Wikipedia Research Track

Details for call for papers for OpenSym 2015, Aug 19-21, 2015, in San Francisco, California.


The OpenSym conference includes a track specifically addressing research on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia ecosystem. Topics of interest to this track include, but are not limited to:


  • What skills, attributes, or connections enable participants to become empowered members of the Wikimedia communities? How are those skills, attributes, or connections obtained and enacted?
  • What patterns of individual behavior do Wikimedia project contributors follow? What do these patterns suggest about how software might better support effective collaboration between people?
  • Why do editors embrace particular social roles and join particular networks within communities? What relationships do these roles have to their motivations or psychological characteristics?
  • How do gender, geography, and other characteristics of editors influence Wikipedia editing?

Organization & Group Dynamics

  • Why do particular modes of organization and collective behavior support more inclusive or effective collaborative participation in Wikipedia or across Wikimedia projects?
  • What collective dynamics contribute to abusive patterns of participation (e.g., trolling and vandalism) and how can these be better harnessed or avoided in order to advance Wikipedia and other Wikimedia community goals?
  • How do different Wikipedias, WikiProjects, and/or Wikimedia projects compare in terms of their organization, norms, and governance?

Readership & Engagement

  • What do people read on Wikipedia? Which topics are specifically interesting? Is it possible to connect topics to specific news? Or in long term, has the interest of readers changed over the last ten years?
  • Is it possible to determine a typical evolutionary path from reading (passive participation) to editing articles (active participation)? If yes, what kind of software tools can support this transition process?
  • Does the engagement of people differ between countries and cultures? Among mobile site visitors? What role do local outreach activities play?

Technical Infrastructure & Design

  • How are Wikipedia articles shaped by the MediaWiki infrastructure? How might the infrastructure be changed to improve article quality, the engagement of editors, or other outcomes?
  • To what extent is the development path of MediaWiki influenced by Wikipedia’s community? Or to what extent does Wikipedia’s editor community hinder new developments? What design and development practices can facilitate the Wikimedia Foundation and community support?
  • What effects do new MediaWiki features have on system usability, performance, and participant experiences?

Content & Quality

  • Who writes for Wikipedia and how has that affected the quality and coverage of certain topics?
  • How can we measure the evolution of Wikipedia, for example, in quality and quantity of content, engagement of editors, or the sustainability of the project?
  • Is Wikipedia still a growing project? In which topical areas do editors still add content and how has this changed over time?
  • What evaluation procedures and metrics drive the production of high quality content? How can content quality be evaluated and measured effectively?


  • What are the interactions between the Wikipedia project and the production and diffusion of new research by the academic world?
  • As galleries, libraries, archives and museums hire Wikipedians-in-residence, what is the effect of these outreach initiatives involving the growing institutionalization of Wikipedia activities?
  • What broader impacts have Wikipedia, Wikipedians, and the Wikimedia movements had beyond the projects themselves?


The research paper submission deadline is April 13th, 2015 AoE (March 29th, 2015).

Submitters will be notified on or before May 25th, 2015.

For submission instructions, please see the main call for papers.


Research Track Chairs

  • Aaron Shaw, Northwestern University
  • Claudia Müller-Birn, Freie Universität Berlin

Research Track Members

  • Robert P. Biuk-Aghai, University of Macau, Macau
  • Dan Cosley Cornell, University Information Science, USA
  • Oliver Ferschke, Carnegie Mellon University, USA/Germany
  • Mayo Fuster Morrel, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  • R. Stuart Geiger, UC-Berkeley, School of Information, USA
  • Mark Graham, Oxford Internet Institute, Great Britain
  • Aaron Halfaker, Wikimedia Foundation, USA
  • Jerome Hergeaux, Sciences Po, France
  • Benjamin Mako Hill, University of Washington, USA
  • Dariusz Jemielniak, Kozminski University, Poland
  • Andreas Kaltenbrunner, Barcelona Media, Spain
  • David Laniado, Barcelona Media, Spain
  • Paolo Massa, Center for Information and Communication Technology of Bruno Kessler Foundation, Italy
  • Jonathan Morgan, Wikimedia Foundation, USA
  • Finn Årup Nielsen, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • Oded Nov, New York Polytechnic University, USA/Israel
  • Felipe Ortega, Rey Juan Carlos University, Spain
  • Christian Pentzold, Technische Universität Chemnitz/Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet & Society, Germany
  • Jodi Schneider, NUI Galway, Ireland
  • Dario Taraborelli, Wikimedia Foundation, USA/Italy
  • Taha Yasseri, University of Oxford, Iran/Great Britain
  • Jude Yew, National University of Singapore, Singapur
  • Haiyi Zhu, Carnegie Mellon University, USA/China

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