Marking Territory: Exerting Control over the Shape of Scientific Knowledge in Wikipedia. 4S ’11.

Gokhman, S., Morgan, J.T., Zachry, M., Sirjani, B.

Scientific knowledge-sharing has become an increasingly less insular practice, particularly with the popularity of open systems like Wikipedia to aid in the dissemination of information to the general public. To maintain quality in a particular scientific domain on Wikipedia, there exist self-organized, agenda-driven communities called WikiProjects, which serve a particularly crucial role in encyclopedic work. In this presentation, we will report on our analysis of WikiProject participants to demonstrate a variety of coordination and organization practices in the collaborative creation process. Our research focuses on the intersection of two or more scientific WikiProject domains to expose and better understand patterns of negotiation, conflict, alignment, relationship-building and collaboration in peer production. A featured example from our analysis examines participant interactions on articles shared by WikiProject Molecular & Cellular Biology and WikiProject Biochemistry. By focusing on interactions among WikiProject participants on these article pages in overlapping territory, our research exposes relationships of editors to both other editors and articles in order to better define these underlying social processes in scientific knowledge-sharing. This research offers new insight into the shifting paradigm of scientific knowledge creation through agenda-driven communities in open spaces and provides better understanding of the social features that are integral to public engagement in science.

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