Wikipedia Science Conference

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The Wellcome Building, home to the conference centre
Summary video of the conference (Also available on YouTube)

In partnership with the Wellcome Trust, we hosted a two-day conference sharing skills, tools, and ideas in the intersection of STEM subjects and Wikimedia, on 2nd and 3rd September 2015.

This was prompted by the growing interest in Wikipedia, Wikidata, Commons, and other Wikimedia projects as platforms for opening up the scientific process.

Convenor: Dr Martin Poulter | hashtag: #wikisci | Short link:



The Henry Wellcome Auditorium and Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK. This is adjacent to Euston Square tube and within easy walking distance of three other tube stations. It is close to the Euston, King's Cross and St. Pancras rail stations, and a short tube ride from Paddington rail station.

Despite the London location, this is a national conference, scheduled with long-distance travellers in mind.


Weds 2nd and Thurs 3rd September 2015


  • Researchers and educators in STEM subjects
  • Science communicators
  • Librarians & other information professionals
  • Managers & funders of research
  • Wikipedia/ Wikimedia volunteers and staff

Wikimedia UK's Friendly space policy will apply at the event and there will be trusted individuals on hand with whom you can raise any related issues.


Thanks to the generosity of the participating charities and volunteers, the registration charge for this two-day conference was just 29 pounds, including lunch on both days.


Wikimedia logo family complete-2013.svg
  • Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects (including Wikidata, Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons...) as platforms for promoting informed public discussion of scientific topics (acknowledging that the public have a curiosity about all sorts of scientific topics, and overwhelmingly use Wikipedia as a starting point to self-educate).
  • Wikipedia and/or Wikimedia as platforms for research, including citizen science (e.g. the Research portal).
  • Wikipedia and/or Wikimedia as models for scientific publishing (including Wiki-to-Journal publication, Journal-to-Wiki publication, adding OA paper text to Wikipedia, altmetrics, machine-extraction of data from published research, open bibliographic data, data citation, crowdsourced enhancement of scholarly databases, integration of Wikipedia with open/free services such as Figshare, ORCID, Flickr...)
  • Wikipedia and/or Wikimedia as platforms for scientific education.
  • Under-represented groups in STEM subjects: is Wikipedia reinforcing stereotypes or providing role models? What is being done?



Wednesday 2nd September 2015

Time Session

Registration & coffee

10.30 Welcome and opening remarks (Phoebe Harkins and Tom Ziessen, Wellcome Trust)
10.45 Keynote: Dame Wendy Hall, University of Southampton

11.30 Daniel Mietchen, National Institutes of Health. Wikimedia and Scholarly Communication

12.00 Alex Bateman, European Molecular Biology Laboratory/ European Bioinformatics Institute. Using Wikipedia to annotate Scientific Databases


13.15 Short talks:
14.00 Jenny Molloy, University of Cambridge/ ContentMine. Challenges and opportunities for Wikipedia and Wikidata in synthetic biology
14.30 Geoffrey Bilder, CrossRef. Usage of Digital Object Identifiers across Wikimedia projects

Refreshments/ networking and sign-ups for unconference

15.30 Daniel Mietchen, National Institutes of Health. Wikidata for Research
16.00 Stefan Kasberger, GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences and Open Knowledge Foundation Austria, ContentMine/ OpenscienceASAP. Wikipedia in an Open Science workflow
16.30 Andy Mabbett, Wikimedian In Residence at the Royal Society of Chemistry; and at ORCID. Wikipedia, Wikidata and more - How Can Scientists Help?

End of first day's programme


Drinks reception sponsored by Royal Society of Chemistry

Thursday 3rd September 2015

Time Session

Coffee, networking and signing up for unconference sessions

10.00 Announcements about unconference, hackathon(s) and future events
10.15 Keynote: Peter Murray Rust, University of Cambridge.
11.00 Darren Logan, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Using Scientific Databases to annotate Wikipedia
11.30 Melissa Highton, University of Edinburgh. Changing the Ways the Stories are Told
12.00 Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus. Developing an Ethical Approach to Using Wikipedia as the Front Matter to all Research


13.15 Unconference block

An unconference method was used to put the unconference programme (below) in the hands of the delegates.

Refreshments served at 14.30 but unconference continued.

15.00 Dario Taraborelli, Wikimedia Foundation and Citing as a public service
15.30 Cancer Research UK’s Wikipedian in Residence project – reflections and outcomes
  • Henry Scowcroft, Cancer Research UK.
  • Henry Potts, University College London.
  • John Byrne, Wikipedian In Residence at Cancer Research UK.
16:15 Wrap-up and thanks from Martin Poulter, Wikimedian In Residence at the Bodleian Libraries

Conference ended

17.00 Post-conference drinks in a nearby pub


This is the running order as decided by participants, on the day.



Dale Franks Steel
1:20-1:50 BMJ peer review Your first Wikipedia edit MediaWiki Encyclopedism 'Publish-or-die' vs Wikipedia
1:55-2:25 harmonise licensing +
Your first Wikidata edit ContentMine Wikimedians in Residence Wiki Loves Scientists
2:30-3:00 UN Sustainable Development Goals Wikimedia editing Q+A
For all abilities
come along if you need help
Wikidata tools Review the lit (we use this okfn pad) Wiki Loves Scientists


  • British Medical Journal have offered to provide their best reviewers to peer-review Wikipedia's best medical articles. I'm driving this, and don't want to stuff it up. I need your thoughts and input. (Talking points)
  • What can we do to harmonise licensing between Wikimedia properties (CC BY-SA) and Open Access Repositories (CC BY) *Not* an argument about licensing but a discussion about practical steps.
  • ContentMine tools, hands-on demonstration of getpapers & quickscrape.
  • Encyclopedism and the Unity of Science
  • Wiki Loves Scientists, Create a new biography for a Royal Society scientist via List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 2012
  • How to review the lit for a WP entry (we meet on this okfn pad)
  • When Wikipedia is not the right tool, but MediaWiki is. Explore some issues around using wikis when information/data is either by necessity not open, or not notable
  • How can the Wikimedia movement contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (+ Wikipedia page?)
Friday 4
Cambridge Hackathon (see below)
Saturday 5
London Hackathon (see below)

Hackathons: Wikimedia and Research

There were two related hackathons. One of them was a satellite event on Friday September 4th at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton. More details on that are available here. The second one took place on Saturday 5 September in London. More details here. It was led by Daniel Mietchen (National Institutes of Health) and Stefan Kasberger (GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences/ ContentMine/ openscienceASAP/ Open Knowledge Austria).

Some background to these hackathons: There are many technical aspects to the interaction between the Wikimedia and research communities and platforms. These days were dedicated to exploring them together with others who share an interest in these matters.

Interested Wikimedians

The Wellcome Trust is "a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds". in the UK, it is one of the leading organisations promoting open access to research and encouraging scientists to engage with the public. It funds an enormous amount of cutting-edge research related to health, as well as the preservation and use of existing knowledge. Its other activities with Wikimedia include funding the Cancer Research UK Wikipedian In Residence. In January 2014, Wellcome Images released 100,000 historical images under a Wikipedia-compatible licence which have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by .


Posts by participants

Media coverage

Photographs and presentation files


Except where indicated, publicity materials are licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0, giving you permission to republish them or remix them.


See /Planning subpage for suggestions about timescale/ publicity etc.


File:Wikimedia Science Conference Feedback Summary.pdf

After six months feedback

File:WM Science Conference after 6 months survey.pdf