It seems that mentioning that I had edited an entry in Wikipedia raised some questions marks (and, possibly, an eyebrow or two). To be clear, I wrote a very, very small sentence, in the Wikipedia entry for ‘Co-Creation’. If you had checked it just before and after my addition, you would probably not even notice it. It’s the part in bold:
Co-creation is a management initiative, or form of economic strategy, that brings different parties together (for instance, a company and a group of customers), in order to jointly produce a mutually valued outcome.
There is no denying that Wikipedia is a very popular reference source. Despite its problems with quality, Wikipedia can be a great starting point for research on a topic. I, for one, use it for both work and personal ends. So, I recently decided that, instead of moaning about its quality, I should do something about it. The deal (between me and myself) is: every time I submit a paper to a journal, I add something to the related entry on Wikipedia. This time, I made a minor tweak to the definition. In the future I may consider adding an example, discuss the origins of the term, or mention a recent development. Only time will show.
In addition to taking an active role in correcting a perceived problem, editing Wikipedia also helps me give something back to the community. Martin Poulter explains it perfectly in this recent blog post in LSE’s The Impact Blog:
Wikipedia is also the ultimate in open access: not only does it aim to make the sum of human knowledge available to the world for free, but all its content is freely licenced (either public domain or a suitable Creative Commons licence) for anyone to adapt and reuse.
It does require a different writing style to that we are accustomed to in academia. It also requires a particular frame of mind. Again, in the words of Martin Poulter:
Wikipedia is intrinsically collaborative, and while many of us find it hard to relinquish control of something we’ve spent serious time on, the experience has taught me that I can make a better end product in collaboration than I ever can by working purely alone.
Over to you: What Wikipedia entry have you edited or would consider adding to?