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Open Scholarship

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom


Open Access logo

Academic research is amongst the highest quality content in existence, often at the cutting edge of human knowledge. However most of it is locked away behind paywalls — but recently this is changing.

In 2013 alone over 500,000 pieces of scholarly research were made open access across all disciplines.[1] This is one of the biggest movements to democratise access to knowledge that the world has ever seen. But for this research to have real world impact, accessibility is only half the story - it's important that it's also discoverable.

Wikipedia, with its unmatched internet traffic, offers an unrivalled opportunity for scholars, researchers and other learners to communicate, both to share their work with the public, and to communicate more efficiently with each other. If researchers summarise the discoveries from their papers on Wikipedia, the papers themselves can be read more times, and have been shown to subsequently inspire more academic work as a result.

19–20 July | Open Scholarship Hack

Jack Andraka

Barbican Hall: Saturday 15:30 - 16:00

"You can change the world with the internet. I changed the way that you can detect pancreatic cancer - imagine what you can do."

How Open Access Empowered a 16-Year-Old to Make Cancer Breakthrough

For his work developing a new, rapid, and inexpensive method to detect pancreatic cancer, Andraka was awarded the 2012 Gordon E. Moore Award, the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair - at only 15 years old.[2]

As someone working outside of the academy, free-to-read research papers played a key role in enabling his work.[3] This is but one example of the potential benefits to medicine, technology, and society that open access can lead to.

Follow Jack Andraka on Twitter

Peter Murray-Rust

Barbican Hall: Friday 17:30 - 18:00 "Open Access saves lives."

Peter Murray-Rust has been named the latest Shuttleworth Fellow for his work using software tools to analyse and manipulate open access research. He campaigns for Open Data, particularly in science, and is on the advisory board of the Open Knowledge Foundation, a co-author of the Panton Principles for Open scientific data, and was a founder member of the Blue Obelisk movement in 2005.

Follow Peter Murray-Rust on Twitter

Elizabeth Marincola

Barbican Hall: Friday 18:15 - 18:45

"I imagine a future where the only limits on the scientific imagination are those of our minds."

Elizabeth Marincola is CEO of PLOS (the Public Library of Science), a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco which was founded to transform science communication. PLOS has been a leader in the Open Access movement, publishing more OA articles in 2013 than any other publisher.

Marincola received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1981 and her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1986. She was Executive Director of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and publisher of Molecular Biology of the Cell from 1991-2005, and during that time was also Director of the Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy. She served on the first National Advisory Committee to PubMed Central of the National Institutes of Health from 2000-2003. In 2002, the ASCB named her (with the late actor and advocate Christopher Reeve) the first Citizen Member of the Society and in 2005 she received the (U.S.) Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Marincola has published widely, including in The Huffington Post, Science and The Harvard Business Review and in 2013 presented a TEDMED talk in Washington, D.C.  She was President of the Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News from 2005-2013. Marincola served on PLOS’ Board of Directors from 2005-2011, and was Chair of the Board of eLife before joining PLOS as CEO.


Open Scholarship presentations

Open Scholarship discussions

Open Scholarship Weekend

A series of informal two-day events where you can discuss and co-work on anything to do with Wikimedia, open knowledge, or the upcoming conference itself. A great chance to learn from experts and develop your own projects with the help of others. They will be held in the same venue as Wikimania itself, The Barbican Centre, and are organised by the Wikimania team, who will be present at each event.

19–20 July Open Scholarship Weekend

Open research

Open research
Reusability — including in new contexts — is a key aspect of open scholarship

At Wikimania we will be looking at open scholarship as the process of opening up research, including both open access to research publications and participatory activities such as open science.

Open science is the movement to make the scientific process more open and enable wider participation. It includes open access to the research literature, open data, open source code, open peer review, posting preprints, and outreach efforts to encourage everyone with an interest to get involved in scientific research themselves. There have been some open science projects on a massive scale such as The Polymath Project and the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo. Open science principles can also be used on smaller scale projects, for example by utilising open notebooks to record research publicly as it is carried out.

Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects can be seen as examples of open science and open research, because the process of their creation is transparent and designed to encourage wide participation. Their development relies on the fact that they can be edited by anybody, anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. At Wikimania, we invite you to imagine what it would be like if the process of scholarly research and other areas of knowledge creation were as open as this.

Wikimedia projects

  • There are initiatives on Wikimedia projects, particularly Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, to improve coverage of open access topics and increase re-use of open access materials. WikiProject Open Access is the main hub for projects related to open access, such as the Open Access Media Importer which adds media files from open access journal articles to Wikimedia Commons.
  • The Signalling OA-ness project is working on finding the best way to signal whether Wikipedia references are open or closed access. Ideally this system will be used much more widely than just within Wikipedia. A working prototype is being funded by the Open Society Foundations and will be presented at Wikimania 2014.
  • Open Access Reader is a project to create a systemic process to have all open access research cited somewhere in Wikipedia.

Getting involved

Check out the WikiProject Open Access page.

Attend Wikimania, or consider volunteering!


  1. This is an estimate, based on the fact that over 600,000 articles were indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals in 2013. In August 2013, a study conducted for the European Commission reported that 50% of a random sample of all articles published in 2011 were free to read online by the end of 2012. See: Open access to research publications reaching 'tipping point', europa.eu, Retrieved 22 October 2013; Proportion of Open Access Peer-Reviewed Papers at the European and World Levels—2004-2011, Science-Metrix, August 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013; Van Noorden, Richard. 2013. Half of 2011 papers now free to read, Nature, 500(7463) pp.386–7. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  2. Jack Andraka: A promising test for pancreatic cancer ... from a teenager. TED, July 2013. Retrieved: 22 October 2013.
  3. 16-year-old Touts Role of Open Access in Breakthrough Cancer Diagnostic: Interview of Jack Andraka by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH. SPARC. Retrieved: 22 October 2013.