Submissions:2019/Engaging Experts Three Ways: How Wiki Education is building a bridge between Wikipedia and Subject-Matter Experts

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2019.


Engaging Experts Three Ways: How Wiki Education is building a bridge between Wikipedia and Subject-Matter Experts


Reliability of Information
+ Relationship Building & Support
+ Inclusion and Diversity
+ Editor Recruitment & Retention

Type of session:



Since its inception, Wikipedia has helped to reshape and redefine what it means to be an expert. It has not only democratized knowledge consumption, but knowledge production as well. The fact remains, however, that much information lies behind paywalls and within the hallowed halls of academia. While Wikipedia has gained an enormous amount of acceptance within academia and other knowledge institutions, most "experts" do not contribute to the site. Through its various programs, Wiki Education is seeking to break down the barriers between Wikipedia and subject-matter experts.

In this panel, we'll focus on how Wiki Education is engaging experts through its three main programmatic initiatives - the Wikipedia Student Program, Wikipedia Scholars and Scientists, and our Wikidata program. We'll discuss how these three programs are facilitating expert engagement on Wikipedia and Wikidata, the successes we have had, as well as the barriers that still exist to expert engagement. Topics we'll explore include, lack of career-based incentives, stigma surrounding open resources, differing definitions of expertise, as well as the growing enthusiasm exhibited by experts to contribute to open knowledge resources.

There are a multitude of ways to get experts to contribute to Wikipedia, and our programmatic efforts reflect this diversity. Through our Wikipedia Student program, professors run Wikipedia assignments, using their expertise to guide their students through the contribution process. In our Wikipedia Scholars and Wikidata programs, we're instructing experts on how to contribute to Wikipedia through professional development courses. Both approaches result in experts who are not only able to contribute to various Wiki projects, but see the value in doing so.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Helaine Blumenthal, Ryan McGrady, and Will Kent

E-mail address:,,

Wikimedia username:

Helaine (Wiki Ed), Ryan (Wiki Ed), Will (Wiki Ed)

Affiliated organization(s):

Wiki Education Foundation

Estimated time:

60 minutes

Preferred room size:

Defer to planning committee

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes, we've all presented on these topics at previous WikiConferences or Wikimanias, but we've never presented as a panel to highlight the collective programmatic work of Wiki Education.

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)