“Wikimedia is committed to nurturing open knowledge for all, unrestrained by cost barriers,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The Wikimedia movement has a longstanding commitment to open access practices. Today, we are excited to formalize that commitment with this policy.”
Over the past decade Wikipedia has been the subject of hundreds of academic studies on topics such as flu forecasting, the influence of major global languages, and Wikipedia’s own geographic imbalances. The Wikimedia Foundation has made this research possible through a commitment to making Wikipedia’s data open and accessible.
Open access scholarship is central to Wikimedia’s mission to empower people around the world to participate in knowledge creation. Access to these open sources is critical to ensuring that articles on Wikipedia are reliable, accurate, and reflect our ever-evolving understanding of the world. Paywalls and copyright restrictions too often prevent the use of academic research in this effort.
Our new Open Access Policy builds on previous efforts led by the Research Committee, members of WikiProject Open Access, and the Foundation’s grantmaking team. It will ensure that all research the Wikimedia Foundation supports through grants, equipment, or research collaboration is made widely accessible and reusable. Research, data, and code developed through these collaborations will be made available in Open Access venues and under a free license, in keeping with the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to support free knowledge. The policy sets guiding principles that govern future collaborations between researchers and the Foundation, we wrote a set of frequently asked questions to provide guidance and best practices on the applicability of the policy.
Heather Joseph, the executive director of SPARC, an international open access coalition of research libraries, commented on the policy launch: “The Wikimedia Foundation continues to lead by example in its efforts to democratize access to knowledge. By adopting an Open Access policy to make all outputs of the research that it supports freely accessible and fully useable to the public, the Foundation will help speed the pace of discovery and innovation around the globe.”
The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to join the growing ranks of leading institutions with open access policies.