Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Wikipedians in the Global South: Towards Increased Wikipedians and Wikipedia Content Contributions From the Global South
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- Lighton Phiri
Affiliation or grant type
- University of Zambia
- Lighton Phiri
- Lighton Phiri: User:Lightonphiri
- Wikipedians in the Global South: Towards Increased Wikipedians and Wikipedia Content Contributions From the Global South
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.
Digital content contribution from contributors originating from countries located in the so-called Global South is noticeably low, with a recent study by Graham et al. reporting that Sub-Saharan Africa stands out with the lowest levels of participation on GitHub—1% of GitHub users hail from the region—and shocking low levels of Wikipedia contributions, with contributions originating from the whole of Africa being lower than those from Hong Kong (Graham et al., 2015).
Interestingly enough, of the Wikipedia articles on and about Africa, only 5% of the contributions were reported to have been generated locally (Graham et al., 2015). Recent statistics on Wikipedia contributions suggest that Wikipedia content contribution participation from the so-called Global South is still low.
This proposed research is motivated by two main reasons: first, a survey conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation reported that 43% of respondents that contributed content on Wikipedia were enrolled in school or post-secondary education (Wikimedia Foundation, 2011). Secondly, the Uses and Gratification theory (Katz et al., 1973; Blumler, 2019) has been successfully employed when examining how the use of digital content gratifies user needs (Rafaeli et al., 2009).
- Problem Statement
While there are a considerable number of Global South Internet users that consume content from Wikipedia, there is a corresponding disproportionate number of users that contribute content to the same platform. For instance, there were a total of 2,347,000 Wikipedia page views against a mere 20 editors from Zambia in the month of October 20 2022.
- Research Objectives
The main objective of this proposed work is to identify factors and techniques that can potentially increase the number of Wikipedia contributors originating from Zambia and, additionally, the quantity of contributions relative to content on and about Zambia. The specific objectives of this proposed research are as follows:
- To determine the relative levels of awareness and willingness of Wikipedia content contribution in Zambia
- To determine the factors that have the potential to result in the increased contribution of Wikipedia content by Wikipedians in Zambia
- To experimentally determine techniques, approaches and factors that could result in the increased contribution of Wikipedia content by Wikipedians in Zambia
- Elijah Chileshe, Master's Student---automated templating and Wikipedia bots, University of Zambia, Zambia
- Frazer Nyambe, Master's Student---experimental design and execution of techniques and approachees, University of Zambia, Zambia
- John Mwanza, Research Assistant---Development of Knowledge Portal for storing Wikipedia reference resources, University of Zambia, Zambia
- Andrew Shawa, Research Assistant---Scripting and data analysis, University of Zambia, Zambia
Approximate amount requested in USD.
- 49,029.45 USD
Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).
The requested amount will be used for salaries/stipends (16,725.46)---to support two Master's students, hiring four (4) Research Assistants; purchase of equipment (10,858.37)---desktop computers ---to be used for experimentation experimentation; design and implementation of software tools (1,849.53)---a knowledge portal, Wikipedia bots and scripts; execution of experiments (8, 988.74); ongoing project meetings (1,701.57); publishing costs (2,805.52) and institution overhead (USD 4,377.07).
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.
This proposed work has the potential to increase the number of Wikipedians from underrepresented regions and, additionally increase the amount of Wikipedia content on and about such underrepresented regions. Using Zambia as a case study, the main objective of this proposed work is to identify factors, approaches and techniques that can potentially result in the increase in the number of Wikipedia contributors originating from underrepresented regions, such as the Global South, and, additionally, the quantity of contributions relative to content on and about Zambia. This proposed research is aligned with two of Wikimedia’s “2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction”: (i) Provide for Safety and Inclusion and (ii) Evaluate, Iterate, and Adapt.
Plans for dissemination.
Software tools and datasets resulting from this project will be made publicly available, using open licenses, on publicly accessible platforms such as GitHub and Figshare. The scholarly research outputs resulting from this proposed work will be made available via the Institutional Repository platform at the PI’s institution, the PI’s research group Websites and on public academic databases such as ResearchGate.
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.
Our research group at The University of Zambia—DataLab Research Group—focuses on conducting research on data access, management and preservation. The studies range from development of software tools to identification of human factors associated with data access, management and preservation.
In the recent past, our research group has conducted research focused on increasing the online visibility of research output in Zambia. In addition, we have been exploring novel ways of encouraging Zambian educators to be co-creators of Open Educational Resources (OERs).
The PI has been a Wikipedian since 2012, mostly helping add/create content—Wikipedia—and photographs/maps—Wikimedia Commons—on and about Zambia for some time now.
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.
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