Office for National Statistics and Wikimedia UK work together to improve the public understanding of statistics

  • June 13, 2014

This blog post was written by John Cummings, Wikimania support at Wikimedia UK and Andrew Clarke, Head of Social Media at Office for National Statistics.

Wikimedia UK and the Office for National Statistics have been working together to improve the public’s understanding of statistics through the improvement of and in some cases creation of Wikipedia articles which cover UK statistics. Wikipedia is a free, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia, editable by everyone, it is the largest encyclopedia ever written, available in 285 languages. It receives around 500 million unique visitors each month totalling 21 billion page views. The goal of the Wikimedia movement is for every single human being to be able freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

The Office for National Statistics Digital Publishing Division have been working with John Cummings, a Wikimedia community volunteer on a range of projects to help make statistics more accessible to a wider audience. John has been training ONS staff to improve and create Wikipedia articles that include UK statistics and educating staff about Wikimedia projects through presentations to ONS staff and statisticians from across government departments.

“Statistics are an essential part of understanding the world and the Office for National Statistics provides much of this vital information about the United Kingdom. We are very happy to work with them to make this information more available. Wikipedia is a resource everyone can contribute to and Office for National Statistics has a unique and valuable contribution to make to open knowledge through it’s statistics and the wonderful infographics that help people understand this information in different way.“

Jon Davies Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK

Andrew Clark, Head of Social Media at ONS and John have been making a number of infographics, produced by the ONS design team, available on Wikipedia through Wikimedia Commons which is made easy by the ONS’s Open Government License. The infographics are used on Wikipedia articles covering a range of subjects including Preterm birth, Lung Cancer, the Economy of the United Kingdom and Languages of the United Kingdom which receive over 400,000 views per month on Wikipedia.

“Working with Wikipedia has already helped us to extend the reach of our data and analysis beyond that of our expert users, through channelling accessible and innovative digital products. We hope that by continuing this relationship and involving our statistical community in the validation of ONS content on Wikipedia pages, we can ensure that statistics become trusted and accessible by all”

Matt Jukes Head of Digital Content, Office for National Statistics

About the Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics is responsible for collecting and publishing statistics related to the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels. It also conducts the census in England and Wales every ten years.


About Wikimedia UK

Wikimedia UK is the local Wikimedia chapter covering the United Kingdom and supports volunteer editors of, and contributors to, Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects such as Wikimedia Commons.

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