Journal to wiki publication is the process of creating or improving Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiversity or similar sites by adapting suitably licensed peer-reviewed research, with author attribution and a link to the original paper.
This is made possible by open access research with Creative Commons licences (
Not all research is suitable for journal-to-wiki publication. As well as being peer-reviewed and suitably licensed, a paper or book chapter needs to be suitably broad in its scope to give an overview of current knowledge. Individual pieces of primary research are not usually suitable. However, review papers or other works that review, synthesise, or summarise the research around a topic are ideal for Wikipedia.
If a paper is more specific than an overview, you can still invite its use as a source.
Adapting a paper for Wikipedia
The process of converting a paper for Wikipedia involves
- making the language accessible to a lay audience
- explaining technical terms and acronyms on their first appearance, with links to other Wikipedia articles
- adopting the relevant structure, which on Wikipedia means a short lead section summarising the whole article, then sections with headings
- removing subjective or speculative material: Wikipedia's function is descriptive rather than persuasive
- uploading figures to Wikimedia Commons from where they can be included in Wikimedia sites
If there is already a Wikipedia article on the topic, don't erase that work, but think about how the old and new content can be combined. Experienced Wikipedians can help you with this.
Other Wikimedia projects
Wikibooks is a collection of open-content textbooks, allowing a less constrained style of text than Wikipedia. Just like Wikipedia, Wikibooks forbids original research: all content has to based on material that has already been published and peer-reviewed.
Wikiversity is more liberal, allowing original research.
- Bring research to an enormous audience of lay people and academic peers
- Support Wikimedia's charitable goal of free knowledge for everyone
- Encourage redistribution and translation
- Get credit and citation of the original published paper
- Part of the Wikibooks textbook on Transportation Economics was developed from research published by its authors in the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy.
- Eurazhdarcho, a newly-discovered species of pterosaur, was announced in a peer-reviewed paper in PLOS ONE in 2013. A lay summary appeared as a Wikipedia article within hours of the paper's publication. PLOS ONE's free licence allowed the figures and text to be copied, with attribution to the original authors. Wikipedia entries on other newly described species – the frog Paedophryne amauensis and the "olinguito" (Bassaricyon neblina) – even made it to the main pages of multiple language versions of Wikipedia within a day of the original description being published in open-access journals.
- Wikimedia Commons hosts automatically. images, videos or audio files that have originally been published in scholarly articles whose license allows such reuse. Video and audio files from suitably licensed articles that are indexed in PubMed Central are imported into Wikimedia Commons
- Remember that publishing research through a non-open-access publisher, or a publisher with a non-commercial licence, typically prevents journal-to-wiki publication, though details depend on the terms of the agreement with that publisher.
- If you are in a Jisc-funded project, contact the Jisc Wikimedia Ambassador, Martin Poulter, (martin.poulterwikimedia.org.uk).
- For other inquiries in the UK, contact Wikimedia UK (infowikimedia.org.uk).