Research talk:Newsletter

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Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Discussion • Latest issue: August 2020[contribute] [archives]

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"Wikipedia Revision Toolkit" datasetEdit

Dear all, the inaugural edition of the research newsletter featured our ACL2011 paper "Wikipedia Revision Toolkit: Efficiently Accessing Wikipedia's Edit History." (thanks for that). We could provide a preprocessed database dump containing all articles and talk pages of the English WP (20110405) in the JWPL format and all revisions of these pages (as described in the paper). The size of the download would be 66GB. If you are interested in the data and would like to host it, please get in touch. Best, Oliver ( --Oliver.ferschke 12:03, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Great initativeEdit

Just wanted to say that. Keep up the good job! --Piotrus 07:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

+1. I like this newsletter :) -- Andrew Krizhanovsky 13:25, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Email subscription?Edit

Is it possible to subscripe your newslatter? Syrcro 13:48, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Not yet, but we're working on that --DarTar 20:58, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
This is now available [1], although it's still somewhat experimental (I am not aware of any other HTML email newsletters run via Mailman on lists.wikimedia org - I hope we won't run into this kind of problem too often; it hasn't occurred in my tests so far).
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 19:21, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Some stats about the first yearEdit

For the brief presentation of the Research Newsletter in this Wikimania session, I gathered some numbers to update those from the blog post about Vol.1:

  • The number of citations (roughly corresponding to the number of publications covered) in the six issues from January to June 2012: 117 (= 11 + 22 + 16 + 29 + 13 + 26). I.e. in its first year of existence, the WRN covered around 200 publications.
  • Bylined contributors (i.e. not counting those who helped with copyediting etc.) from July 2011 to June 2012: 19 (Boghog, DarTar, Drdee, Hfordsa, Jodi.a.schneider, Junkie.dolphin, Lilaroja, Mietchen, Phoebe, Piotrus, Romanesco, Steven Walling, Tbayer, Njullien, Lambiam, Amir E. Aharoni, Protonk, Angelika Adam, Evan)

Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 18:51, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Zedler Award in the German WikipediaEdit


Hi, and hello and congratulations. A member of the German Wikipedia commuity nominated you for the Zedler Award 2014 of Wikimedia Deutschland. -- Dirk Franke (WMDE) (talk) 10:39, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Italian research and paywalled papersEdit

In the unlikely event of some research appearing in Italian language, let me know, I can make reviews. I also try to make profit out of my university's 6 M€/y expenditure on bibliographic stuff, so feel free to mail me a DOI to check for you. --Nemo 11:24, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for these offers! And you're welcome to take on English-language material too ;) Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 13:53, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Contributors wanted for editorial tasksEdit

With the June 2014 edition, the Wikimedia Research Newsletter has now come out every month for a full three years. This huge success is thanks to the volunteers who every month contribute by reading and reviewing new publications, and we would like to open up the editorial side a bit more to interested contributors, too. While I'm happy to continue shepherding the publication together with Dario and putting out the issue each month, we both often have an unfortunately very limited time budget for the newsletter, and there are several important editorial tasks that were frequently left out because of lack of time. Please take a look at the list below and sign up in the right column if you would like to commit to taking on one of these work areas. Feel free to ask questions here or on IRC (#wikimedia-research).

I would like to highlight the notification of researchers - the last row in the table - as a very valuable activity for connecting researchers with the community's perspective (not all of them are aware of the WRN). It's also a nice way to get into contact with researchers in person. In one case, it lead to a RL meeting between the reviewer - a grad student - and the paper's author -a more senior researcher.

Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 16:02, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Task description and remarks Example / notes Timing Time required per month Volunteers
Send a general invitation to potential reviewers [2] (choice of format and recipient list up for discussion) Several days before the scheduled publication date (last Wednesday of the month)
(coordinate with editors to make sure the Etherpad todo list is ready)
30 min or less Masssly
Bibliographical support:
Ensure that citations contain the necessary bibliographical information and are entered in the research newletter's Zotero list, also in preparation of the release of the annual corpus (example)
Contact Dario for Zotero access Before actual publication ?
Add illustrations (from covered open access papers, or elsewhere) [3] Before actual publication
Add per-review bylines (in addition to the general bylines on top) Before actual publication Hanteng (July 2014 issue), Hfordsa, Masssly
Post on Wiki-research-l about the new issue [4] Soon after publication of the new issue on Meta and the blog <30 min Masssly
Notify researchers that their paper has been covered
(by email; contact addresses are listed in most papers)
Soon after publication of the new issue on Meta and the blog <1h month (with some routine) Masssly

Library exportEdit

I've imported to all the (slightly messy) records for journals, conferences and theses contained in w:en:Wikipedia:Academic studies of Wikipedia. I often use wikipaper's semantic search by topic etc., so I need it fuller. What's the best way to get citations out of the research newsletter (and link the respective reviews)? The refs are not so comfortable; is the Zotero library complete? Ideally I'd also export abstracts etc. at the same time. --Nemo 13:40, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Business as usual?Edit

Re [Wikimedia Announcements] Fwd: Tilman Bayer joins Product & Strategy Department, am I correct in my hope that Tilman will keep editing/running the newsletter? --Nemo 21:57, 8 January 2015 (UTC)


Many researchers will have, or be interested in, an ORCID identifier. Perhaps you would like to feature an item about my role as Wikimedian in Residence at ORCID; and how researchers can show their ORCID ID on their user page? See WP:ORCID for background. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:19, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Respiratory topics in WikipediaEdit

Hello. I have prepared a draft for inclusion in the Newsletter. Axl (talk) 14:10, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Public attitudes to chemistryEdit

The Royal Society of Chemistry (where I'm Wikimedian in Residence) has published a major report on its research into "public attitudes to chemistry in the UK". There are a couple of comments about Wikipedia. Perhaps you would like to mention this in the newsletter? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:15, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Discarded itemsEdit

I sometimes note on the etherpad of the month that a particular item I read is not worth covering, either because it's hardly "research" or because its quality is vastly insufficient. Where should these go? I know the potentially useful items which happen to be uninteresting to reviewers are sometimes "dumped" into a list of citations at the end of an issue, but that's another story. --Nemo 13:40, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Good work, Nemo. We might create an archive that would document negative quick review results and might help future authors learn more about the standards voiced by WM Research Newsletter activists at a given time. --C.Koltzenburg (talk) 10:12, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
As discussed elsewhere since, this appears to have been based on a misunderstanding about the scope of the newsletter. While yes, publications that are not research in any sense should be left out, we strive for comprehensiveness otherwise - not every item is a reading recommendation, in fact it can well be the opposite sometimes (and that's valuable for our readers too: we read it so they don't have to). I am a bit concerned sometimes whether we give the important, high-quality stuff enough room proportionally, but that problem isn't solved by removing one-liners that cover the less shining papers. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 05:56, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, those items were not even worth the time to write a one-liner. Reducing the worthless items in the etherpad would help me find things I can help with. Nemo 08:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
By one-liners above, I meant reproducing the bibliographical reference without actually reading the paper in question. Agree that an actual summary needs work even if it consists just of one line. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 15:21, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
In that case, I rephrase my original question: how should I note that an item should only be cited, but not reviewed? Nemo 17:46, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
@Nemo bis: Something like "I (Nemo) read this and think it is not worth a review (because X); should be included as a list item only" works. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 05:56, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I already did that in the past, but then you wrote in this section that I misunderstood the purpose of the newsletter. I've not checked the fate of the publications which I deemed unworthy. Personally, I still think that some items which are not research by any meaningful sense of the word should not be listed, or should only be listed as a warning. Nemo 08:04, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

The newsletter's bibliographic process needs to be revampedEdit

(This is basically just writing down a backlog todo item for myself and other interested people, to be addressed at a later point.)

After almost half a decade of its existence, this research newsletter has built up a very useful corpus of Wikimedia-related research (referred to in literature reviews etc.) using a pragmatic bibliographic process for finding, tracking and archiving research publications that keeps the ongoing effort somewhat manageable. But this process is still brittle and inefficient in various aspects (see also general notes on the production process), and also we are years behind with publishing our annual datasets like [5]. I'd love to be able to set aside some time to revamp the process with the help of some people who are knowledgeable in this area. Some have already offered to help and worked on some parts, e.g. Masssly has backfilled many publications from last year in our Zotero corpus, and Guillaume has investigated how to convert it into a group account that would enable contributions by more people. But someone would need to take the lead in identifying other needs and tasks and then moving things forward on this; and I at least haven't found the time for that yet. (Personally, I love good clean well-groomed bibliographic citations, but it hasn't been my main focus with the research newsletter - I prefer to use the limited time I am able to devote to it for other editorial tasks.)

A small concrete step would be to file bugs for the Zotero export issues that hit us basically every month (example [6] [7]). And to record another current issue here, the generally very useful archive search function is affected by a bug in the on-wiki search function that my colleagues from the WMF Discovery team probably won't be able to fix very soon, phab:T129762.

Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 22:25, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

More comprehensive/regular importing to would be the solution, IMHO. I'm sure Emijrp would be glad to make you administrator there, if needed. Nemo 19:04, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion, but that would basically be the opposite of a solution - adding extra work and complicating things. The advantage of Zotero has been that it allows to import a citation from a URL largely automatically, and then export it into a template like Cite journal. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:52, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

Note on current publication schedule issuesEdit

In recent months we have fallen a lot behind our usual monthly schedule, and currently still have to put the February issue out. This is basically due to problems at the Signpost, which has been coming out less and less often since last year, and right now sadly appears to be on the verge of dying (cf. [8] [9]).

Since its founding in 2011, the production process for this newsletter has involved publishing each new issue as part of the current Signpost edition first, and then republishing it here on Meta and in other channels. This arrangement came about naturally (the research newsletter grew out of a series of "recent research" articles that I published while I was still editor-in-chief of the Signpost myself), and has served us well for half a decade. However, it seems no longer tenable right now, so I plan to publish the upcoming issue in the other channels first. If and when the Signpost gets revived, we can then still syndicate it there. But if not, we will need to start thinking about what to do instead to serve the (significant) part of our audience who has so far been relying on receiving new issues as part of the Signpost. It may involve setting up a separate talk page delivery option.

Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 04:05, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

The Signpost has been revived after a change in editorship, and we're still catching up currently, by publishing a new research newsletter with every new Signpost issue (i.e. more often than once per month). The "May" issue just went out and the June issue should come out with the next Signpost, hopefully on August 18. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 03:37, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Update: While the Signpost has remained active since then, it hasn't come out much more frequently than once a month recently. So the research newsletter's nominal publication month won't be able to catch up with the real publication date any time soon if we continue to name issues sequentially, and on the other hand that discrepancy has caused quite a bit of confusion. Therefore we are skipping the October-December 2017 issues and resume with January 2018. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 04:36, 11 February 2018 (UTC)

Process questionEdit

I am happy to review some articles, though I have had trouble understanding the process or who to ask for clarification. Can anybody point me to the process, as the information and instructions on the Etherpad document seemed a bit dated and confusing to me. Thanks. FULBERT (talk) 15:56, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Glad I was able to help with the current issue. Want to continue with it. Any idea when the next one will begin? FULBERT (talk) 17:49, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
FULBERT: Next Signpost issue will be published on January 26-28.--Eddie891 (talk) 22:18, 22 January 2018 (UTC)
Thanks Eddie891. Seems there is an intention for this to be a bit more regular. Good to hear that!! Time for me to get cracking!! FULBERT (talk) 14:52, 23 January 2018 (UTC)

Completed reviewEdit

I completed a review of an article: Maki, Keith; Yoder, Michael; Jo, Yohan; Rosé, Carolyn (2017). "Roles and Success in Wikipedia Talk Pages: Identifying Latent Patterns of Behavior". Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers) 1: 1026–1035. Retrieved 2017-12-06. 

Are you a policy wonk?

This Carnegie Mellon University study quantified the success of those editors who engage in talk page discussions and their roles in these discussions. The role assigned to each editor was:

  • Moderator - decides when a decision is final to support their views
  • Architect - designs the article and its sections to support their views
  • Policy Wonk - quotes acronyms that represent policy/rules/guidelines to support their view
  • Wordsmith - determines the best article titles and section titles based upon their point of view
  • Expert - interjects facts into the discussion to support their point of view

Unlike earlier studies exploring editor interactions, editors in this study could be assigned simultaneous roles on an article talk page. Success of each editor was determined by analyzing subsequent edits to the article under discussion which were promoted by a particular editor and longevity of these edits. Those editors that are more detail-oriented tend to have more success than those more interested in organization. Multiple editors assuming the role of organization lessens the success of individual editors. The study assessed 7,211 articles, 21,108 discussion threads, 21,108 editor discussion pairs, and the average number of editors per discussion. The number of total edits by an editor is not associated with success.

Best Regards, Barbara (WVS) (talk) 12:06, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Social network redistributionEdit

Thank you Tilman for the updates. For what it's worth, I found to be a very reliable bridge to Mastodon servers (it can also bridge from Instagram but that's not particularly useful). There are a few Mastodon instances whose userbase is favourable for such a topic: can serve as a guide but for instance I see exists and friendly people use a few other servers. For specific topics I found that the WMIT feed often attracts more interactions on Mastodon than on Twitter. Nemo 09:30, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Looking for data peopleEdit

We have a data question at w:en:Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles/RFC on pharmaceutical drug prices. We'd like to know whether this is a reasonable/non-misleading use of this database (and if it's not, then how we could do it better). Most of the folks involved are experienced editors, but we're not data geeks. If you're interested, please help us figure out the best way to improve Wikipedia's drug articles by posting your advice over there. Thanks, WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:48, 29 January 2020 (UTC)

Message sent to rejectedEdit

I'm not sure how to message you all about reviewing a recent scholarly article after my message to the list (which I subscribed to and confirmed) was rejected. ("Your message has been rejected, probably because you are not subscribed to the mailing list and the list's policy is to prohibit non-members from posting to it.") Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 05:56, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

@Markworthen: I can't speak for moderators of that list (which according the list description page should be reachable via wiki-research-l-owner at ). In general, I would double-check in such a situation whether I am subscribed to the list with the same address that I tried to post the rejected message from.
For the specific purpose of letting us know about a new paper to be covered in the newsletter, feel free to resort to the alternative contact options listed under Research:Newsletter#Contact.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 17:05, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
Thank you very much HaeB! Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 02:40, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
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