Altmetric Now Tracking Wikipedia References to Research Outputs
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia written collaboratively by the people who use it, is without competition 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.
Excitingly, this means there is now 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).
For now Altmetric will just be tracking the English language version of Wikipedia, but they will be adding all of the other language versions over the next few months. Also please note that to begin with Altmetric have 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.
Adding Wikipedia to the list of sources Altmetric track is a great milestone – and the team have certainly been working hard! Do stay tuned for more exciting updates like this on the Altmetric Blog.