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

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Likely that I'm repeating myself from the CPoV panel in Leipzig but I would like to note that I'm increasingly concerned about the fact that Wikimedia is bankrolling (control of other research-relevant resources aside) this key forum of research supposed to investigate Wikimedia (as one of the main objects of interest) in a critical-scientific manner, Best regards --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 15:58, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

It's a fair concern. Do note, however, that WMF does not "bankroll" this forum, but rather co-funds it. Furthermore, while it cannot be denied there is the risk of an implicit pro-Wikimedia bias by virtue of co-funding the event, I believe it can readily be seen there is no explicit bias, and no attempt to steer or control the contents or the proceedings of this event. This, coupled with the fact we have an obvious and genuine interest in penetrating research into how the complex system we steward works, should suffice to allow WMF to be assumed to have been funding this event in good faith. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 19:09, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Semantics aside, I'm neither concerned that the WMF is actually going to try steer the agenda nor that folks with solid institutional positions like Geert or Dirk feel they should take WMF's (perceived) particular interests unduly on board. What I'm concerned with are less well-established participants with less secure calculations that find their object of interest having its hands both in the input (unavoidably) and the output side of their work. Hugging the by now rightfully and beyond Wiki-specifics well-established conference as an important output forum less closely financially seems advantageous; not least to shore up the chances of output of the kind you right- and carefully outline above, best regards --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 08:24, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Then we are in agreement that there's no actual problem if WMF were to approve this grant, just that it would have been even better if this research-presenting opportunity could be funded completely independently from WMF (the research itself is already independently funded). Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 19:38, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Hello everyone and sorry for the late response. WS+OS has multiple sources of contents, you seem mostly concerned with the core research program. For that, we have multiple tracks, one devoted to a key open collaboration topic, Wikimedia Foundation projects being one of them. They are managed by researchers, the research track program chairs, according to current state of the art best practices of handling research paper selection. I don't see how a pro or contra bias comes into play from WMF sponsoring the event. The program chairs would clearly lose the most important thing to have, their academic reputation, if there were undue positive or negative biases. Dirk Riehle (talk) 13:14, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Old version of this formEdit

Hello, Dirk! It looks like you are using an old version of the grant submission form (perhaps copied from a previous request rather than created using the submission tool at Grants:Index/Submit request). Here is a copy of the correct form: Template:Grant_submission_form/Organization/Preload. Would you please reformat your existing request using that format? Thank you. Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 20:51, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Or, to save you the hassle of reformatting the request, simply answer a few of the questions form the new form here:
  • If your project will benefit a specific online community, please list that here. For example, English Wiktionary.
There are multiple touch points:
    • Academic research. That's mostly English Wikipedia research, which because of its size gets the most interest. The 2012 papers are here. In 2012 all was in one track so this mixed general wiki with Wikipedia research. To make this clearer, in 2013 we are having the new Wikipedia and related Wikimedia Foundation projects track, so all future academic research will be neatly packaged and downloadable from one place.
    • Academic exchange. WS+OS is set up to make open source people talk to open access people talk to Wikimedia project people. For example, our open access chair, a lawyer-professor, is really looking forward to get in touch in person with Wikip/media people. This exchange is facilitated by (a) having the broader explicit scope (multiple "open" tracks) as well as (b) colocating with Wikimania 2013 so it is easy to attend both.
    • Mediawiki community. Through the general wiki track we attract many wiki engine implementers, and in the past this has led to many fruitful discussions on open source and wiki software and we believe we had a positive impact.
    • There is simply a lot happening that I'm not really aware of; I really prefer to argue that the research topics we cover, FLOSS, Open Access, Wikis (general), and Wikipedia (specific) create so much overlap that naturally good things will happen for Wikimedia projects.
Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:33, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Provide a brief statement (about 1 paragraph) about how your project is related to other work in the Wikimedia movement. Does your project fit into a work area such as GLAM, Education, Organization Development, Editor Retention, or Outreach?
Our "project" is an annually-repeating conference. So it relates to Wikimania. However, we try to provide all the academic bells and whistles so researchers will come and provide relevant research work. In addition, we also draw on industry and practitioners who won't quite feel at home at Wikimania because Wikimania is ultimately too Wikimedia Foundation project focused. So we fit into categories research and education, I guess. Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:33, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • If successful, does your project have the potential to be replicated successfully by other individuals, groups, or organizations? Please explain how in 1 - 2 sentences.
We "replicate" every year :-) since 2005. Still, 2013 is a crucial year. Participants previously complained "WikiSym" was too narrow to be sustainable hence the extension to "OpenSym", adding FLOSS, Open Access, etc. So we hope to keep going with an expanded scope. (Almost) all our materials are public so other organizers can learn from us. Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:33, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Does your organization currently employ any fulltime or part-time staff or contractors?
No. The fiscal sponsor of WikiSym + OpenSym is TJEF which is fully volunteer-based. Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:33, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • If you answered YES, please indicate how many. You may use fractions or percentages for part-time staff if appropriate.
  • If yes, please provide a list of their job functions, or a link to your organization's staff page, if it lists all employees and contractors employed or engaged by your organization.

Thank you, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 21:08, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Open accessEdit

Will the conference proceedings and papers be published under an open license? That information is not available on the website. Thanks, --Solstag (talk) 23:10, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for asking. The short answer is: Yes. We publish through the ACM which just announced that the will provide an Open Access option. The longer answer is Yes as well and involves many more submission and publishing options. Dirk Riehle (talk) 18:44, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
To clarify: having "an Open Access option" is not the same as "all proceedings and papers will be published under an open license". Can the organizers commit to the latter? (this was discussed last year.) Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:01, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Sadly, we don't know the details of the ACM decision yet. So I can't tell you about the license. I hope it will be a CC license or authors can simply retain their copyright. We also won't force authors to use the open access option. If they prefer not to, we'll let them do that. Finally, we view the conference as a community event. If you read "more submission and publishing options" you will see that we will allow for research presentations without a paper in the proceedings (if so desired by the author).
Finally, whatever happens in the ACM digital library, we will always have all paper accessible on [1] resp. [2] which is legal as long as we don't try to sell access to the papers (which we obviously never will). If you are interested, you can go all the way back to 2005!
Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:58, 17 February 2013 (UTC)


From what I understand, you are not sure you will have any open access option at all, since ACM might take a while to implement this and, or, might still opt for a fake open access model (such as Non-Commercial or Non-Derivative licenses) as has been seen elsewhere. To clarify, as I stated in my question, open access means requiring a free (CC-BY or CC-BY-SA) license for all published material.

I don't think our community should support scientific research that is not done under current best practices of scientific transparency and collaboration. Those are not simply founding pillars we share with the scientific community, they are the founding pillars of the scientific community that inspired our own.

At the same time, we desperately want to support independent researchers committed to make research an organic part of our development.

Open/Wiki/sym is at the very best two and a half steps away from the state of the art of scientific collaboration: questionable open access, no open data, no open source software.

And I don't mean we should push this only for the sake of coherence and ethics, although for me personally that would be more than enough, but also for the sake of making the research truly useful, comparable, reproducible and less redundant. Did I mention reusable within wikipedia, wikibooks, wikiversity, wikidata and embeddable into our community discussions?

As was noted, this has already been discussed last year. I think the idea of the conference is great, but I think in the long run this kind of backwards scientific practice only drives away the best papers, places barriers for quality control and reuse, and generally detracts from the potential benefits the conference could have for us and for its own sake and development.

So, and I do hear and trust that wiki/open-sym is a fine conference on topics directly relevant to us, I can only recommend in favor of funding this grant if at the very least we have a commitment from the proponents to do their best to ensure access as open as they can this year, which means tuning their requirements for authors and decisions regarding ACM's to-be-stated alternatives, plus a binding agreement that next year's open/wiki-sym will abide by a truly open access standard - and seek ways to promote open data and open source scientific software, - as our recommendations and conditions from last year seem to not have been quite effective.


--Solstag (talk) 18:19, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

I created a comprehensive answer below that summarizes the bits and pieces (of this puzzle) in one block. Let me reassure you that it is our primary interest to get the best possible papers (and not drive them away as you are suggesting) and that we act as stringently as we can towards that goal. Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:46, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Why WS+OS Publishes Through the ACM Digital Library in 2013Edit

We would like to clarify the reasons for publishing this year's proceedings through (a) the ACM Digital Library and (b) the conference website. In both cases, papers are not available under a Creative Commons (or the like) license, though they are freely available on the conference website (no paywall or other hurdles, see Given that the conference itself is about everything open, including open access, this may strike some as odd.

First things first: As researchers and practitioners of open collaboration, we would like Open Access to be an option to everyone who wants to publish through WikiSym or OpenSym.

Our reasons for sticking with the ACM as the publisher for now are the following:

  • There are no other equally reputable publishers in computer science. While there is a current surge of open access publishers in computer science, many are close to academic fraud: They take every paper, have no quality control, charge authors an arm and a leg, use questionable licenses, and are for profit. WikiSym + OpenSym does not want to be associated with them.
  • The reputable open access publishers outside computer science do not (yet) appeal to the original WikiSym research audience. Publishers in the social science fields are not generally recognized by computer scientists and so we risk alienating our original audience who may rather go to another ACM conference. At present, we feel that changing publishers to an unknown (to the original WikiSym research audience) publisher will put the conference at risk.
  • The ACM lends academic credibility to WikiSym + OpenSym. To achieve ACM in-cooperation status with SIGSOFT and SIGWEB, those SIGs reviewed us. Thus, achieving in-cooperation status assures researchers that we are a credible and reputable event and publishing through this conference will not waste their hard work on a conference that has no or little quality.
  • We actually trust the ACM to do the right thing. We have been with the ACM since 2005, and while they may feel slow to change, the ACM is ultimately run by researchers with the goal of furthering science and the profession, and is a non-profit. The ACM announced an Open Access program and while little details are known, we expect them to do right by their constituency.

While the ACM may not be an open access publisher, from a practical perspective, we are close:

  • There are multiple ways of how authors can make their work available for free (to read). Authors can publish their papers, even after a copyright transfer to the ACM, on their own website, for free. In fact, WikiSym does that for authors already, see

These arguments held in the past and are still valid in 2013 and the reason for our choice of the ACM as the publisher. But of course, things don't stand still.

We used to be WikiSym, and this year we are WikiSym + OpenSym, and things are changing. In the future, we may revise the decision to publish through the ACM. We have the power to do that, because unlike other conferences, we have stayed independent of the ACM and are fiscally sponsored through a small non-profit organization. When I founded WikiSym, I always worried that computer science may be too narrow a focus and that we may go beyond its disciplinary boundaries at some point of time in the future.

This extension of scope has already been happening mostly through Wikipedia research that has been published at WikiSym in the past. Still, the event remains dominated by computer scientists.

This year, in 2013, we are making the extension of scope explicit by co-locating the established WikiSym with the new OpenSym and may just be OpenSym in the future. We created explicit tracks, of which at least one of them, the "Open Access, Open Data, and Open Government" track is not really a computer science track. This research track's chair is Prof. Anne Fitzgerald of QUT, a legal scholar focusing on Open Access.

At the time of writing this, we do not know for sure whether this extension of scope will have the desired effect: A conference bears risks. It makes no sense to risk losing the original WikiSym audience without having proof that the new concept works out. After this year's event, we will know how much risk we can take on for 2014, including a possible change of publishers if the ACM hasn't figured out the details of its Open Access model until then.

We intend to ask the publisher question at WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 to hear the opinion of those who attend the conference.

From all the signals we get, WS+OS is poised to become a big success: Open access scholars telling us they urgently want to talk to Wikipedia researchers, open source researchers telling us they urgently need to talk to open data researchers, etc. We strongly believe that there are important synergies to have by bringing these different researchers together under one umbrella conference.

We are working behind the scences to make Open Access a viable option for researchers and practitioners who would like to publish at WikiSym or OpenSym. For this year, 2013, however, we aren't there yet, for the reasons given above.

Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:42, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Well - all this story brings me to the idea to organize good OA journal for computer science to fill this hole. Otherwise we stay in this strange situation for ever. I personally don't believe that ACM will ever turn to real OA model. Maybe there will be restrictive OA model similar to the one provided by Elsevier or Springer. Polimerek (talk) 15:09, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm all for this idea, and if only to have a competitor to the ACM to light up some fire under their butt as competition typically does. Dirk Riehle (talk) 06:45, 3 March 2013 (UTC)


Dear Dirk, I do sympathize with your account and I know first hand how hard it is to move things towards openness in the academic world. May I, then, suggest a few things and make some observations:

  • I have no doubt that having the ACM SIG's approval gave the conference an impulse. But publishing with the ACM for seven years and then moving away for coherence and better scientific practice should not make anyone think less of the conference, in particular people who research on-line openness and collaboration. I am confident they would respect the conference even more.
  • Still, I see your motivations, that this year you're already taking a chance by expanding the scope of the conference, and that the ACM is about to allow for a supposedly Open Access alternative. However, I am reminded that you committed to something last year and, to paraphrase a favorite characterNow you come to us, and you say: "Wikimedia, give me funding." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship.
  • Your friendly neighborhood Wikimedia Movement has been, as you said, the major funder of the conference for many years, and likely this year still. And yet you did not bother to discuss with us before renewing with the ACM and breaking a commitment whose importance to us you recognized. Instead, you arrive here with all facts final and leave us the choice of either funding you on your terms or abandon a friend "in real trouble" — your words. I can't approve that. I even wonder whether you'd play the same kind of game had your major sponsor for the last years not been a friendly organization. This kind of attitude, as unintentional or unconscious as it might have been, should not be taken lightly.

Thus finally, attempting to consider the many aspects of this, here's my advice to the WMF from what I've learned so far:

  • For this year, in case the ACM decides on providing a fee-based CC-BY[-SA] open access option, it should become mandatory for publishing in WikiSym/OpenSym. Most good researchers have resources to pay journal fees. Those in true lack of resources could be allowed to apply for an exception or, better, be funded by the conference by budgeting for that in grant negotiations, or having the fee waived by ACM as a form of sponsorship.
    • In case the ACM does not provide a CC-BY[-SA] alternative, you should consult with the Wikimedia Foundation to pick one of the options offered.
    • In case the ACM takes too long to provide any alternative at all, you can keep your current plans, provided once the alternatives become available you do your best to negotiate with them to freely license this year's proceedings.
  • For next year, WikiSym/OpenSym 2014 should mandate CC-BY licensed Open Access to all of its proceedings, fees notwithstanding.
  • I recommend the Wikimedia Foundation to draft an agreement between the two non-profits establishing the conditions above as requirements for funding WikiSym/OpenSym 2013. A future decision to fund WikiSym/OpenSym 2014 should not be affected by this agreement.

As a closing remark: these terms are not meant to sound harsh or imposing or anything like that; they are simply intended to be practical measures to achieve a common goal: to make sure everyone gets what they've worked for.

All the best,

--Solstag (talk) 09:26, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi Solstag, thank you for your well presented arguments. I will reconsider them with the WikiSym steering committee.
As to reputable computer science publishers with an open access model. For Springer and Elsevier and other for-profit publishers who are not fraudulent, this is still a business. Springer asks for more than EUR 2000 from an author to make their paper open access. Elsevier asks for even more. That amount of money is way beyond the lifetime cost calculations of providing the paper open access that I have seen. It takes even more money out of the taxpayers pocket. First the public pays for the research and then again it (over)pays for the open access. We really would like to use a non-profit publisher.
Dirk Riehle (talk) 10:38, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Dirk! Thanks for being understanding and for engaging thoughtfully with this issue. I'm adding a few final notes here, hoping they'll be helpful.
First, if you check out the submission process for the CS journal I pointed to on SpringerOpen you'll see their fees are actually EUR 800 - it's significant, but considerably less than your value - and can be even less if the researcher's institution has a membership agreement.
Second, about the public paying and the not-for-profit thing, I don't think this is the best way to frame the issue. Someone has to pay for the on-line repositories and article processing one way or another, and in the end it is going to be the public. Now, the thing is, it is not straightforward that the public pays less when this is handled by a not-for-profit. In a closed access scenario that will be likely, but in an open access, article fee scenario you do get the market forces in a much better position to minimize cost. It's not magical, but not-for-profits are also not magical, as the internal politics of the ACM regarding open access so clearly illustrate.
So, for example, if not-for-profits can indeed handle quality publishing with significantly cheaper fees, for whatever reason, this will directly impact funders' recommendations as it will save them huge amounts of money, forcing for-profit publishers to reduce their prices or enhance their services - or go out of business.
Third and finally, behind the strangeness of article fees is the fact that libraries have handled publication costs for so long that we forgot that publication is, should be, and has always been part of the cost of research. The sooner research funders get that, the sooner we'll move towards effective and efficient solutions. Just as charging article fees instead of having back door institutional negotiations not only updates the business to an Open Access model, but also makes it more transparent and competitive.
Well, that was it, just some food for thought =) and feel free to contact me on my talk page in the future.
--Solstag (talk) 07:41, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Commitments from last year's reportEdit

In last year report we can read:

""During the grant proposal process, we had a long discussion about open publishing and the conference. We found something of a middle ground in allowing users to publish both in the ACM digital library (closed, with a paywall) but also on their home pages, which is consistent with ACM policy, and have held a copy on our website. While this isn't true open access, it makes the content available to the world of researchers and practitioners, so seems to be consistent with the spirit of open access. In 2013, we are taking further steps to allow for open access."

Can you elaborate more about it? What exactly "further steps to allow open access" were taken in comparison with last year conference publishing model? Polimerek (talk) 01:07, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

We did three things:
  1. The ACM (the publisher) finally came through with an open access option. We don't know all details yet but are hopeful it won't play any tricks.
  2. We allow for "research presentations" where no transfer of copyright is necessary, only an abstract is published, and researchers still get a presentation slot
  3. We discussed to have a "core proceedings" in the ACM digital library and an "extended proceedings" on the WikiSym + OpenSym website where those who didn't agree to the ACM terms could still have their papers published (according to WikiSym). Ultimately we decided against this based on the research track chairs worries that this will make researchers not come but rather have them shy away because they fear for a watered-down lower-quality conference.
Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:58, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

And the second issue: "We found something of a middle ground in allowing users to publish both in the ACM digital library (closed, with a paywall) but also on their home pages, which is consistent with ACM policy, and have held a copy on our website."

Can you provide a link to the part of the last year conference website we can see this copy of proceedings freely available ? Polimerek (talk) 01:07, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Happily and proudly!
Dirk Riehle (talk) 14:58, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

WikiSym 2012 results in terms of real impact of research on WMF projects' progressEdit


I just read last year WikiSym report: Grants:WM_Wikisym/2012_Wikisym_Conference/Report, and as WMF project contributor I have a question regarding real impact of the conference on WMF projects' progress. There is a section there called "What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?" - but I am not very happy with it. I does not cleary answer what was the real and measurable impact on WMF projects. Can you provide at least one example of the research which led to any change/improvement of any of WMF project? Polimerek (talk) 01:07, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Let me try to pull in last year's chair Cliff Lampe and this year's research track chair Heather Ford. To expect tangible results within one year may be asking too much of research projects, though. Historically, I believe we have had substantial impact on technology including Mediawiki, starting with the 2006 workshop in wiki markup (WikiCreole) which by way of Ward Cunningham as well as my research group who created working Wikitext parsers impacted the current work and new hope for a working visual editor. Dirk Riehle (talk) 15:11, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in on this. I agree with Dirk's viewpoint that the best way to evaluate the role of Wikisym in larger WMF goals is over multiple years, rather than in the timeframe of a single year (and at this point 6 months really). That's not to say that there are no impacts from Wikisym 2012, and it could be I was overly conservative in framing those benefits in the report. For example, the doctoral consortium was very successful in bringing people together from a variety of fields in multiple universities across the world, and these young scholars become advocates for WMF-related research both now in their institutions and over time as they mature and take on students of their own. Research in wiki processes is still in its infancy, and these participants are likely to be leaders in research that improves open collaboration for a long time. Good examples are Heather Ford, now at Oxford, who has already done incredible ethnographic work on how wikis are used in societal level sensemaking processes. Another good example is Aaron Halfaker, a computer science PhD student who has worked with teams to build new systems related to WMF projects.
A subtle benefit, which I didn't call out clearly enough in my report, is that Wikisym provides academic legitimacy for young scholars who have an interest in the sociotechnical processes that underlie WMF projects. As a formerly young scholar, I can verify that it's important to have that work recognized by the established incentive systems in academia, and without those rewards there would be a dearth of research in this area. One measure of that success is that we who have found a home in Wikisym are now able to advocate for this research in other academic disciplines and venues. In computer science, sociology, and psychology (among others), work is being done that hopefully will assist in developing new successes in open collaboration.
If we take the longer view, work that has been done at Wikisym in its history has led to incredible benefits for WMF projects. Understanding how wikis are adopted, looking at gender processes in open collaboration, understanding the pattern of participation and other core Wikisym research agendas all have led to insights that help foster these projects. Many of our young scholars have taken work initially presented at Wikisym and then worked as research fellows at WMF, bringing their knowledge of the field to more practical engagement. This year there was a strong interest in the multiple language Wikipedias, for example, which I think will be of increasing importance over the next few years.
None of which is to say we couldn't do more. One of the reasons we always try to get WMF members to attend Wikisym is to expose them to research findings, which are necessarily conducted in ways that aren't always addressed to practical issues, and hopefully have them work with the researchers to translate that research into actionable insights. I think we could really expand that with more direct engagement between WMF and the researchers in this area. One of the benefits of collocating the project with Wikimania this year is that we might have a stronger opportunity to make that exchange happen. I think there are some wonderful opportunities for taking research and transforming it into action across the WMF projects, and there are always ways we can consider making that connection more explicit. --Clifflampe (talk) 04:00, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Measures of successEdit

Thanks for the submission. My general opinion is that the conference is worth financing, but there is still something that could be essentially improved. The report for WikiSym 2012 is pretty detailed but lacks some concrete information regarding the measures of success. You only mention the number of attendees was 60 and the number of doctoral papers was 10, while having the other quantitative measures left with no figures that relate to it. It would be also useful if you can manage to modify the measures of success in the grant for this year to describe what is the minimum number of each of the measures you have to consider the project successful (e.g. 250 attendees, 50 research works, 10 doctoral papers, etc.). Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 09:57, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

I apologize for the late answer. We can provide data for 2013, but it is difficult to call them measures of success as there is only degrees of success or failure, no binary success or failure
So here is my attempt:
  • Number of attendees to the main conference: Success = >150; failure = <50 participants
  • Number of attendees to the Wikipedia Research Track: Success = >50; failure = <10 participants
  • Number of different research works on Wikimedia projects presented: Success = >15; failure <=5
  • 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 on dissertation be discussed in the doctoral symposium, which would then be a success
  • 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?
  • Number of new proposals and initiatives launched at WikiSym 2013: Success = > 5 perhaps? We should be able to measure from the open space logs
  • Number of participant spill-over from WikiSym to Wikimania: Success = 20 researchers also attend Wikimania who wouldn't have come otherwise
Dirk Riehle (talk) 10:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Participation of WikimediansEdit

Given the fact that the conference will take place at the same place and almost at the same time with Wikimania, it's normally to suppose that the heavily inflated number of attendees this year (~250 to ~60 last year) will be due to the increased number of Wikimedians present in Hong Kong. This, of course, will have to be met by development of a strategy by the organisers, so could you please disclose some more information about the extend that the Wikimedians can contribute to the conference as speakers or mentors and the relationship, in general, between WikiSym 2013 and Wikimania 2013? Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 18:34, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Actually, I believe different mechanisms will play out:
  • We expect a much higher number because we market WS+OS more, because our baseline is 100-120 participants as in 2005-2011 each (2012 was unusual with ~60 participants), and because we have an extended scope that will bring new constituencies to the event
  • We expect more researchers for the Wikipedia track to attend WikiSym, because they can also attend Wikimania. So, more people will come to us first, then head over to Wikimania, and I believe they'll only do this because they can do both at once. The research paper at WikiSym gives them the travel money and then they'll also do Wikimania. Sadly, WikiSym, which is still very cheap when compared to other events, is more expensive than Wikimania. We do not expect many folks from Wikimania to come to us who wouldn't have come to us in the first place.
Dirk Riehle (talk) 16:48, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Matching, etc.Edit

Hi Dirk,

I'm sorry for taking the time to comment.

  • The conference's goals and scope both look very good, and having read some of last years' materials, I'm impressed. That said, I'm wondering about possibilities of finding matching to the WikiSym Grant by other sponsors (you mentioned both CC and Google as possible collaborators). It seems to me that a conference which focuses on open access and open collaboration should be funded in collaboration as well, and not by a single organization/stakeholder. If my impressions were untrue and the conference *is* funded by others, please disregard this.
  • My second question is concerned with the grants to volunteers/students: The Grant Program does not usually compensate volunteers for their time. Could you elaborate a little further? How many volunteers/students do you foresee taking place in organizing the event? How will the grants be used to speed up the organization of the event?

BR, NLIGuy (talk) 07:32, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words and the questions! We don't have other grants yet, but we are working on it. Wikimedia is our biggest grant-provider, which is why we came here first. If Wikimedia does not help us, we are in real trouble. Currently, we are working on Google and Microsoft. Also, the venue is for free, sponsored by the HK government (well, but then we have to take an expensive caterer.) The "volunteers" in our case will have to be paid. Sadly, we don't get volunteers on a student level. (The organizing committee, including myself, is volunteers though.) Dirk Riehle (talk) 16:59, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks Dirk, this makes things much clearer. NLIGuy (talk) 07:16, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Coverage of past Wikisym conferences in the Wikimedia Research NewsletterEdit


in the monthly Wikimedia Research Newsletter we cover recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, with a focus on those aspects/results that are of likely to be of most interest to the Wikimedia community. I though it would be useful to list some of our past WikiSym coverage here:

See also this blog post regarding WikiSym 2011, although I guess that this particular award may have been funded separately.

(Disclaimer: I attended WikiSym'11 enabled by the then WMF grant, as the arrangement included access to the conference for a number of WMF employees/contractors; resulting in some of the coverage listed above. Also, I'm not involved in the Grants decision process as WMF employee.)

Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 22:33, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Trying to connect the dotsEdit

A few thoughts:

  • The evaluation criteria include "fit with the mission", with the mission tied to "content under a free license or in the public domain". Last year, Cliff understood that WMF "will be expecting a strict OA policy on future events". WikiSym 2013 does not seem to have anything close to such a policy. Neither does WMF. The closest thing we have is the WMF's signature on the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities and the draft OA policy (summarized here) for research projects receiving WMF support. Perhaps a part of the WMF contribution could be scaled according to the number of freely licensed contributions?
  • The criteria also include a fit with the strategic priorities. In the past, WikiSym has certainly informed work along these lines. There is no close "fit" (e.g. of the priorities to topic tracks in the conference), but a perfect fit would be unrealistic for a research conference whose scope extends beyond Wikimedia projects. Perhaps a part of the WMF contribution could be earmarked for the FLOSS and Open Knowledge tracks?
  • The proposal mentions expected spillover of researchers from WikiSym to Wikimania, which resonates with several strategic priorities. It does not mention flux in the opposite direction (see also the #Participation of Wikimedians section), which resonates well too. It is probably reasonable that Dirk does "not expect many folks from Wikimania to come to us who wouldn't have come to us in the first place" but WMF support for Wikimedian participation could have an effect here and bring about some more interactions of the kind that the organizers are hoping for
  • ArXiv allows manuscripts to be put under CC BY - I doubt whether that would be OK with ACM. I am not convinced they will "do the right thing" in terms of the licenses on offer in their "open access" option.

-- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 02:02, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Notes upon approvalEdit

WMF will grant the requested amount this year.

I'd like to thank everyone for their time in the fruitful and insightful discussion above, that certainly informed my decision.

I would to note that while on the one hand a commitment was made during last year's grant discussion to have this year's event strictly open-access, there does not seem to be a practical solution that would allow this event to take place this year under that strict policy without severely damaging other crucial aspects of the conference. (Starting an OA peer-reviewed computer science journal and attaining a reputation for it is a worthy cause, but is outside the scope and competence of this humble grants program.)

We accept the organizers' position this year, but we would like to avoid having to face the same situation next year, and we feel there is at least a somewhat likely risk of that, unless the organizers commit to working towards a mutually-acceptable solution before next year's grant needs to be discussed.

Therefore, concurrently with the execution of a grant agreement for this year's grant, we will ask the organizers to commit, in writing, to working towards putting in place one of the proposed long-term solutions (e.g. securing an OA commitment from ACM digital library) by the end of 2013.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to discuss this. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:37, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Thank your for your continued support of WikiSym and now OpenSym.
Also thank you for the clear statement on open access. This should help us make a better case to the ACM.
Dirk Riehle (talk) 03:42, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
Congratulations Dirk, I'm sure you're all working hard to make WikiSym the best. I've also added a final note to our discussion above, which you may find useful, so check it out. Hugs, --Solstag (talk) 07:41, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
While very happy about the approval, I was also surprised to read that we made a commitment to strict open access in 2012 (and not delivered this year, by implication). I re-read the discussion from last year and I also talked to the general chair. I can't find a place where we made such a commitment. I'm making this point, because I highly dislike making promises and not delivering. Also, your decision, while in our favor, should not have been based on a wrong assumption.
Now, this point may be moot, and we understand your request for a written commitment. What you are asking us to do is what we want to do anyway, so no problems signing something. There is one issue though: Not only asking for open access, but for strict open access. By "strict" I'm assuming you want us to force authors to provide their paper open access (and pay the fees). I'd rather have open access to be an option for an author. Requiring OA may lead to substantial push-back and authors departing. I intend to open the discussion on our blog before the conference, so stay tuned.
Dirk Riehle (talk) 18:32, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Dirk, from my comment above:
Last year, Cliff understood that WMF "will be expecting a strict OA policy on future events".
-- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 09:37, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Return to "PEG/WM Wikisym/2013 WikiSym OpenSym Conference" page.