Editathon Success

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell opens the event.

On the 15th October women in STEM from across the University came together to improve the coverage of women’s scientific achievements in one of the worlds most popular resource – Wikipedia.

Opened by prominent astrophysicist and visiting professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the University’s Chief Information Officer Professor Anne Trefethen, Oxford’s editathon had just 3 hours to make a difference. Following some quick-start training by Dr Martin Poulter (St Anne’s, 1991), Wikipedian Ambassador, those who had volunteered their afternoon went on to put STEM women back into the online world of history. In total the contents of 15 articles were improved with 7 new articles created. Many featured Oxford alumnae, including:

  • Audrey Arnott (1901-1974), a medical illustrator at the University of Oxford Radcliffe Infirmary highly influential in her technique and credited with starting the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain from her home in Wolvercote in 1949.
  • Margaret Jennings (1904–1994), a British scientist who was part of the group at the University of Oxford under Howard Florey who worked on the clinical application of penicillin.
  • Professor Dame Louise Napier Johnson, DBE, FRS (1940 – 2012), a British biochemist and protein crystallographer. She was David Phillips Professor of Molecular Biophysics at the University of Oxford from 1990 to 2007, and later an emeritus professor.
  • Mabel Purefoy FitzGerald (1872- 1973) a British physiologist and clinical pathologist best known for her work on the physiology of respiration. She began to teach herself chemistry and biology from books, as well as attending classes at Oxford University between 1896 and 1899, even though women were not yet allowed to receive degrees.

The impact of efforts across the globe to improve the coverage of women in Wikipedia was substantial. Just one week ago 15 female Royal Society Fellows had no Wikipedia article. They did not exist in the resource that 365 million people access to discover the world. As a result of Ada Lovelace Day editathons, they now all do.

And of course there was cake.

The Editathon featured in The Guardian and Oxford Today.

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