.
This page includes more details on how to get started.
The role of a Visiting Scholar
Wikipedia Visiting Scholars tap into your university’s digital resources (such as special collections, research databases, rare volumes, or paywalled journals) to write high-quality Wikipedia articles. Visiting Scholars use their experience to determine which articles to edit or create based upon the resources you provide.
- Scholars are remote.
- Scholars are unpaid.
- Scholars work on a fixed timeline determined by the sponsoring institution, typically lasting 6-12 months.
- Scholars and sponsors work out a schedule for checking in (for example, via phone calls, Skype, or Google Hangouts).
- Scholars may offer a remote presentation to report on their work, for example, at the end of a term or their sponsorship.
Visiting Scholar selection and expectations
Visiting Scholars are selected for their demonstrated ability to create and edit high-quality Wikipedia content. They are not selected based on their ability to train staff or work with students, and should not be expected to do so.
Wikipedia policy forbids original research. Visiting Scholars don’t create new findings based on your holdings.
Furthermore, institutions should be aware of what constitutes a conflict of interest on Wikipedia. Visiting scholars are unable to create promotional content about a university, institution, or faculty.
Here’s what you need to get started.
- A contact person at your institution who can work with the Visiting Scholar.
- A list of subject areas where your institution wants to develop Wikipedia articles.
- A description of any digitized special holdings a Visiting Scholar could make use of.
- An approved process for providing the Visiting Scholar with an institution email address or login and a way to remotely access your digital collections and online resources.
If you’re ready to sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar, head to the Visiting Scholar sponsorship form. We’ll use your responses to craft a call for applications. If you have additional questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a list of current institutions and their scholars, see our Current Scholars page.