BIRA-IASB Seminar: Opportunities of Wikipedia and related applications for science

Seminar by  Geert Van Pamel, chair of Wikimedia Belgium.

Title: Opportunities of Wikipedia and related applications for science


Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons are instruments that can be important for scientific research. They form a suite of interrelated platforms that allow researchers to quickly obtain information, and an overview about a certain subject, within their research domain. All platforms are multilingual and are owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, an American philanthropic non-profit organisation. The content of all platforms is published under a free licence and is owned by all the volunteers that have contributed to a lemma, as a virtual and informal community.

Creative Commons exists since 2001, as does Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons was created in 2004 as a central repository for multimedia content. Wikidata was created in 2012, first to link lemmas in multiple languages, afterwards as a generic database. Information can be used for e.g. infoboxes on Wikipedia, or linked open data applications. Wikidata is a Wikibase database that is also used in SDC (Structured data on Commons). Wikidata can also be used for (Wikimedia) project management.

Licences are typically Creative Commons Share-Alike, or public domain. Other free licences like CC BY can be used as well. GFDL was the original licence of Wikipedia until 2009. Non-commercial licences are not accepted by Wikimedia platforms, because content should be usable by everybody. Universities often use NC-licences e.g. for educational and MOOC purposes.

Researchers can also contribute to those systems, because they are knowledgeable about their specific domains, so they can augment the knowledge content. In this talk we give an overview of what those platforms and their interrelated tools are, how researchers can benefit from them, and how they can contribute. We will also spend some time explaining other tools like OpenRefine, Wikidata Query (SPARQL), ListeriaBot, and Pywikibot.

In times of fake news, and doubts about e.g. vaccines and viruses, about the origin and the consequences of climate change, about politics and economics, etc. it is important to have reliable sources.

When: Friday 16 December 2022

Where: BIRA-IASB, Nicolet rooms + teams 



Friday, January 27, 2023 - 14:00 to 15:00

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