Hi everyone,


We just finished our report on “Science in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects“. Unfortunately it is in German only, but I would like to present at least an English summary to you. People who know German can download the paper here:




In this report we examine the potential of Wikipedia, Wikibooks and Wikiversity

for academic communication. Firstly, we introduce the pioneer project

Wikipedia and the following projects by the Wikimedia Foundation by outlining

their historical development and basic functional principles. Secondly, we

focus on the scholarly use of the different platforms. Starting with Wikipedia

and followed by Wikibooks and Wikiversity, we analyze each project regarding

its peculiarities that contrast it from the others, its size and range, its

academic content, its authors, and the way it is used for teaching, collaboration

and research.

We found that in all examined projects academic engagement is presented

through scholarly content itself and through the related communicative processes

such as teaching and partly collaboration and research. However, there

are significant differences in the way and the range this engagement appears.

Therefore, the results show two sides: On the one hand, Wikipedia has enormous

public and growing academic relevance. Additionally the encyclopaedia

depends on many areas of knowledge with scientific expertise in order to

be qualitatively satisfying. This leads to a kind of “forced marriage” between

Wikipedia and academia. On the other hand, Wikibooks and Wikiversity seem

to be less successful compared to their sister project, which is why there are

only weak connections between academia and these platforms so far. In all

cases the social and technological dynamics of the projects make it difficult,

if not impossible, to estimate their long-time future influence on scholarly

communication. Therefore we suggest continuing to observe them from this





You are welcome to contact me if you are interested in our project.





René König
Sociology student at the University of Bielefeld, Germany

Research assistant at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA)
of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS)
Strohgasse 45, 5
A-1030 Vienna

Tel. (Office): +43-(0)1-51581-6597
Homepage: renekoenig.eu

Project “Interactive Science”
(for more information please see www.oeaw.ac.at/ita/interactive)