The Wikipedia Year of Science 2016 is an unprecedented initiative to
improve Wikipedia’s potential for communicating science to the public.
By connecting higher education classrooms to the publishing power of
Wikipedia, the Wiki Education Foundation is helping future scientists
learn about science communication, while improving Wikipedia’s science
coverage for millions of readers worldwide.
Major support for the Year of Science is generously provided by Google
and the Simons Foundation.
According to the Pew Research Center,1 among web-connected American adults:
70% turn to the web to learn more about scientific topics.
52% use the web to fact-check scientific information.
90% use a search engine first.
Wikipedia has more links from search engines than any other website,
and is often the first search result listed when searching for
scientific information. Wikipedia’s content reaches more than 450
million readers around the world, on topics ranging from greenhouse
gas to the solar system. That makes Wikipedia one of the most powerful
platforms for the dissemination of science information in the world.
Despite Wikipedia’s reach, its content is written by volunteers. These
volunteers make bold contributions in areas they’re interested in, but
those topics don’t always match what people want to know. While
Wikipedia offers high-quality content about certain topics, a large
proportion of pageviews goes to articles that are insufficiently
Women and science
The Year of Science is an opportunity to build the skills of the next
generation of women scientists. While nearly 90% of Wikipedia’s
content is written by men, more than 65% of Wiki Education
Foundation’s student editors are women. We’re focused on developing
biographies of women scientists to help balance the gender content
gap. We believe that expanding Wikipedia’s coverage of important women
will bring greater awareness of women’s role in the sciences and
inspire the next generation of pioneers.
The Wiki Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps
fill content gaps — like those in the sciences — on Wikipedia, while
providing students a valuable learning experience. Our flagship
Classroom Program starts with a simple idea: Instead of writing a
paper that gets thrown away at the end of the term, university
students research and write Wikipedia articles on course topics.
The Year of Science will deliver well- sourced articles on important
scientific topics to Wikipedia, written by students studying the topic
and overseen by subject matter expert faculty members. Students gain
crucial science communication skills, such as critically assessing
existing content, identifying what’s missing, and filling those gaps
with clear language cited to reliable sources.
What we’re doing
For Higher Education Instructors (United States and Canada)
The Wiki Education Foundation provides the support for the Wikipedia
portion of Year of Science classes, including:
Assignment design guidelines based on our expertise
An online training to introduce students to Wikipedia policies and procedures
Printed handbooks offering advice and guidelines for students and professors
Phone, email, and video support during the term for professors and students
Metrics about student edits, including amount of content added and
page views of articles
Partnerships with academic associations in the sciences
For Wikipedia editors
The Year of Science is a community-wide event. We’ve developed an
on-wiki portal to support open involvement from Wikipedians, new and
old, and interested WikiProjects. See the portal at[[Wikipedia:Year of
Science]], where you can also find news, highlights, projects, and
We’re looking to hear from instructors, academic associations,
Wikipedians, journalists and universities who are interested in the
Wikipedia Year of Science. Send us a message below, and we’ll contact
you with ways to get involved.
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