Wikipedia Academy: Research and Free Knowledge.
June 29 - July 1 2012, Berlin.


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Time Day 1- Fri 29 June (FU, Garystr. 21) Day 2 - Sat 30 June (FU, Garystr. 21) Day 3 - Sun 1 July (SUPERMARKT) Time
08:30 08:30
09:00 Parallel Workshops I-III:

Wikipedia Data Analysis for Researchers
GLAM Tools

Walk-in 09:00
09:30 Morning Pitch Walk-in 09:30
10:00 The Visual Experience - Gender and Ways of Seeing Wikimedia

Keynote by Sarah Stierch

10:30 Paper Session III Paper Session IV 10:30
11:00 Free Culture Brunch
(on-going, until 14:30)
11:30 11:30
12:00 Lunch (self-organised) Lunch 12:00
12:30 Free Knowledge Panel 12:30
13:00 Official Welcome Science Communication Panel 13:00
13:30 When Peer Production Succeeds.

Keynote by Benjamin "Mako" Hill

14:00 Coffee break 14:00
14:30 Afternoon Pitch Breakout Sessions
(15:00 Coffee)
Presentation of the
Zedler-Preis für Freies Wissen (in German)
15:00 Coffee break 15:00
15:30 Speed Geeking

Geek Breakouts
Reception 15:30
16:00 Paper Session V Paper Session VI 16:00
16:30 16:30
17:00 Paper Session I Paper Session II 17:00
17:30 Break 17:30
18:00 Lightning Talks
(Poster presentations et al.)
18:30 Break 18:30
19:00 Researchers and the researched: A difficult relationship. Community Panel 19:00
19:30 19:30
20:00 20:00
20:30 Get-together (Luise Dahlem)
(open end)
21:00 21:00

Please note: All talk events at the conference are held in English.

Conference documentation

  • Find video links and presentation slides by the short descriptions of the lectures, panels and presentations below.
  • List of Participant Reviews (more coming soon!)
On Claudia Müller-Birn's blog:
On Jonathan Hutchinson's blog: Day One #WPAC2012, Day Two of #WPAC2012

Day 1, Fri 29 June



For detailed information see Workshops.

When Peer Production Succeeds. Keynote by Benjamin "Mako" Hill


As Wikipedians have collaborated over the last decade to build the most comprehensive reference work in history, they have created, and documented, a new class of cooperative work. The academic world -- inspired by Wikipedia's success and its novel form -- have responded with thousands of academic papers about Wikipedia and its processes.

But as many people who have tried to create their own wikis can attest to, Wikipedia's enormous success at mobilizing volunteers and building works of high quality has been difficult to replicate. Even the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia's founders have struggled to replicate Wikipedia's success in their other projects.

Through the knowledge and intuitions of Wikipedians, and through the work of the academics studying Wikipedia, we know an enormous amount about *how* Wikipedia works. However, the fact that even our own community has systematically failed to replicate our greatest success points to the fact that we still know very little about *why* Wikipedia works. The situation is similar in regards to free software and other peer production communities. And although each failure can teach us something, we have not given these failures the same attention we've saved for the successes.

In this talk, I will refer to research on free software and free culture communities and suggest that the ideal of peer production is only rarely realized. I will show how free software, and free culture, only very rarely looks like its poster children: the Linux kernels and the Wikipedias. I will present some of my research comparing failed free culture projects to successes to both suggest a methodology, and a potential set of answers, in order to answering the question: Why did peer production projects like Wikipedia work?

I will suggest, and try to show, that by learning from our failures, instead of ignoring or sweeping them under the rug, we can make both free culture advocacy and free culture practice more effective.

Speed Geeking


Speed Dating for Wikipedia Research. 10 topics in under an hour.

Researchers and community members will introduce topics at ten "show and tell" stations — demoing their work using flip charts, a few slides, screen grabs, whatever — each in five minutes or less.

Participants rotate among the speed geek stations in small groups. Every five minutes, you'll hear about another topic. This provides a fun way to learn about a broad range of projects very quickly.

Paper Sessions


Authors of scientific research papers will present their works on issues in the overall nexus of Wikipedia and Free Knowledge in 30-minutes slots each.

Full list of accepted submissions

Paper Session I: Measuring and Improving Wikipedia Article Quality

Paper Session II: Knowledge, Power, and Wikipedia

  • Thomas Petzold: Geo-linguistic Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Wikipedia’s globally distributed, yet locally specific knowledge distribution (Presentation slides)

Researchers and the researched: A difficult relationship. Community Panel


For researchers, the transparency of Wikipedia, its digitally and openly documented processes can be a perfect basis for detailled research. A Wikipedian might take it this way: Someone else, I don’t know, is utterly free to scrutinise every single activity of mine and to interpret it against all of my intentions. Their interpretation is likedly to be considered as scientific truth.

The Wikipedia Community has always been vocal about what is happening within the Wikipedia and amongst Wikipedians. Also, many members of the Community have experience conducting scientific research themselves. However or maybe because of this, many Wikipedians do not hold back with their protest against or disapproval of research in and about Wikipedia.

The communication between researchers and researched has proven to be difficult. Open questions remain on both sides:

  • How can Wikipedians benefit from consulting academic papers about Wikipedia?
  • How could the research benefit from consulting Wikipedians’ opinions about research?
  • How seriously should opinions and statements of Wikipedians about Wikipedia research be taken while further designing this field of research?
  • Researchers and research: A dialogue of equals? A dialogue at all?
  • On a longer run: Should there be a professionalised Wikipedia consulting services informed by research?
  • Are there ethical limits about how fine-grained Wikipedia research should be?

With Debora Weber-Wulff, Manuel Merz, Moritz Braun and Sarah Stierch.

Day 2, Sat 30 June

Paper Sessions


Authors of scientific research papers will present their works on issues in the overall nexus of Wikipedia and Free Knowledge in 30-minutes slots each.

Full list of accepted submissions

Paper Session III: Analysing Wikipedia Article Data

Paper Session IV: Open Access to Research and Culture

Science Communication Panel


Open Science as an opportunity for Science Communication.

Abstract: Open research is the concept of scientists sharing their research with the world as soon as they record it for themselves. This enhances interaction both within the scientific community and between researchers and the wider public. Focusing on the latter aspect, this panel will address how opening up the research process affects the ways in which

  • the media follow and report on research
  • the public consumes popular science sources and engages with ongoing research
  • research funders and administrators communicate their activities
  • research itself is changing as a result of these broadened interactions


With Jenny Molloy, Cornelius Puschmann, Lars Fischer, and Joachim Storsberg.

Moderation: Daniel Mietchen

Paper Sessions


Authors of scientific research papers will present their works on issues in the overall nexus of Wikipedia and Free Knowledge in 30-minutes slots each.

Full list of accepted submissions

Paper Session V: Writing and Constructing Knowledge Collaboratively

Paper Session VI: Sharing Cultures and Communities

  • Balazs Bodo: Social control and self governance in file-sharing communities: The Constitution of Pirate Republics

Lightning Talks


A Lightning talk is a short presentation that only lasts five minutes and several will be delivered in a single period of ninety minutes by different speakers. For a Lightning Talk, you do not need to make slides, and if you do decide to make slides, you only need to make three max. If people want to follow up or ask questions, they will catch you in the hallway afterwards.

Conference participants are invited to suggest topics in the registration and can give a Lightning Talk. We look forward to your contributions!

Amongst others, a number of research topics will be presented in form of posters.

Day 3, Sun 01 July

The Visual Experience - Gender and Ways of Seeing Wikimedia. Keynote by Sarah Stierch


According to the Wikimedia Foundation's most recent community survey, women continue, for the second year in a row, to comprise of approximately nine percent of contributors to Wikipedia and related projects. As researchers try to find the reason why, the Wikimedia Foundation and community members across projects explore ways to improve on that low percentage. What makes the Wikipedia and Wikimedia world so different than other landscapes in which women are active in online? For example, women are more active than men in online communities such as Twitter and Facebook, and also blog more than their gender counterparts. Providing a more visually accessible landscape for participation will most likely be a key component in improving women's participation in Wikipedia and other projects such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's online free image repository. This talk will not only explore the hard truth about women's participation through direct experience, but will also explore what is deterring that participation through one common focus: the visual experience. How do on-wiki new user spaces such as the Wikipedia Teahouse work to attract and retain women? What makes it different visually than other spaces on Wikipedia? How can a call for action through a visual experience attract women via a call for action in a way that the rest of Wikipedia is not? What makes Wikimedia Commons such a challenging attempt at encompassing free content by challenging the public's expectations of visual collections and how can women help to curate that content? Finding influence in feminist and visual theory about imagery and women's expectations and experiences, Stierch will break down what she believes needs to happen to create an encompassing landscape that can appeal to women in order to mind the gap of Wikipedia. (Presentation slides)

Free Culture Brunch


This event will be open to the broader public.

Are you interested in Wikipedia, Free Knowledge and Free Culture or working on related scientific topics? We invite you, the Wikipedia Community, Free Culture activists and supporters of free licenses and free software to join us for the Free Culture Brunch.

Connect with the international crowd, share ideas and use the time to lay the foundations of future projects. We will provide an informal and creative setting as well as delicious food. Join us and bring your friends!

Wikimedia Deutschland presents...
Hypermusic app
Listen to, watch and share free music. Hand picked Creative Commons licensed tracks by various netlabels will be played and their artworks will be projected on the wall, next to individual QR-Codes that bring you free downloads while you hear a song. The hypermusic app is based on the HTML5 javascript library Popcorn.js.
Realised and curated by Christian Grasse (@chgrasse).

Wiki Loves Monuments photo exhibition
Enjoy the 12 winning photos from the European Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest 2011 as well as the winners of the German, Austrian and Swiss contest. Wiki Loves Monuments started in 2010 as a photo competition in one country (Netherlands) and turned into a European competition in 2011. 18 countries participated in the organization and over 165.000 photos were contributed by over 5000 (mostly new) users.

Free Knowledge Panel


The closing panel will bring leading scholars together to discuss social aspects of Free Knowledge in the light of the previous talks and panels of the conference.

A focus of the panel discussion will be put on the practices of sharing knowledge and cultural goods in Wikipedia and other communities. How are they framed by discourses and norms? What are the artefacts, algorithms and rules a sharing culture is manifesting itself with?

With Jeanette Hofmann, Annalisa Pelizza, Sebastian Haunss and Benjamin Mako Hill.

Moderator: Matthias Spielkamp (

Presentation of the Zedler Prize for Free Knowledge


This event is held in German.

With the Zedler Prize for Free Knowledge, Wikimedia Deutschland awards single persons, groups or projects for their outstanding performances in the field of Free Knowledge. It is the first award in the German-speaking world that honours their sedulous voluntary efforts for Free Knowledge. Wikimedia Deutschland aims to draw attention to initiatives within the Wikipedia/Wikimedia community and beyond which are actively engaging in our mission for the disemmination, collection and creation of Free Knowledge.