Kill two birds with one stone with Wikipedia

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This blog post is not about Wikipedia as a source. Rather, I will focus on Wikipedia as a channel for research communication.

Studies indicate that Wikipedia can be an effective tool for research dissemination. For example, Wikipedia is a source frequently consulted by physicians and medical students.[1] Wikipedia is a universal encyclopedia, and its open source software allows everyone to contribute content.  Researchers can contribute by writing about research results in an accessible way and by providing references to their publications. For researchers, Wikipedia offers a venue for popularizing science and scholarship, and at the same time making their own research more visible, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

The structure of a Wikipedia article

There are a few elements common to all Wikipedia articles. Here is an example:

– The title of the article [1].

– The body text [2] has its first words written in bold. In this example, there are many references to other Wikipedia articles. These headwords are only hyperlinked the first time they occur in the text.

– External links (for example, to a publisher’s website) are listed under this heading [3].

– Under [4], references that occur in the text are listed.

– An often-forgotten feature is the categorization of articles [5]. This is a way to contextualize the article, which is of value to both readers and contributors.

– At the bottom of the page, the applicable Creative Commons license is given (CC BY-SA). Content on Wikipedia can be redistributed freely, if the source is referenced and the CC license is retained. (The CC BY-SA license has also been given to this blog post, as indicated at the bottom of the text.)

– At [7], you can edit the article.

– If you want to have a look “behind the scenes”, you can go to “View history” [8]. Here you can view earlier versions of the article, and when and by whom the article has been edited. In some cases, this can prove interesting reading indeed!

– At [9], it is indicated if you have logged in to Wikipedia or not.

The varying quality of Wikipedia articles

Some articles on Wikipedia are not very good. Others, on the other hand, are of high quality and well substantiated. By viewing the history of the article and its talk page (see Thomas Piketty) you will get a good indication if the subject matter is controversial or neglected (Paternopoli=not updated for a long time). This is one way of assessing the quality of the article. Other parameters to look at: does the article have references (Irpinia – good) or footnotes (even better)? Are referenced sources scholarly (Hofstede’s cultural dimensions)?

Wikipedia as a tool for research dissemination

As a researcher, you have a unique opportunity to help make Wikipedia better, and at the same time make your own research more visible. Before we go into how to do this in a smart way, remember to:

1. Never create an article about yourself. If you are important enough to have an article on Wikipedia, someone else will write one.

2. Never create a whole new article about your research. This is especially important if you are not a seasoned contributor on Wikipedia.

3. Never look at Wikipedia as a channel for marketing your own research. Try instead to enrich and nuance existing articles. If you approach Wikipedia in a humble way, it is more likely your contributions will last.

Instead, start with enriching an existing article

Locate an article related to your research field, add a few sentences with relevant information and reference an already published academic source. If you have published research on the subject, you have the opportunity to reference that. If you have written a press release, a popular account or a leaflet about your research this will help you write your Wikipedia article. Make sure to reference your own research publication!

If you get hooked and go on to create new articles, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Make sure to link the article to other articles in Wikipedia. Don’t create an “orphan” article, they are more likely not to survive. Put some extra effort in adding categories to your article – look at how similar articles have been categorized.


Learn to write in a new genre

Different audiences mean different uses of language. The style on Wikipedia is very different from that of a scholarly article. The best way to learn is by reading other Wikipedia articles, and begin practicing on a small scale. If you follow the advice above and start by enriching existing articles, you will likely not run into any problems. You will automatically fall into the style of existing content.

The technical aspect of editing will not present many difficulties. Edit the article in the text editing mode [7].

If you become a frequent contributor to Wikipedia, I recommend that you create your own account. If you only make a few edits a year, there is no need to have an account.  If you have an account, you can interact with other Wikipedians through your own user page and you get your own sand box to develop your articles. You can also create your own watchlist with articles that you are especially engaged with.

You are not the one in control!

If you think of Wikipedia as an endless project that is constantly being revised, it is easy to imagine that you own edits might not survive. Don’t lose faith if your contributions are deleted. Ask yourself why this happened, and try to learn from experience the next time you edit an article on Wikipedia.

Learn more

Which LiU researchers are Wikipedia editors? Swedish Wikipedia has 128 articles that have been edited by LiU researchers, the English version 42 (11 November, 2019)

Help: Wikipedia editing for researchers, scholars, and academics

Is your research already referred to at Wikipedia? Altmetrics holds the answer. The colour black on your ”Altmetric donut” indicate that your publication has been cited on Wikipedia. The easiest way to check this is through your DiVA publication list (create it here).

Want to learn more? We will gladly come to your department to hold talks or workshops!

By Johanna Nählinder, senior coordinator of reseach support, Linköping University Library, under CC BY-SA. Translated by Peter Igelström.


[1] Metcalfe, D. & J. Powell (2011) Should doctors spurn Wikipedia J R Soc Med 104(12): 488-489.

“Dubbelkvart” current research and teaching issues

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“Dubbelkvart” about current research and teaching issues comes to Campus Norrköping

“Dubbelkvart” is the name for the university library’s short, open lunch talks on current issues and tips that facilitates work for our researchers and teachers.

“Dubbelkvart” at Campus Norrköping will take place in the lounge in Utsikten, Kåkenhus, so bring your sandwich and coffee  (BYO) and come to listen.

The programme for the spring semester 2020 will cover the following issues: Bibliometrics, Plan S and Open Science, Disseminating your research, Planning teaching with the library and Information literacy of alumni. See the full programme below.

Kerstin Annerbo or  Britt Omstedt at Campus Norrköping library can answer any questions you may have.



LiUB supports researcher OA book publication

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The library can as of december 18th 2020 no longer financially support OA-publication of books

Let’s take the most important thing first: LiU Library temporarily offers support for publication in open access journals. Now we are expanding our support to include books as well. If you have a book under publication and get the  opportunity to publish it open access, the library can help in paying the author fee.

Do you want to know more? Contact us at

Open access is an important societal challenge. The latest government bill on research  ”Kunskap i samverkan” (2016/17: 50),  stresses the objective to make all scientific publications that result from publicly funded research immediately open access. This will benefit innovation, competitiveness and strengthen the public sector.

Whereas article open access are well on the way, this is not the case with books. Plan S mention books in its seventh principle: “The above principles should apply to all types of scholarly publications, but it is understood that the timeline to achieve Open Access for monographs and book chapters will be longer and requires a separate and due process.” Thus, other processes are required to increase the open access book publication.

It is a bit more complicated with open access for books than for scientific articles. Many books are actually already open access:
* Many books are freely available and downloadable online, often as  pdf documents. Some of these are available open access only. See, for example, books written by Jan Kjellgren and by (ed) Lotta Gröning & Elin Wihlborg. Do not forget the dissertations freely  available in full text in DiVA  –  3109 and counting!

*Some open access books are also sold as tanglibe books.  Open access is a real challenge for this market. When it is possible to publish such a book open access, it is often associated with high costs. An example of a book that is available in both physical and electronic open access format is “Glocal Pharma” by Ericka Johnson, Ebba Sjögren and Cecilia Åsberg.

Written by Johanna Nählinder, co-ordinator of research support, LiUB, as part of OA-Week2019


P.S. Do read the blogpost in Scholarly Kitchens regarding open access publishing of books!
P.S.S: Interested in open access publishing of books? Visit Kriterium?

UniSearch setting modified – “Available via LiU” now default


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In the library search service UniSearch, you can search all material types, e.g. journal articles, books, reports etc., in almost all available databases. Previously, the default has been set to search content regardless if LiU users have access to that content or not.

Search results have therefore included material not immediately accessible (but in many cases available through interlibrary loans).

The default setting has now been changed to only include material available via LiU’s print or electronic collections. If you want to expand your search to include material not available via LiU, you can remove the setting “Available via LiU” under Limit search.

The modified default setting will in many cases result in a more manageable search result. Since Linköping University Library’s collections include a wide selection of electronic journals, ebooks and print publications, you will still have plenty to choose from. The possibility to request interlibrary loans of material that is not included in LiU’s collections is unchanged.

A corresponding modification will also be implemented in the search box on the library web, under “Modify”.

Go to UniSearch

By Peter Igelström, librarian, Valla Library

Publish for free in Springer Nature OA-journals. New deal.

LiU-researcher publishing in Springer-Nature OA-journals? Congratulations! APCs are covered via a national deal for close to 600 journals. The deal runs until December 2021.

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The deal covers publications in almost all pure (gold) OA-journals from Springer Nature, including journals such as Nature Communications and Scientific Reports. The deal also includes a number of journals from the imprints BioMed Central, SpringerOpen journals och Nature Research.

This particular deal do not include so-called hybrid publishing (when you pay extra to make an article OA in a subscription journal). That is included in another deal. Are you unsure whether or not your journal is included? Contact us at 

In order to get your APCs paid for, it is crucial that you remember to:
* state your affiliation as Linköping University
* state that you are the corresponding author
* state that you use your @liu email adress

Nature Springer identifies you as a LiU-researcher and the LiU-library verifies it. In other words, you do not have to do anything extra except give the “correct” contact information. Half of the publication fee will be paid by LiU, half by the research funders VR, Formas, Forte and Vinnova.

Open access is growing increasingly important in the publication landscape. States and research funder are backing the principle that access to research is vital from a democracy perspective. The majority of research today is still behind paywalls and thus not accessible for taxpayers without university connections. OA is thus important, but it is hard to change the publication system since it consists of large corporations profitting from  library subscriptions. Deals such as Springer Nature Fully Open Access contributes to a publication system where research get to be read and researchers do not have to  pay APCs.


Written by Johanna Nählinder, co-ordinator of research support, LiUB.


P.S: have you submitted to a non-Springer Nature OA journal? We still have OA- support!
PP.S: OA= open access; APC= author publication charges: a type of publication fees