Altmetric Blog

New Source Alert: Wikipedia

Cat Williams, 4th February 2015

Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has quickly grown to become the largest electronic encyclopedia in the world. The English version alone contains over 4.7 million articles, and as of February 2014 there were nearly 500 million unique users and over 73,000 active editors.

Within those millions of articles exist hundreds of thousands of links to academic research. Publishers, institutions and researchers are increasingly moving to leverage the exposure and traffic that a reference on Wikipedia can generate for their content. Although the value and relevance of that traffic is sometimes debated, for their part Wikipedia enforce strict editorial guidelines to try and ensure that quality and standards are consistent across articles, and that undue bias isn’t shown towards over-zealous posters.

There’s a long standing connection between Wikipedia and altmetrics – Dario Taraborelli at the Wikimedia Foundation is one of the authors of the altmetrics manifesto, and he’s doing a lot of great work with groups like CrossRef on helping to make Wikipedia data available for altmetrics tools and research projects, and to help set standards around its use and presentation.

Adding Wikipedia to the list of sources we track has been a goal of ours for a while, and in the course of working on an exciting new project with Springer, one of our customers (more on that at a later date), we had the chance to spend some time on it. We’re really pleased to be able to announce that any mentions of articles or other academic outputs in Wikipedia will now be reflected in a new ‘Wikipedia’ tab on the Altmetric details page.

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In order to capture these mentions the academic output being mentioned must be referenced with proper Wikipedia citation tag – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_templates for information on how these work. We capture that as a mention and add it to the details page for that output. Users can then click on the heading to be taken to the original Wikipedia article, on the username of the person who wrote the mention to see their profile on Wikipedia, and on the date stamp to view the edit record for that article:

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Because we’re looking for lots of different identifiers and have some constraints around auditability – every mention we collect has to have an author and a timestamp – we wrote our own system to get the data out in the format we need but we’re hoping to share tips, approaches and data with others in the community.

Excitingly, this means we now have a new colour to add to the Altmetric donut! From now on Wikipedia mentions of a research output will be visualized by a dark gray color in the donut. Any mention in Wikipedia (or even multiple mentions) will add a flat count of 3 to the score (so even if an article is mentioned 3 times across Wikipedia, it will still only add 3 to the score).

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For now we’ll just be tracking the English language version of Wikipedia, but we’ll be adding all of the other language versions over the next few months. Also please note that to begin with we’ve had a big load of historical data to update all at once, so some of it is still feeding through to the details pages – but give it a week or so and it should all be up to date.

Going forward the article details pages will reflect any Wikipedia references as soon as they are made (the only caveat being that we cache our API for an hour when the details page for any output is loaded, so sometimes there might be a bit of a delay). If a reference is deleted from Wikipedia the details page will update at the same speed to reflect that, and if all Wikipedia references for a research output are removed, the gray color would go from the donut and the score would drop by 3.

The addition of this source will lead to increased coverage in terms of the number of research outputs we’ve captured any online activity for. Wikipedia references are a key driver of referral traffic for publishers and institutions, and collating the associated references allows us to more accurately reflect the broader engagement surrounding a piece of research.

We’re certainly not the first to notice this trend. A number of scholarly content providers and research institutions have taken the step of employing a Wikimedian in Residence to provide outreach within their community, and to ensure that their research is represented appropriately. The Bodleian libraries in Oxford are currently hiring their very own curator, and several national libraries and museums have also invested in this role. At the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in the UK, they have not only hired a Wikimedian, but also extended fully open access across all of their content to active Chemistry Wikipedia editors.

Andy Mabbett, Wikipedian in Residence for the RSC, notes that “Wikipedia is the first port of call for both students and lay people seeking information about chemicals and other chemistry topics. Recognising the importance of providing citations to reliable sources as part of Wikipedia’s policy of verifiability, by which readers can be assured that its content is reliable, the Royal Society of Chemistry is delighted when its publications are referenced by Wikipedia editors, and it is in the interests of all concerned that such citations are clear, precise, unambiguous and formatted in a standard manner, both for the convenience of humans, and to allow parsing by computers.”

Andy reports that the response to their efforts to date has been “overwhelmingly positive”, and that there is already a large amount of interest for a program of public engagement events that he is planning to run later in the year.

Combining the Wikipedia references together with mentions from the wide variety of sources that we already track will allow researchers, institutions and funders to quickly and easily see where their article has been referenced on Wikipedia, and how that fits in to the broader picture of the attention it’s received. This in turn can help identify gaps,  uncover opportunities for further outreach or more extensive curation, and give context to reading material.

If you’ve got questions or comments about this new source please do get in touch – you can email us at support@altmetric.com, or send us a tweet @altmetric.

55 Responses to “New Source Alert: Wikipedia”

@AmyeKenall
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

Ooo! @altmetric are now tracking Wikipedia references to research outputs: http://t.co/IoV4IXMKdE #altmetrics #oa

@AmyeKenall
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

Ooo! @altmetric are now tracking Wikipedia references to research outputs: http://t.co/IoV4IXMKdE #altmetrics #oa

Ernesto Priego (@ernestopriego)
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

MT @altmetric: now tracking Wikipedia references to research outputs: http://t.co/FoCq1ra0PD #altmetrics #citylis

@MattRiceLives
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

#Altmetric to track #Wikipedia as a source. My profs would have been aghast. Times have changed. http://t.co/Kosmun7X6X

Nicko Goncharoff (@nickogoncharoff)
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

@altmetric have expanded coverage to include journal mentions in Wikipedia http://t.co/6nhkorzXdF

@samjohnhall
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

MT: Topical this week: @altmetric are now tracking Wikipedia references to research outputs: http://t.co/rvaEX9bTyD #altmetrics #oa #libchat

@ERSpublications
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

Interesting... MT @altmetric: Topical this week: @altmetric are now tracking Wikipedia refs to research outputs: http://t.co/PTZUlv7ZJA

@caseybergman
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

.@altmetric now tracks mentions of articles in @Wikipedia (http://t.co/CvGaQ3W8s9) - hope WP ed. process is strong enough to prevent gaming

CDRS (@ColumbiaCDRS)
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

Mentions of research in @Wikipedia will now be reflected in @altmetric's new ‘Wikipedia’ tab: http://t.co/YuPlzrLCSb http://t.co/6F2d6dT7cA

Duncan Hull @dullhunk
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

This is an interesting development. Does "must be referenced with proper Wikipedia citation tag" mean than e.g. {{cite journal}} is counted but not {{cite doi}} or {{cite pmid}} (it looks that way)? There are quite a few citations in those last two categories see

Category:Cite_pmid_templates (around ~50,000 references)
and
Category:Cite_doi_templates (around ~10,000 references)

Aaron Tay (@aarontay)
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

http://t.co/FR6gooOGFz now tracking citations in Wikipedia http://t.co/090QBCJAFT

@webjapaneseJ
February 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

New Source Alert: Wikipedia | http://t.co/tp6i84Thit http://t.co/EnyQgaDLRn

@ewarozkosz
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

Wikipedia as a new source in #altmetrics #almetrics #bibliometrics #ocenanauki http://t.co/gVDC0rmYWX

@dullhunk
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

@altmetric @catherinelucy interested to know techie details on which @wikipedia citations “count”, see my comment at http://t.co/GJbtw8I9XZ

Iara VPS (@iaravps)
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

Mais uma cor nos donuts da @altmetric: cinza escuro para menções na Wikipédia http://t.co/uqdXXOil1b #altmetrics

Iara VPS (@iaravps)
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

Mais uma cor nos donuts da @altmetric: cinza escuro para menções na Wikipédia http://t.co/uqdXXOil1b #altmetrics

@CrossRefNews
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric added Wikimedia as source. #wikipedia http://t.co/8dpkGkFKEU

@eomalea
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

Wikipedia references to research outputs now almetriced :) RT @altmetric http://t.co/vk0j0ODxX0 #altmetrics #oa #libchat

@MacmillanSandE
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

MT @altmetric: Topical this week: @altmetric are now tracking Wikipedia references to research outputs: http://t.co/MXSzbO8dbv

[…] 1. Altmetric Begins Utilizing Wikipedia as Source For Citations (English Language Wikipedia Only) […]

NPD Ireland (@NPDIreland)
February 5, 2015 at 12:00 am

Cool!
RT: “@myleejoseph: Altmetrics now tracks #Wikipedia citations http://t.co/6RKwyNeGhC #GLAMWIKI”

[…]   […]

@openrsrch
February 6, 2015 at 12:00 am

http://t.co/Y7nI7YZsqS

#opengov #joe_vassily_11

Nemo
February 6, 2015 at 12:00 am

Can you link the code used to identify the editor who added the citation? Thanks. Cf. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Content_persistence

@DrPantera
February 6, 2015 at 12:00 am

New Source Alert in http://t.co/MpV2PxcbZp: Wikipedia http://t.co/qzSAB4ofxf in @altmetric

@ResearchBuzz
February 8, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric is now tracking Wikipedia (English-only for the moment) - http://t.co/grTlf2kgkh

[…] is now tracking Wikipedia. “Adding Wikipedia to the list of sources we track has been a goal of ours for a while, and […]

Andy Tattersall (@Andy_Tattersall)
February 9, 2015 at 12:00 am

New Source Alert: Wikipedia now being tracked by @altmetric http://t.co/8mJJCkwxei

@benjaminlmoore
February 9, 2015 at 12:00 am

Bad idea: #Wikipedia cites now part of @altmetric scores: http://t.co/IptotzRPoe —already a problem w/ self-cites: https://t.co/uTCzI2Nf6Z

@xiao919
February 9, 2015 at 12:00 am

“New Source Alert: Wikipedia | http://t.co/QZl5YCTSo2” http://t.co/FoNpfC4Jau

@usernameerror
February 9, 2015 at 12:00 am

Altmetric now tracking ...Wikipedia http://t.co/aeR0vHPHlF

@j0shr0se
February 9, 2015 at 12:00 am

New Source Alert: Wikipedia http://t.co/sk0Csk9K6k

Martin Delahunty (@mdelahun)
February 10, 2015 at 12:00 am

#TIPPA How to keep track of peer-reviewed research covered by Wikipedia http://t.co/MeAtZvpuTc http://t.co/MeAtZvpuTc

Retha
February 10, 2015 at 12:00 am

Hi there, You've doone a great job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
I'm cnfident they will be benefited from this web site.

@ELTEEK
February 10, 2015 at 12:00 am

New Source Alert: Wikipedia | @altmetric http://t.co/G9bZRwB6q4 http://t.co/kUHpLHVoQ3

@dullhunk
February 10, 2015 at 12:00 am

@generalising some more info in the comments on the #wikipedia {{cite doi}} / {{cite pmid}} issue http://t.co/GJbtw8I9XZ via @altmetric

Altmetrics and Wikipedia | Wikimedia UK Blog
February 13, 2015 at 12:00 am

[…] likes of social media and newspapers. Altmetric.com measures the digital impact of articles, and recently announced that they are now including Wikipedia in their […]

Natalie Clairoux (@natalieclairoux)
February 24, 2015 at 12:00 am

Articles cited in Wikipedia now compiled by @altmetric http://t.co/lU8KXJuZha #altmetrics #scicomm

Links vom 25.02.2015 | Offene Wissenschaft
February 26, 2015 at 12:00 am

[…] New Source Alert: Wikipedia – Klar ist der Stellenwert der Wikipedia für die Wissenschaft strittig. Andersherum sieht das gänzlich anders aus. Ich glaube aber auch, dass die Wikipedia zunehmen enger an die Wissenschaft rückt und die Qualität der Artikel die sich auf Wissenschaft beziehen besser werden, vor allem wahrscheinlich weil viele Wissenschaftler selbst an den Artikeln mitwirken. Und klar, das Verhältnis innerhalb der englischen Wikipedia ist ein ganz anderes als in der deutschen Wikipedia. Das aber nur am Rande. Trotzdem schön zu sehen, dass Altmetrics die Wikipedia nun in die Quellen mit aufnimmt die sich tracken. […]

Altmetric (@altmetric)
February 26, 2015 at 12:00 am

@MariosDVM which one is your article? we need them to be formally cited using the wikipedia citation tag - see http://t.co/2UwIIkt226

[…] are now including Wikipedia citations in their scoring. I’m quoted in their announcement. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy’s edits 13:46, 4 February 2015 […]

[…] wikipedia for references too e.g. see http://nature.altmetric.com/details/961190/wikipedia and http://www.altmetric.com/blog/new-source-alert-wikipedia/, however the source data is not freely […]

[…] study showed that journals published as open access are used more frequently on Wikipedia, and Altmetrics has begun measuring Wikipedia citations to encourage public scholarly work. This research connection makes libraries an important part of […]

[…] study showed that journals published as open access are used more frequently on Wikipedia, and Altmetrics has begun measuring Wikipedia citations to encourage public scholarly work. This research connection makes libraries an important part of […]

[…] study showed that journals published as open access are used more frequently on Wikipedia, and Altmetrics has begun measuring Wikipedia citationsto encourage public scholarly work. This research connection makes libraries an important part of […]

[…] Impact of Scholarly Articles and Books?” (Note: we especially enjoyed reading this article, as we began tracking Wikipedia citations in […]

@alpalay
December 20, 2015 at 12:00 am

#Wikipedia citations as a new source of information for #research
https://t.co/CiHHkC2Oim via @skonkiel https://t.co/j5fdK3U3Vz

2015: the highlights | Altmetric.com
December 30, 2015 at 12:00 am

[…] Highlights of 2015 for us have included launching the Altmetric Ambassadors program, announcing Wikipedia tracking, adding support for The Conversation articles and Clinical Trials, and building the Bookmetrix […]

@SILibraries
December 30, 2015 at 12:00 am

@sarabeee @smithsonian yes, it is a part of @altmetric's grab bag. Read their blog post for more details: https://t.co/trxVuA3mVY

Wikialtmetrics | AMBIDIRECCIONAL
May 11, 2016 at 12:00 am

[…] que un article passi a formar part del bagatge de coneixements científics admesos. [1]Chimes, Cat. New source alert: Wikipedia Altmetric blog. 4 febrer […]

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