Archive:Press releases/May 2010 Wikimedia Foundation will engage academic experts and students to improve public policy information

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Wikimedia Foundation will engage academic experts and students to improve public policy information on Wikipedia

$1.2 million grant from the Stanton Foundation to support first initiative of its kind for Wikipedia

SAN FRANCISCO May 11, 2010 -- The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia, today announced a new project designed to improve the quality of public policy-related articles on Wikipedia. It is the first time the Wikimedia Foundation has launched a project designed to systematically increase the quality of articles in a particular topic area.

The project will be funded via a $1.2 million grant from the US-based Stanton Foundation, a long-time funding partner of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Stanton Foundation is the beneficiary foundation created in the name of the US broadcasting industry leader and media innovator, Frank Stanton. Dr. Stanton's commitment to civic education and freedom of speech carries on through his philanthropic legacy, the Stanton Foundation.

"Wikipedia is a key informational resource for hundreds of millions of people," said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. "The Stanton Foundation wants to increase people's understanding of public policy-related issues, and supporting quality on Wikipedia is a great way to accomplish that goal. Meanwhile, the Wikimedia Foundation is keen to experiment with techniques for encouraging subject-matter experts to work alongside our volunteers to improve quality. This funding will enable us to do that, and I am --as always-- very grateful to the Stanton Foundation for its support."

Wikipedia is written by hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world, and that won't change with this project. The Wikipedia Public Policy Initiative will recruit Wikipedia volunteers to work with public policy professors and students to identify topic areas for improvement, and work to make them better. Some of that work will take the form of classroom assignments, and pilot activities will begin during the 2010 fall academic semester. The project will continue through summer 2011.

"I am excited to begin this work," said Frank Schulenburg, Head of Public Outreach at the Wikimedia Foundation. "There have already been professors around the world who assign their students to rewrite and improve Wikipedia articles: it's a proven model, and it benefits everyone. My hope is that this project will enable us to experiment and document best practices, so that academics and educational institutions worldwide can partner with us in helping Wikipedia to continually improve in quality and content."

Further information

Project overview and timeline

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 370 million unique visitors per month, making them the 5th most popular web property worldwide (March 2010). Available in more than 270 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 15 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

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