Proposal talk:Wikischolarships (individuals are granted online access to paid scientific publications)

From Strategic Planning
Latest comment: 14 years ago by Fasten in topic Wikipedia Magazine

We have a problem with paywalled references as they are not verifiable by most editors. Perhaps this scholarship program could be used to introduce a verification process whereby every contentious paywalled references get can be confirmed by a different editor. WereSpielChequers 08:57, 9 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

A good point that I had not thought of. The irony is that most of what is paywalled is created by editors, reviewers and researchers without payment. Perhaps ideas are needed about how wikimedia could aid open-access scientific publishing replace paywalled publishing. --LittleHow 05:00, 10 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Not a good point at all. Plenty of editors already use scientific papers hidden from the view of others. I regularly do. Creating a requirement of separate verifying is adding a bureaucratic step that will slow down the editing process for little gain. Sabine's Sunbird 23:16, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Fair point, I've struck "every" and replaced with "contentious". Yes perhaps only a tiny proportion of such edits are sufficiently contentious that they need verifying. But our policy is that data should be verifiable, and if the author has cited a paywalled reference then only another editor with access through that paywall can verify that information. WereSpielChequers 20:32, 27 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

How to assses?

This is interesting, but will depend entirely on how to assess the abilities of those 'trusted editors'. Likely, in many cases community support will not be adequate as a means to do this (the blind electing the deaf). - Brya 06:10, 10 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

This assessment could be done through the definition of a class of editors I would call "established editors" or "established members". The criteria would be along the lines of length of involvement, amount of activity, & a lack of bad behavior. This would give an incentive to volunteers to stay active & be more patient with other editors, instead of suffering the inevitable WikiBurnout caused by lack of appreciation for their efforts & the stress from encountering too many conflicts with other editors (not only the kooks & troublemakers but people who emphatically disagree with them). -- Llywrch 16:11, 11 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Those do not look like good criteria to me. A critism of Wikipedia often heard is that it is the "established editors" are the ones who are holding Wikipedia back, by doing they have always been doing, in defiance of central policies. My personal experience is that this is certainly true in at least some cases, and that article quality tends to be inversely proportional to the involvement of "established editors", using their own established 'policies'.
        What in this case is wanted is ability, reliabity and honest work, not political adroitness.- Brya 05:05, 12 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Exactly what Brya wrote. The point is to recognize those contributors who simply are contributing, not trying to climb up the pecking order of Wikipedia. (Which I doubt exists in fact.) And this would remove some of the attractiveness of being an Admin on Wikipedia -- which has become proof that a given person has "made it" -- something it was never meant to be. Instead, "established editor" would serve that need. -- Llywrch 04:59, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Well, there are plenty of "established editors" that I would not trust to get anything right, no matter how straightforward. Being an "established editor" is a matter of a political game, not a matter of ability. - Brya 16:32, 26 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Well, we can define an "established editor" as someone who has written at least the 50% of the text of 3 different featured articles, so we can be sure that this particular editor seeks quality. Best regards, Alpertron 20:10, 26 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
I like that! At least it would result in more featured articles. However, it is not fool proof as 1) I have seen featured articles with still plenty of errors in them (so it is no real guarantee of ability) and 2) some very talented people might not be able to meet this criterium. - Brya 16:41, 27 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Well, I'm not considered myself very talented but I've written two featured articles and four good articles in the Spanish Wikipedia (all of them are about roads in Argentina). Maybe someone can compile statistics about how many people meet these criteria. Anyway the money will be limited so we will not be able to give this "wikischolarship" to more than say 100 people, at least in the first stage. Best regards, Alpertron 18:40, 27 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
The other problem with that proposal is that a number of editors have opted out of the "Featured Article" process -- like me. While I don't have any problem with reviewing articles & providing feedback (Want an opinion? I've got plenty! ;), I've found that too many article reviewers tend to focus on minutiae & ignore vital points (e.g., the latest shibboleth from the Manual of Style versus overlooked vital information like the arrival of the railroad in the history of a town), which frustrates the **** outta me, which makes me lash out at everyone involved, which is unfair to those who are sincerely trying to do their best. Until one of those things change I'm not submitting any more articles, & I still haven't figured out how to change myself. -- Llywrch 17:59, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Actually, this is part of a general phenomenon. A lot of users prefer detailed statements over general ones, even going so far as to prefer a detailed-but-wrong statement over a general-and-correct statement. Detail does not require knowledge or insight, but only watchfulness. Watchfulness is easy to come by, knowledge and insight are not. - Brya 08:42, 6 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

Scholarships for non-Wikimedians

We might also consider scholarships for not-necessarily-Wikimedian students who do important Wikimedia-related research projects.--Pharos 00:55, 12 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

national licenses

In Germany we have Nationallizenzen (national licenses) where libraries worked together to free academic research. Wikimedia (Germany) could join the effort. 07:11, 12 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Resource Exchange

On en.wikipedia, we have the (now mostly inactive) w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange to help get those without access to resources behind paywalls in touch with those that can easily download and e-mail a pdf. I've done this myself many times for other editors who needed paywalled (or paper journal only) references. Perhaps increasing activity and ease of use of the resource exchanges is an alternative (and moneyless) option. Cheers, Rkitko 19:18, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Again, illegal. - Brya 08:47, 6 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

I note that one of the first things that this resource exchange does, is assume that all wikiprojects are Wikipedia projects. If we were serious about using this approach, I would suggest promoting it out of the pedia wiki, and making it available to wikibooks and wikiversity as well. Certainly, I have often found that articles I needed for my research on wikiversity were behind pay-walls. However this resource exchange concept really doesn't help if what you want to do is keep up to date on the journals in your area of research. You would have to ask for each article by name and would flood the interface. Graeme E. Smith 06:29, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Not to mention of course, that it would be open to abuse on the largest scale. Everybody wanting an illegal copy would queue up. - Brya 08:47, 6 September 2009 (UTC)Reply


I was going to propose this myself. I currently have access to a university library, but I haven't always and it is frustrating when you don't. Sabine's Sunbird 23:16, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Related proposal?

Maybe this is related to Proposal:Funding of Free knowledge centers in poverty areas which looks like Wikimedia foundation is going to open schools. I think the idea is somewhat unrealistic in the short run, building knowledge centers that one day might grow up to fully acknowledged schools is one thing, creating serious scholarships is quite another thing that requires building up an organisation for testing and certifying the scholar candidates with expert reviewed tests that are guaranteed to not be cheatable. The Funding of Free knowledge centers and Audio/visual Presentation seems to be more feasible in the shorter term. Scholarships seems to require too much work to be realistic in many years, IMHO. Rursus 20:21, 18 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Another factor that you don't take into account with the poverty areas proposal is the fact that you can live in poverty, without actually living in a poverty area. I think that computer access, to a common shared knowledge center via the internet is more reachable since there are many groups that will work to spread internet access to poverty areas, and poverty stricken people regardless of area. I for instance am involved in a scheme to give away used computers to people in poverty, that is supported by a Mental Health Association. The problem was explained to me, as the fact that high-end journals have been increasing their prices, and forcing libraries to spend more dollars for fewer journals. The whole open-source movement is trying to deal with this, but until open-source journals get the top journal ratings, top researchers are going to continue publishing in journals that sit behind pay-walls.

Also related

and someone who was a candidate on the recent board elections and proposed a strategic alliance with the smithsonian should be interested in this proposal. Good idea, good work. Saludos, Thamus 03:52, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

cheaper proposal

It would be cheaper to set up a Project where people that dont have access get the papers in questions sent to them per email by people who can download them freely at a library or somewhere. These subscriptions are expensive as hell and this way it would be much cheaper. Rather save the money for the server infrastructure! Greetings --Hannes Röst 12:27, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

An objection to that approach would be that it is quite illegal. - Brya 16:34, 26 August 2009 (UTC)Reply


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:20, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

I think many users (such as myself) would like to contribute more, and more often, if they had access to academic journals. It would be a significant motivator to many contributors/volunteers (such as myself) to contribute more, and more often, to Wikimedia if I had such access. -- Jcravens42 20:16, 24 November 2009 (UTC)Reply

Not just scientific and medical journals

It isn't just scientific and medical journals many Wikimedia contributors/volunteers need access to in order to create or edit robust, fact-based, reference-rich entries; it's any academic journal on any subject. Even for this Wikimedia strategic planning process, I could offer much more if I had access to academic journals regarding volunteerism and community engagement but, alas, I do not. -- Jcravens42 20:42, 24 November 2009 (UTC)Reply

Wikipedia Magazine

One could publish a "Wikipedia Magazine" similar to Scientific American or Technology Review. Authors who wrote articles for the magazine could be paid like professional authors but some content could be published in Wikipedia, Wikibooks or Wikiversity after a delay of several years. A magazine could also be a way to motivate financial support from the Wikipedia readership through magazine sales (e.g. in an ebook shop). Technology Review Inc. itself is a nonprofit independent media company owned by MIT.

The magazine could be written to be interesting for schools. [1] --Fasten 18:06, 3 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

This variant might help to avoid the potential effect of scaring away the volunteers if some editors of Wikipedia were paid while most were volunteers. A magazin would require more thorough and more extensive work and thus create a very accessible distinction. --Fasten 20:05, 3 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia Research Council

In analogy to the European Research Council one could form a Wikimedia Research Council. Original research could also justify funding unavailable to article editors.