This press release is also available online here:

A version of this as a blog post is available here:

Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy to support free knowledge

The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to making knowledge of all forms freely available to the world. Beginning today, our new Open Access Policy will ensure that all research work produced with support from the Wikimedia Foundation will be openly available to the public and reusable on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. We are pleased to announce this new policy at the 18th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2015).

“Wikimedia is committed to nurturing open knowledge for all, unrestrained by cost barriers,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The Wikimedia movement has a longstanding commitment to open access practices. Today, we are excited to formalize that commitment with this policy.”

Over the past decade Wikipedia has been the subject of hundreds of academic studies on topics such as flu forecasting, the influence of major global languages, and Wikipedia’s own geographic imbalances. The Wikimedia Foundation has made this research possible through a commitment to making Wikipedia’s data open and accessible.

Open access scholarship is central to Wikimedia's mission to empower people around the world to participate in knowledge creation. Access to these open sources is critical to ensuring that articles on Wikipedia are reliable, accurate, and reflect our ever-evolving understanding of the world. Paywalls and copyright restrictions too often prevent the use of academic research in this effort.

Our new Open Access Policy will ensure that all research the Wikimedia Foundation supports through grants, equipment, or research collaboration is made widely accessible and reusable. Research, data, and code developed through these collaborations will be made available in Open Access venues and under a free license in keeping with the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to support free knowledge.

The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to join the growing ranks of leading institutions with open access policies.  

Wikimedia Foundation Open Access Policy

1. Expectations

Researchers will need to provide unrestricted access to and reuse of all their research output if their research receives support from the Wikimedia Foundation in the form of:

A. Proposal. Researchers will document their project on Meta-Wiki, including the original research proposal, main research questions, and key outcomes.

B. Supporting Materials. Researchers will deposit their work in a public repository by the time of publication of any respective research article or within three months after the termination of the project, whichever comes first. The deposited work should be licensed as follows:

C. Published Materials. Researchers will publish all output in an Open Access outlet under a Free License.

2. Limited waiver

Specific waivers from the expectations above may be applied in limited circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Researchers wanting a waiver are required to submit to the Wikimedia Foundation, in writing, a detailed explanation of why they require the waiver. The Wikimedia Foundation will publicly post a summary of the request and its response.

The WMF Open Access Policy is effective as of March 18, 2015 for all new research agreements. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions on this policy.  

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia consists of more than 34 million articles in 288 languages. Every month, tens of thousands of active volunteers contribute to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. With nearly half a billion monthly users, projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation are one of the most popular web properties in the world. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact

Katherine Maher

Juliet Barbara
Senior Communications Manager I Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street I San Francisco, CA 94105 I +1 (512) 750-5677