Ada Lovelace Day

300px-Ada_Lovelace_color_svgI am very much looking forward to Ada Lovelace Day next week. We have recruited an erudition of 20+  editors for our Women in Science Editathon.

I am told this is a lot for an editathon. I hope I have ordered a large enough Ada Lovelace Day cake to feed them all.

There will be trolley loads of books and a stack of librarians coming to us from Bodleian Libraries,  an apparatus of experts from the Museum of the History of Science and a  linkage of wikimedians to help us out.

In addition to our editathon  we have an evening public lecture from Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell,  a guest night dinner at Kellogg, and a  new curated collection of Women in Science Podcasts.

It is still depressingly true that despite there being 20 million registered wikipedia editor accounts, only 13% of the 300,000 people who make regular edits are women.  This does not seem to be  a technology issue as much as an online cultural one. Articles have been written about why wikipedia is such an unwelcoming place.  Wikipedia acknowledge the problem but don’t know how to solve it. There is a Wikimedia Diversity Conference coming up in November to develop ideas.

The best thinking so far has identified that  offering training to raise confidence and skill amongst new editors would be a step forwards; and that themed editathon events attract new contributors. I think that editing wikipedia should be a graduate skill. It should be  included in lists of skills of ‘communication skills’  for any Oxford graduate and in approaches to ‘public engagement’ for researchers.

Advice from the JISC wikimedian is that if you are serious about public engagement with your research you are totally missing a trick if your publications cannot easily be included in wikipedia. Publish in open access journals, your work will become a verifiable source and tens of thousands of people will click on the link to read it.

To this end we are offering Wikipedia: Using Wikipedia to link research impact and open education and Wikipedia: Sharing your expertise with the wider public courses alongside our Women in Science editathon event. We will also help you organise your own editathon if you want one.

If you are interested in joining our events, or any other of the events worldwide, there is a comprehensive list of happenings on the ‘Finding Ada‘ website.

Update: inputs, outputs and impact

adalovelacedaycake 001 Here is a picture of the AdaLovelace day cake which fuelled our many editors on Tuesday afternoon. We worked hard:

Articles created

Biographies improved

Other articles improved

7 new articles created, 15 articles improved.

We got coverage in the Guardian ‘Ada Lovelace and Wikipedia’s women: Oxford’s ‘editathon’ aims not only to improve the coverage of women on Wikipedia but increase their academic contribution’ 

The publicity about our event and other events clearly made an impact. On our wikipage we highlighted that in the list of female Fellows of the Royal Society, as of 6 October 2013, there were 15 fellows without articles. Now there are none.  Well done all.

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