Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Grounding NPOV pillar in post-censored information ecology

Grounding NPOV pillar in post-censored information ecology
start and end datesSeptember 1st, 2022 - May 1st, 2023
budget (USD)10,000-19,999 USD
applicant(s)• klaul




Applicant's Wikimedia username. If one is not provided, then the applicant's name will be provided for community review.


Project title

Grounding NPOV pillar in post-censored information ecology

Entity Receiving Funds

Provide the name of the individual or organization that would receive the funds.

The Făgăraș Research Institute

Research proposal




Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.

When embarking on the path to becoming a Wikipedia contributor, understanding and adhering to the core principles of this endeavor are essential. In the efforts made in the last 4 years together with Wikimedians of Romania&Moldova(WRM) to train librarians to become contributors for Wikipedia, the neutrality principle was the one that met the most resistance and proved hardest to win the participants over. More than 50 librarians have been editing and improving more than 150 articles but without fully adhering to the neutrality point of view (NPOV).

This proposal aims at identifying causes of this situation & to allow better training for future Wikipedia editors about NPOV. The central research question (CRQ) proposed is:

What determines the ability of information professionals to adhere to NPOV in post-totalitarian societies?

The secondary research questions proposed:

  • - What determines success/failure in adhering to the NPOV, among those who succeed/fail to do so?
  • - How does professional training and practices related to information sharing influence the ability of librarians in Romania to contribute to Wikipedia?
  • - How can we adapt and improve the existing training and education curricula about NPOV for better results in Romanian Wikipedia?

The methodology for this exploratory study includes:

  1. Analysis of NPOV existing materials in Romanian (including their editing history) to identify experienced editors and methods used.
  2. Literature review of how Wikipedia projects in various languages are adapting NPOV principle and a detailed research design.
  3. Semi structured interviews with at least 5 experienced Wikipedia Romania admins and editors to identify NPOV-related issues in the community.
  4. Semi structured interviews with at least 7 librarians who are already editing on Wikipedia Romania to get their perspective on NPOV requirements.
  5. A focus group with identified contributors who adhere to NPOV in their practice.
  6. Analysing the interviews and looking for common patterns & practices; documenting how they are already addressed by existing materials and what needs to be better documented & discussed.
  7. Design an updated training related to NPOV on editing Wikipedia pages and pilot it with at least 15 librarians.
  8. Document the new training and its impact.
  9. Produce a policy brief addressed to GLAM institutions, schools and universities where to propose curricular adaptations for ensuring adherence to NPOV.

Estimated 2 months for each phase: 1+2, 3-5, 6, 7-9.



Approximate amount requested in USD.


Budget Description

Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).

  • Salary or stipend & benefits 10.000USD
  • Software as a service 1000USD
  • Open access publishing costs 1000USD
  • Institutional overhead (up to 15% of total budget requested) 2000USD
  • Training costs (design, materials and delivery of trainings) 2500USD
  • Travel costs for interviews 800USD
  • Translations and editing 2700 USD
  • Out of which, own contribution - 2000USD



Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.

New Wikipedia contributors coming from GLAM institutions can bring quality content&information, digital skills and experience in supporting free access. The NPOV requirements are, however, roadblocks that need to be opened.

The findings from this project will help better address NPOV when presented to the Romanian speaking public and will provide practical and culturally grounded examples to ease the process of becoming a good editor. Sharing the findings with the GLAM and LIS community will assure a better understanding of how contributing to open knowledge can happen in institutions that went through severe control of information. The project will contribute to ensuring knowledge equity through encouraging valuable contributions.



Plans for dissemination.

We will create a project page on MetaWiki:Research and update it regularly. The exploratory study will be submitted to a journal and presented in at least 3 conferences(1 related to Wikimedia Research, 1 for Wikimedia CEE, and 1 for the international library community).

The new design training will be piloted with 15 librarians and the conclusion of this training will be used to update its content. Curricula & policy brief will be shared with trainers from GLAM institutions&schools in Romania.

Past Contributions


Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.

Analysing the services provided by public librarians from Romania during the last decades of the communist regime was the topic of my PhD dissertation. I then began documenting and explaining the specific ways in which the prolonged information control of the communist regime altered the information ecology of our society. Public libraries were the free sources of information before Wikipedia and understanding the ways in which they contribute to the development of Wikimedia projects is a recent interest that I have been exploring with WRM. We presented this at 2021 Wikimania&WikimediaCEE.

The Fagaras Research Institute runs a platform that aims at popularising research and engaging communities in generating and co-creating knowledge.

I agree to license the information I entered in this form excluding the pronouns, countries of residence, and email addresses under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. I understand that the decision to fund this Research Fund application, the application itself along with all the information entered by my in this form excluding the pronouns, country of residences, and email addresses of the personnel will be published on Wikimedia Foundation Funds pages on Meta-Wiki and will be made available to the public in perpetuity. To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, I agree that any output of my research will comply with the WMF Open Access Policy. I also confirm that I have read the privacy statement and agree to abide by the WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.