The Wikimedia Research Newsletter (WRN) covers research of relevance to the Wikimedia community. It has been appearing generally monthly since 2011, and features both academic research publications and internal research done at the Wikimedia Foundation. It is published as a section of The Signpost (titled "Recent research") and as a stand-alone article on Meta-Wiki.
The newsletter was founded in 2011 by Dario Taraborelli and Tilman Bayer at the Wikimedia Foundation. As of 2020, the core editorial team consists of Tilman (as the editor-in-chief) and Masssly, and around 90 bylined contributors have volunteered reviews and writeups since 2011. The associated @WikiResearch Twitter feed, where almost all covered papers are posted first, is run by Miriam Redi and Tilman, and has over 12,000 followers as of July 2020, and the @wikiresearch Fediverse feed has 33 followers on 8 different Fediverse community servers as of 23 September 2021.
How to subscribe
- To receive the full text of each new issue in the form of an HTML email, sign up here.
- The table of contents of each issue is cross-posted to the wiki-research-l mailing list.
- Follow the @WikiResearch feed on Twitter (also mirrored on Facebook and on mastodon.social). In addition to the monthly announcement of each new WRN issue, it also points to new preprints, papers or research-related blog posts before they are reviewed more fully in the upcoming issue.
- The Newsletters are also included in Wikipedia's The Signpost newspaper (which appears monthly), so if you subscribe to The Signpost, you'll receive the newsletter with your regular Signpost delivery to your Wikipedia talk page.
Search the WRN archives
Examples: Find research involving administrators / vandalism / pageviews / gender / Wiktionary / reverts.
Volume 13 (2023)
- WRN 13(02) – February 2023: "Wikipedia's Intentional Distortion of the Holocaust" in Poland and "self-focus bias" in coverage of global events
- WRN 13(01) – January 2023: Wikipedia's "moderate yet systematic" liberal citation bias
Volume 12 (2022)
- WRN 12(12) – December 2022: Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement in talk page disputes
- WRN 12(11) – November 2022: Study deems COVID-19 editors smart and cool, questions of clarity and utility for WMF's proposed "Knowledge Integrity Risk Observatory"
- WRN 12(10) – October 2022: Disinformatsiya: Much research, but what will actually help Wikipedia editors?
- WRN 12(09) – September 2022: How readers assess Wikipedia's trustworthiness, and how they could in the future
- WRN 12(08) – August 2022: The dollar value of "official" external links
- WRN 12(07) – July 2022: A century of rulemaking on Wikipedia analyzed
- WRN 12(06) – June 2022: Wikipedia versus academia (again), tables' "immortality" probed
- WRN 12(05) – May 2022: 35 million Twitter links analysed
- WRN 12(04) – April 2022: Student edits as "civic engagement"; how Wikipedia readers interact with images
- WRN 12(03) – March 2022: Top scholarly citers, lack of open access references, predicting editor departures
- WRN 12(02) – February 2022: How editors and readers may be emotionally affected by disasters and terrorist attacks
- WRN 12(01) – January 2022: Articles with higher quality ratings have fewer "knowledge gaps"
Volume 11 (2021)
- WRN 11(12) – December 2021: STEM articles judged unsuitable for undergraduates below the first paragraph
- WRN 11(11) – November 2021: Vandalizing Wikipedia as rational behavior
- WRN 11(10) – October 2021: Welcome messages fail to improve newbie retention
- WRN 11(09) – September 2021: Wikipedia images for machine learning; Experiment justifies Wikipedia's high search rankings
- WRN 11(08) – August 2021: IP editors, inclusiveness and empathy, cyclones, and world heritage
- WRN 11(07) – July 2021: Gender bias and statistical fallacies, disinformation and mutual intelligibility
- WRN 11(06) – June 2021: Feminist critique of Wikipedia's epistemology, Black Americans vastly underrepresented among editors, Wiki Workshop report: Summaries of 26 new research publications
- (The May 2021 issue was skipped.)
- WRN 11(04) – April 2021: Quality of aquatic and anatomical articles
- WRN 11(03) – March 2021: 10%–30% of Wikipedia’s contributors have subject-matter expertise
- WRN 11(02) – February 2021: Take an AI-generated flashcard quiz about Wikipedia; Wikipedia's anti-feudalism
- WRN 11(01) – January 2021: Students still have a better opinion of Wikipedia than teachers do
Volume 10 (2020)
- WRN 10(12) – December 2020: Predicting the next move in Wikipedia discussions
- WRN 10(11) – November 2020: Wikipedia's Shoah coverage succeeds where libraries fail
- WRN 10(10) – October 2020: OpenSym 2020: Deletions and gender, masses vs. elites, edit filters
- WRN 10(09) – September 2020: Wikipedia's flood biases
- WRN 10(08) – August 2020: Detecting spam, and pages to protect; non-anonymous editors signal their intelligence with high-quality articles
- WRN 10(07) – July 2020: Receiving thanks increases retention, but not the time contributed to Wikipedia
- WRN 10(06) – June 2020: Wikipedia and COVID-19; automated Wikipedia-based fact-checking
- WRN 10(05) – May 2020: Automatic detection of covert paid editing; Wiki Workshop 2020
- WRN 10(04) – April 2020: Trending topics across languages; auto-detecting bias
- WRN 10(03) – March 2020: Disease outbreak uncertainties, AfD forecasting, auto-updating Wikipedia
- WRN 10(02) – February 2020: Wikipedia generates $50 billion/year consumer surplus in the US alone: And other new research results
- WRN 10(01) – January 2020: How useful is Wikipedia for novice programmers trying to learn computing concepts?
Volume 9 (2019)
- WRN 9(12) – December 2019: Acoustics and Wikipedia; Wiki Workshop 2019 summary: 15 recent papers, and other research news.
- WRN 9(11) – November 2019: Bot census; discussions differ on Spanish and English Wikipedia; how nature's seasons affect pageviews: And other new research publications.
- WRN 9(10) – October 2019: Research at Wikimania 2019: More communication doesn't make editors more productive; Tor users doing good work; harmful content rare on English Wikipedia
- WRN 9(9) – September 2019: Wikipedia's role in assessing credibility of news sources; using wikis against procrastination; OpenSym 2019 report
- WRN 9(8) – August 2019: Special issue on gender gap and gender bias research
- WRN 9(7) – July 2019: Most influential medical journals; detecting pages to protect
- WRN 9(6) – June 2019: What do editors do after being blocked?; the top mathematicians, universities and cancers according to Wikipedia
- WRN 9(5) – May 2019: Wikipedia more useful than academic journals, but is it stealing the news?
- WRN 9(4) – April 2019: Female scholars underrepresented; whitepaper on Wikidata and libraries; undo patterns reveal editor hierarchy
- WRN 9(3) – March 2019: Barnstar-like awards increase new editor retention
- WRN 9(2) – February 2019: Research finds signs of cultural diversity and recreational habits of readers
- WRN 9(1) – January 2019: Ad revenue from reused Wikipedia articles; are Wikipedia researchers asking the right questions?
Volume 8 (2018)
- (The December 2018 issue was skipped.)
- WRN 8(11) – November 2018: Why do the most active Wikipedians burn out?; only 4% of students vandalize
- WRN 8(10) – October 2018: Wikimedia Commons worth $28.9 billion
- WRN 8(9) – September 2018: How talk page use has changed since 2005; censorship shocks lead to centralization; is vandalism caused by workplace boredom?
- WRN 8(8) – August 2018: Wehrmacht on Wikipedia, neural networks writing biographies
- WRN 8(7) – July 2018: Different Wikipedias use different images; editing contests more successful than edit-a-thons
- WRN 8(6) – June 2018: How censorship can backfire and conversations can go awry; Wikipedians 'driven by a sense of mission', according to researchers.
- WRN 8(5) – May 2018: Why people don't contribute to Wikipedia; using Wikipedia to teach statistics, technical writing, and controversial issues
- (The March-April 2018 issues were skipped.)
- WRN 8(2) – February 2018: Politically diverse editors write better articles; Reddit and Stack Overflow benefit from Wikipedia but don't give back
- WRN 8(1) – January 2018: Automated Q&A from Wikipedia articles; Who succeeds in talk page discussions?
Volume 7 (2017)
- (The October–December 2017 issues were skipped.)
- WRN 7(09) – September 2017: French medical articles have "high rate of veracity"; quality comparisons across languages; perceptions of credibility
- WRN 7(08) – August 2017: Who wrote this? New dataset on the provenance of Wikipedia text
- WRN 7(07) – July 2017: Wikipedia articles vs. concepts; Wikipedia usage in Europe
- WRN 7(06) – June 2017: Discussion summarization; Twitter bots tracking government edits; extracting trivia from Wikipedia
- WRN 7(05) – May 2017: Wikipedia can increase local tourism by 9%; predicting article quality with deep learning; recent behavior predicts quality
- WRN 7(04) – April 2017: The chilling effect of surveillance on Wikipedia readers
- WRN 7(03) – March 2017: Utopian bubbles: Can Wikipedians create value outside of the capitalist system?
- WRN 7(02) – February 2017: Wikipedia bots fight - or do they?; personality and attitudes to Wikipedia; large expert review experiment
- WRN 7(01) – January 2017: Special issue: Wikipedia in education
Volume 6 (2016)
- WRN 6(12) – December 2016: Female Wikipedians aren't more likely to edit women biographies; Black Lives Matter in Wikipedia
- WRN 6(11) – November 2016: Privacy risks as perceived by Tor users and Wikipedians
- WRN 6(10) – October 2016: Why women edit less, and where they are overrepresented; article importance and quality; predicting elections from Wikipedia
- WRN 6(09) – September 2016: Wikipedia Dispute Index a mixed bag; how motivations differ among contributor roles
- WRN 6(08) – August 2016: AI-generated articles and research ethics; anonymous edits and vandalism fighting ethics
- WRN 6(07) – July 2016: Easier navigation via better wikilinks
- WRN 6(06) – June 2016: Using deep learning to predict article quality; search engine helps school kids navigate Chinese Wikipedia; talk page sentiment
- WRN 6(05) – May 2016: English as Wikipedia's lingua franca; deletion rationales; schizophrenia controversies
- WRN 6(04) – April 2016: The eight roles of Wikipedians; do edit histories expose social relations among editors?
- WRN 6(03) – March 2016: "Employing Wikipedia for good not evil" in education; using eyetracking to find out how readers read articles
- WRN 6(02) – February 2016: Wikipedia and paid labour; Swedish gender gap; how verifiable is "verifiable"?
- WRN 6(01) – January 2016: Bursty edits; how politics beat religion but then lost to sports; notability as a glass ceiling
Volume 5 (2015)
- WRN 5(12) – December 2015: Teaching Wikipedia; Does advertising the gender gap help or hurt Wikipedia?
- WRN 5(11) – November 2015: Do Wikipedia citations mirror scholarly impact?; co-star networks in silent films
- WRN 5(10) – October 2015: Student attitudes towards Wikipedia; Jesus, Napoleon and Obama top "Wikipedia social network"; featured article editing patterns in 12 languages
- WRN 5(9) – September 2015: Wiktionary special; newbies, conflict and tolerance; Is Wikipedia's search function inferior?
- WRN 5(8) – August 2015: OpenSym 2015 report; PageRank and wiki quality; news suggestions; the impact of open access
- WRN 5(7) – July 2015: Wikipedia as an example of collective intelligence; #Wikipedia and Twitter
- WRN 5(6) – June 2015: How Wikipedia built governance capability; readability of plastic surgery articles
- WRN 5(5) – May 2015: Drug articles accurate and largely complete; women "slightly overrepresented"; talking like an admin
- WRN 5(4) – April 2015: Military history, cricket, and Australia targeted in Wikipedia articles' popularity vs. quality; how copyright damages economy
- WRN 5(3) – March 2015: Most important people; respiratory reliability; academic attitudes
- WRN 5(2) – February 2015: Gender bias, SOPA blackout, and a student assignment that backfired
- WRN 5(1) – January 2015: Bot writes about theatre plays; "Renaissance editors" create better content
Volume 4 (2014)
- WRN 4(12) – December 2014: Wikipedia in higher education; gender-driven talk page conflicts; disease forecasting
- WRN 4(11) – November 2014: Gender gap and skills gap; academic citations on the rise; European food cultures
- WRN 4(10) – October 2014: Informed consent and privacy; newsmaking on Wikipedia; Wikipedia and organizational theories
- WRN 4(9) – September 2014: 99.25% of Wikipedia birthdates accurate; focused Wikipedians live longer; merging WordNet, Wikipedia and Wiktionary
- WRN 4(8) – August 2014: A Wikipedia-based Pantheon; new Wikipedia analysis tool suite; how AfC hamstrings newbies
- WRN 4(7) – July 2014: Shifting values in the paid content debate; cross-language vandalism detection; translations from 53 Wiktionaries
- WRN 4(6) – June 2014: Power users and diversity in WikiProjects; the "network of cultures" in multilingual Wikipedia biographies
- WRN 4(5) – May 2014: Overview of research on Wikipedia's readers; predicting which article you will edit next
- WRN 4(4) – April 2014: Wikipedia predicts flu more accurately than Google; 43% of academics have edited Wikipedia
- WRN 4(3) – March 2014: Wikipedians' "encyclopedic identity" dominates even in Kosovo debates; analysis of "In the news" discussions; user hierarchy mapped
- WRN 4(2) – February 2014: CSCW '14 retrospective; the impact of SOPA on deletionism; like-minded editors clustered; Wikipedia stylistic norms as a model for academic writing
- WRN 4(1) – January 2014: Translation assignments, weasel words, and Wikipedia's content in its later years
Volume 3 (2013)
- WRN 3(12) – December 2013: Cross-language editors, election predictions, vandalism experiments
- WRN 3(11) – November 2013: Reciprocity and reputation motivate contributions to Wikipedia; indigenous knowledge and "cultural imperialism"; how PR people see Wikipedia
- WRN 3(10) – October 2013: User influence on site policies: Wikipedia vs. Facebook vs. YouTube
- WRN 3(9) – September 2013: Automatic detection of "infiltrating" Wikipedia admins; Wiki, or 'pedia?
- WRN 3(8) – August 2013: WikiSym 2013 retrospective
- WRN 3(7) – July 2013: Napoleon, Michael Jackson and Srebrenica across cultures, 90% of Wikipedia better than Britannica, WikiSym preview
- WRN 3(6) – June 2013: Most controversial Wikipedia topics, automatic detection of sockpuppets
- WRN 3(5) – May 2013: Motivations on the Persian Wikipedia; is science eight times more popular on the Spanish Wikipedia than the English Wikipedia?
- WRN 3(4) – April 2013: Sentiment monitoring; Wikipedians and academics favor the same papers; UNESCO and systemic bias; How ideas flow on Wikiversity
- WRN 3(3) – March 2013: "Ignore all rules" in deletions; anonymity and groupthink; how readers react when shown talk pages
- WRN 3(2) – February 2013: Wikipedia not so novel after all, except to UK university lecturers; EPOV instead of NPOV
- WRN 3(1) – January 2013: Lessons from the research literature on open collaboration; clicks on featured articles; credibility heuristics
Volume 2 (2012)
- WRN 2(12) – December 2012: Wikipedia and Sandy Hook; SOPA blackout reexamined
- WRN 2(11) – November 2012: Movie success predictions, readability, credentials and authority, geographical comparisons
- WRN 2(10) – October 2012: WP governance informal; community as social network; efficiency of recruitment and content production; Rorschach news
- WRN 2(9) – September 2012: "Rise and decline" of Wikipedia participation, new literature overviews, a look back at WikiSym 2012
- WRN 2(8) – August 2012: New influence graph visualizations; NPOV and history; 'low-hanging fruit'
- WRN 2(7) – July 2012: Conflict dynamics, collaboration and emotions; digitization vs. copyright; WikiProject field notes; quality of medical articles; role of readers; Best Wiki Paper Award
- WRN 2(6) – June 2012: Edit war patterns, deleters vs. the 1%, never used cleanup tags, authorship inequality, higher quality from central users, and mapping the wikimediasphere
- WRN 2(5) – May 2012: Supporting interlanguage collaboration; detecting reverts; Wikipedia's discourse, semantic and leadership networks, and Google's Knowledge Graph
- WRN 2(4) – April 2012: Barnstars work; Wiktionary assessed; cleanup tags counted; finding expert admins; discussion peaks; Wikipedia citations in academic publications; and more
- WRN 2(3) – March 2012: Predicting admin elections by editor status and similarity; flagged revision debates in multiple languages; Wikipedia literature reviewed
- WRN 2(2) – February 2012: CSCW 2012 in review; gender gap and conflict aversion; collaboration on breaking news; effects of leadership on participation; legacy of Public Policy Initiative
- WRN 2(1) – January 2012: Language analyses examine power structure and political slant; Wikipedia compared to commercial databases
Volume 1 (2011)
- WRN 1(6) – December 2011: Psychiatrists: Wikipedia better than Britannica; spell-checking Wikipedia; Wikipedians smart but fun; structured biological data
- WRN 1(5) – November 2011: Quantifying quality collaboration patterns, systemic bias, POV pushing, the impact of news events, and editors' reputation
- WRN 1(4) – October 2011: WikiSym; predicting editor survival; drug information found lacking; RfAs and trust; Wikipedia's search engine ranking justified
- WRN 1(3) – September 2011: Top female Wikipedians, reverted newbies, link spam, social influence on admin votes, Wikipedians' weekends, WikiSym previews
- WRN 1(2) – August 2011: Article promotion by collaboration; deleted revisions; Wikipedia's use of open access; readers unimpressed by FAs; swine flu anxiety
- WRN 1(1) – July 2011 (inaugural edition): Talk page interactions; Wikipedia at the Open Knowledge Conference; Summer of Research; brief notes
- Recent research – Signpost, 6 June 2011
- Recent research – Signpost, 11 April 2011
Until 2018, issues were also published on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog.
How to contribute
This newsletter would not be possible without contributions from the research and Wikimedia community. We welcome submissions of new projects, papers and datasets to be featured in the newsletter. Work on the upcoming edition is coordinated on an Etherpad, where you can suggest items to be covered, or sign up to write a review or summary for one of those that are already listed. Beyond that:
- If you want your project to be featured, please create a new project page using the form on the research project directory.
- If you have released code or data of relevance to research on Wikimedia projects, please contact us.
For anything else that might be of interest to our readers (such as events, CFPs, research blog posts) please get in touch or post an announcement to wiki-research-l (we are monitoring this list on a regular basis). Separately, see here for how to contact the Research department of the Wikimedia Foundation about collaborations etc.
We are also looking for contributors (either occasional or regular) for the newsletter. If you have reviewed recent Wikipedia literature or would like to help writing the newsletter, please contact us.
Open access vs. closed access publications
Complete references of the publications featured in the newsletter can be found at the bottom of each issue. We aim to include a link to a freely accessible version whenever possible. Publications that are not open access (i.e. behind a paywall or tied to institutional subscriptions) will be marked with a closed access icon:
Corpus of covered research publications
The inaugural issue of the WRN was published on July 25, 2011 – shortly after the announcement of the Wikimedia Research Index and after two Signpost articles covering recent Wikimedia research.
The six issues published in the first volume (July–December 2011), featuring 87 unique publications, are available as a downloadable 45-page PDF, and a print version can be ordered from Pediapress. The full list of publications reviewed or covered in the Newsletter in 2011 can be browsed online or downloaded (as a BibTeX, RIS, PDF file or in other formats), ready to be imported into reference managers or other bodies of wiki research literature. Read more...
The twelve issues of the second volume (January–December 2012) covered 225 publications. This corpus can be browsed online on Zotero, or downloaded as BibTeX file from datahub.io. Read more...
Most of the publications covered in subsequent years, alongside some that have not been covered yet, are contained in less curated form in our Zotero library, comprising around 1800 items as of July 2020.
For general queries on the research newsletter other than project or paper contributions you can leave a message on the talk page, send a DM on Twitter, or email wikiresearch-contact at googlegroups.com.