Grants:PEG/WM Wikisym/2013 WikiSym OpenSym Conference/Report

Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2012-13 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Compliance and completion edit

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Is your project completed?
Did you use any of the grant funds?

Activities and lessons learned edit

This section describes what the grantee did, and what the grantee learned from implementing the project. This section should be useful to others implementing similar projects and is an opportunity for the grantee to reflect on the project's performance.

We held the conference WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 as expected and without any noteworthy glitch.

Activities edit

Provide a detailed list of activities performed to complete this project, descriptions of these activities, and the amount of time spent on each activity. This section should also include a list of participants, or a link to pictures, blog posts, or videos from the project or event.

The main activities leading up to the event are:

  1. Research program creation (about 1 year). The conference is organized into research tracks. There were four tracks: (a) open access, (b) open source, (c) wikis, and (d) Wikipedia research. For this activity, we recruited track chairs, which assembled their committees. We marketed the event over the course of a year, recruited paper submissions, evaluated them, decided on their presentation, and assembled them into the conference proceedings freely available from
  2. Community program creation (about 8 months). The conference had a community track which had a chair and a committee which marketed the event, recruited and evaluated submissions, and channeled them towards the conference. The resulting papers are also available from the proceedings page mentioned above.
  3. Sponsorships (about 1 year). We received several other sponsorships next to the Wikimedia one, making this event balanced on multiple feet.
  4. Marketing the event (about 1 year). We assembled a team of three locals to help us market the event to the Hong Kong community.

The event activities itself were well planned in advanced and proceeded without any problems. You can get an idea of the final program from the event's program page at

Lessons learned edit

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects? Consider the following questions and respond with 1 - 2 paragraphs.
What went well?
  1. The quality of the research program was strong, in particular we are well positioned as a main, if not the main, research outlet for Wikipedia research. The usual crowd assembled, creating and sustaining bonds between the researchers.
  2. Switching from one track to four tracks was an experiment that worked out. The added overhead (multiple committees) was worth it, the hoped-for magic of interactions between these research subdisciplines happened (but can be strengthened).
  3. The operations of the event went well.
What did not go well?
  1. We are disappointed about the final number of participants. In previous years, we focussed only on wikis and Wikipedia. This year we added open source and open access. We believed this would boost numbers. We got a good international participant turnout, but very few locals attending. We don't really understand why. I believe our local marketing team worked hard, but ultimately, with not a lot of success.
  2. The open access track was supposed to be the open data + open access track but really was only the open access track.
  3. We had an open space room but could not hire an open space facilitator so not much happened in open space.
  4. We had two requests from local journalists but could not service them.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  1. For next year, we'll focus even more on local marketing.
  2. Next year, we'll have separate track chairs for open access and open data.

Project goal and measures of success edit

This section should reference the project goals and measures of success described in the approved grant submission. See Grants:PEG/WM Wikisym/2013 WikiSym OpenSym Conference to review the goals and metrics listed in the approved submission.

Project goal edit

Provide the project goal here.
  1. From the lengthy goal description: "The goal of WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 is to be the reference forum for researchers, practitioners, industry and entrepeneurs in open collaboration to share their ongoing works, interests and opportunities for cooperation. This symposium has become as central location for research on Wikipedia processes and other forms of open collaboration, and work presented here has been cited in a wide range of other research venues. Participants of this conference have also propagated Wikipedia and wiki research in a number of other academic and professional conferences. This year sees an explicit broadening of scope that is well in line with the Wikimedia Foundation's interest. Not only are we making Wikipedia research its own track, we also provide a forum for open access and content as well as free, libre, and open source software."
  2. I'd summarize this as "have another instance in this successful conference series; increase participation and reach; broaden scope while keeping focus on open collaboration".
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 paragraphs.
  1. Except for participation numbers, we reached our goals. The participation numbers were better than previous year, so we are recovering from the low last year. In addition, please use Wikimania as a reference point of comparison as to how many people to expect at a Hong Kong based event. So maybe 100 participants is still very good, even if we were more ambitious. We are very happy to note that the extended scope and focus of open collaboration beyond wikis and Wikipedia proper worked out very well. We expect that in the future the triple of open data, open source, and Wikipedia will make and define the conference.

Measures of success edit

List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.
  1. Number of attendees to the main conference: Success = >150; failure = <50 participants
    With 98 participants we are squarely in the middle. Sadly, no full success, but also not a failure
  2. Number of attendees to the Wikipedia Research Track: Success = >50; failure = <10 participants
    Wikipedia research was clearly dominant in research; about 80% of the participants sat in on the full second day, hence a success
  3. Number of different research works on Wikimedia projects presented: Success = >15; failure <=5
    There were about 20 independent presentations on Wikimedia projects, mostly Wikipedia, both in research (full second day) as well community (demos, posters), hence a success
  4. Number of doctoral dissertations related to Wikimedia projects and goals: Dissertations aren't really tied to WS+OS; they are tied to universities. We could argue that we should have at least one dissertation be discussed in the doctoral symposium, which would then be a success
    There were three PhD students in the doctoral symposium who based their work on Wikipedia. This was a success
  5. Mass and social media coverage of the event: Number of blog posts and tweets? Can you suggest some numbers (I actually can't make a reasonable guess here). And, how could we measure afterwards?
    Here are two links to consider: Twitter and Google Plus. By all means, WikiSym folks are social-media-happy. I have to admit that I don't know how to measure this but in qualitative terms, folks were busy, and I'd consider this a success
  6. Number of new proposals and initiatives launched at WikiSym 2013: Success = > 5 perhaps? We should be able to measure from the open space logs
    Not much happened in open space, because we could not hire a facilitator. This was mostly based on the room layout, which did not allow for a conference wide open space. Hence, people were left to their usual communication in coffee breaks and at the social events. I therefore cannot answer this question.
  7. Number of participant spill-over from WikiSym to Wikimania: Success = 20 researchers also attend Wikimania who wouldn't have come otherwise
    WikiSym gave many researchers an excuse to travel to our research conference, and all we know of who are into wiki and Wikipedia research are also attending Wikimania. Anecdotally, many used WikiSym as reason and excuse to also go to Wikimania, though we don't have hard proof. If necessary, I can provide names, but not publicly. I consider this a success.
Provide an overall assessment of how your project went according to these measures.
WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 went very well with two exceptions. We did not reach the hoped for participation numbers and we missed open space. We successfully defined and expanded scope on open collaboration and brought in open source and open access. Open data to follow next year.
If you were to plan a similar project, would you measure it differently? If yes, please explain how.
I'd remove the vague measures (social media) or find some service that can help us measure it.

Impact edit

This section ties this project to Wikimedia's broader goals, and shows what the project accomplished.

What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic goals? Please answer in 1 -2 paragraphs and include specific measures of impact such as the number of readers or editors reached by a particular project, or the number of articles edited or improved.
We are positioning ourselves as a primary research conference for all research things relevant to Wikimedia Foundation projects. This year, with added tracks, we went beyond the more narrow Wikipedia project. Open access, data, and source are equally important for the operations of Wikimedia Foundation projects, and we hope to be a primary outlet for research on this subject as well as help a research and practitioner community form around it.
The best hard measure is probably the conference proceedings which contains 22 research papers (and many more practitioner papers), of which 10 were pure Wikipedia research papers. Add to this several more research posters and research presentations without full paper as well as the doctoral symposium and we are clearly the place for late- and ground-breaking Wikipedia research.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures edit

This section describes the grant's use of funds

Documentation edit

Documentation of expenditures has been received by WMF.

Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here?
Not yet

Expenses edit

Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
Note that variances in the project budget over 10% per expense category must be approved in advance by WMF Grants Program staff. For all other variances, please provide an explanation in the table below.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1 Food Welcome Reception 2.720,55 USD
2 Food Conference Banquet 8.745,34 USD
3 Food Coffee Breaks By day 3 1.663,01 USD
4 Food Committee Dinner 122,89 USD
5 Operations Local Arrangements Services, incl. student volunteers 7.305,79 USD
6 Program Travel expenses keynote speakers 5.530,22 USD
7 Organizing committee Travel expenses track chairs 6.451,65 USD
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
We did not provide one in the grant submission (not sure why, old form?)
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if the WMF grant is your only funding source)
US $17000
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above)
US$ 35000 --- please note that above we provide an aggregate budget. For a large event like this, accounting for every small piece of expenses would make this list completely unwieldy.
Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project (this total will be the same as the total amount spent if the WMF grant is your only funding source)
US$ 17000
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.
Google sponsorship
InvestHK sponsorship
Cyberport in-kind sponsorship
Conference participation fees

Remaining funds edit

Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.
We spent US$ about 13000 on catering, out of a requested and granted US$ 15000. We'd like to ask that the difference of US$2000 be allocated to help cover travel expenses and local arrangements costs.