New OSI publication: “Wikipedia at university: What faculty think and do about it”

On 14th July, 2015, The Electronic Library has published our paper “Wikipedia at university: what faculty think and do about it”, with some results from the Wiki4HE project. In this article, we investigate university faculty perceptions and practices about Wikipedia.

The study was based on an extensive survey to all faculty members in two large public universities. A total of 913 valid responses were collected through an online questionnaire with nine control variables and 41 Likert-scaled questions. As main findings, the results do not support an overwhelming sceptical attitude among faculty towards Wikipedia. The quality of Wikipedia articles is highly valued and most faculty members are regular users, just as students are. Though most faculty show a positive view on the teaching usefulness of Wikipedia, few of them actually use it for teaching purposes. A certain conflict was detected between the standard academic procedures of knowledge building and the open collaborative model on which Wikipedia rests. In the end, two important factors play a role in shaping faculty views: (a) their colleagues’ perceived opinions and practices, and (b) academic disciplines.

More details:

Eduard Aibar, Josep Lladós-Masllorens, Antoni Meseguer-Artola, Julià Minguillón & Maura Lerga (2015, pre-print version). Wikipedia at university: what faculty think and do about it. The Electronic Library, Vol. 33. Iss. 4. Permanent link to this document:


OSI participation in the ICWSM-15 workshop on Research into Wikipedia

Eduard Aibar took part in the 9th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM-15 (Oxford, UK, May 26-29, 2015). He attended the workshop Wikipedia, a Social Pedia: Research Challenges and Opportunities, with the paper “Wikipedia, Academia, and Science”.

Aibar’s paper presents some results of an ongoing OSI research project on the interactions between Wikipedia and Science, which analyses the scientific content of Wikipedia in order to explore how the non-expert nature of most of its editors and its open collaboration strategy shape the way science and technology issues are presented.

You can read the paper here.

The International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM) is a forum for researchers in computer science and social science to come together to share knowledge, discuss ideas, exchange information, and learn about cutting-edge research in diverse fields with the common theme of online social media. ICWSM, now in its ninth year, has become one of the premier venues for computational social science.

A document with all the papers of the workshop is available here.


The Wiki4HE dataset is an open resource in the UCI Machine Learning Repository

The dataset we used in the Wiki4HE Project is been published in the UCI Machine Learning Repository , which is “a collection of databases, domain theories, and data generators that are used by the machine learning community for the empirical analysis of machine learning algorithms”, with more than 300 dataset available in its web page.
So, the dataset we used for our analysis on the teaching use of Wikipedia in higher education is now an open resource, freely available on line. The Wiki4HE dataset has 913 instances and 53 attributes. You can get all the information about the attributes description in the web. Feel free to download here (Data Folder and Data Set Description).


A-hierarchical open collaboration? How conflicts and bureaucratic rules make Wikipedia grow

Now available a video of the research seminar “A-hierarchical open collaboration? How conflicts and bureaucratic rules make Wikipedia grow”, by Prof. Dariusz Jemielniak (Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland), organized by the OSI research group (IN3/UOC) last December, 9th 2014.


Wikipedia is often portrayed as an a-hierarchical, spontaneous, open-collaboration movement. These treats are definitely common for Wikipedia, yet it also does have a darker side. For a movement which despises hierarchies and structures, it is extremely over-regulated: the number of regulatory documents on English Wikipedia exceeds 400,000 words, and the bureaucratic creed is way out of control. Also, for a movement relying so much on collaboration, Wikipedia is a surprisingly solitary and conflict-driven community. In the presentation I am going to show how overregulation and conflicts actually help Wikipedia grow.


Wikipedia in college: a Best Practice Guide

The UOC maganize Oikonomics has published an article by Antoni Meseguer,  member of our research group OSI, Open Science and Innovation research group (IN3/UOC): “Viquipèdia a la universitat: una guia de bones pràctiques” (in Catalan and Spanish).


“Although Wikipedia is an information source used extensively by students at all academic levels, it is hard to find higher education courses in which Wikipedia has a formal role in the learning process. Using the principal results of the Wiki4HE project as its foundation, this article briefly describes key factors that influence the decisions of academic staff regarding the use of Wikipedia in their teaching. In addition to technological factors relating to the user-friendliness and utility of the work platform this encyclopaedia provides, it also examines the academic and professional factors that have a greater influence: the perceived quality of Wikipedia, its social image, the 2.0 profile of academic staff and their collaborative attitudes, and institutional recognition of this resource.

The article has two main objectives: the first is to highlight the importance of the opinions academic colleagues have of Wikipedia, and the influence this has on decisions to use the encyclopaedia actively in teaching; the second is to show how this decision could be affected by access to a guide to good practice, one that systematically brought together the experiences of other academic staff and enabled an improvement in Wikipedia’s social image.”

In this article, Meseguer refers to the OSI publication Best Practice Guide to Use Wikipedia in University Education, by Maura Lerga and Eduard Aibar, available in the UOC open institutional repository, O2. You can also read the Guide in Spanish (here) and Catalan (here).

Upcoming Prof. Wiebe Bijker lecture on Science, Innovation and Democracy

We would like to remind you that the public lectureLooking beyond Europe: Rethinking Science, Innovation and Democracy, by Wiebe E. Bijker (Professor of Technology and Society, University of Maastricht, Netherlands), will take place next Wednesday, 29th April, at 12:00 h. This lecture is sponsored by the Internationalization at Home programme (Obra Social La Caixa).

See our post with all the information:


Prof. Wiebe Bijker will give a lecture on Science, Innovation and Democracy

On April 29th at 12 am, Professor Wiebe Bijker will give a public lecture entitled “Looking beyond Europe: Rethinking Science, Innovation and Democracy”, in room Josep Laporte at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Av. Tibidabo, 30-43, 08035, Barcelona). The lecture is open to the public and will be in English. The event is supported by the Obra Social La Caixa (“International at home” program) and is organized by the research group OSI, Open Science and Innovation (IN3 – UOC).

wiebe-e-bijkerWiebe E. Bijker is professor of Technology & Society at Maastricht. He was trained as an engineer in physics (Delft), studied philosophy (Groningen), and holds a PhD in the sociology and history of technology (Twente). Bijker is Director of Studies of the research master “Cultures of Arts, Science, and Technology” (CAST).

Wiebe Bijker was President of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), and was director and chairman of the board of the Netherlands Research School on Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC) and member of the Executive Council of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). He is founding co-editor of the monograph series “Inside Technology” of MIT Press and the book series “Science and Democracy in South Asia” of Orient Blackswan. Bijker helped to create, and was the first scientific coordinator of, the European master’s degree program on Society, Science and Technology (ESST), carried out by some 18 universities in 10 European countries.
Bijker’s research focuses on the relation between technology, society, and science. Since the 1990’s political and normative issues have been central in Bijker’s research. These are being studied in a variety of empirical domains: nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, ICT, gender and technology, public health policies, science & technology for developing nations, sustainable agriculture, public participation experiments, architecture and planning. His most recent work relates to issues of vulnerability in a technological culture — including the fundamental need for some vulnerability in an innovating society. Bijker chaired various Health Council’s committees on risks and benefits of nanotechnologies and biotechnologies. Much of his current work straddles the global north and south.

For more details:

Key information about the event:

April 29th, 12 am

UOC, Open University of Catalonia. 30-43, Tibidabo Avenue. 08035, Barcelona (Spain).

Location in Google Maps: here


Prof. Bijker is founding co-editor of the monograph series “Inside Technology” of MIT Press.

Prof. Bijker visited the IN3 center for an international conference on Vulnerability of Technological Cultures, in 2009. You can see the video here:


The University of Maastricht edited a video interview to Prof. Bijker. Here:


OSI project awarded FECYT funding

The Analysis of the scientific content of the Spanish Wikipedia project presented by the IN3’s Open Science and Innovation (OSI) research group has been selected to receive funding from the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT -Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology-) call for grant applications to promote the culture of science, technology and innovation.

The aim of the project is to carry out exhaustive analysis of the scientific content of the Wikipedia – in other words, the subsection of articles dealing with science and technology (approximately 10% of the 1.15 million articles in the Spanish version). The study is based on the realization that the Wikipedia has become the leading platform for public communication of science on the web.

The analysis is based on 4 factors.

1) The quality of the articles, depending, principally, on the number of edits and the quality of the bibliographic references.

2) The correspondence between the areas best represented and Spanish scientific output.

3) Studying the editors and the editing process.

4) Science and technology’s image through analysis of controversial subjects.

The researchers forming part of the project team are Eduard Aibar (lead researcher), Josep Lladós, Antoni Meseguer, Julià Minguillon, Maura Lerga and Peter Dunajcsik/Maxigas. The project’s research is to run from September 2014 to December 2015.