Wikimedia Research/Research and Data
This page is obsolete. It is being retained for archival purposes. It may document extensions or features that are obsolete and/or no longer supported. Do not rely on the information here being up-to-date.
This is a legacy page describing the scope and mandate of the Research and Data team, formerly part of Analytics. Please see Wikimedia Research for more current information.
Who we are
We are the Wikimedia Foundation's research team and our mission is to support the organization in using data to make better decisions. The team includes members of the Analytics team as well as analysts and researchers with different departments.
The Research and Data team has three main responsibilities:
- to support the organization in making research-informed decisions,
- to expand our understanding of the editor community and projects, and
- to help teams evaluate the impact of new programs and features designed by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Collaboration. We mostly work by embedding ourselves in the teams that we support. We believe that we work best with customers when we participate in the design process from a very early stage to identify research questions that new products or programs are designed to answer. We also support the teams we work with by advising towards best practices on instrumentation, data modeling, data visualization and the definition of key performance metrics. To determine the best approach and prioritize research questions we typically consult with program and product owners on a quarterly basis, or on a per-project basis as needed.
Transparency. We strive to make the process and output of our work as transparent as possible, by publicly sharing the research reports (see the Research:Index), visualizations, code (see FIXME) and datasets (see our datahub.io group) that we produce. When we publish our work in academic outlets, we make sure that the results are openly accessible to the community.
Product development. We also work with the Analytics Development and the Wikimedia product and engineering teams to identify and prototype new analytics product ideas or ways to use data to improve user experience on Wikimedia sites.
Outreach. We work with community members and academic researchers to spearhead Wikimedia/Wikipedia research and to evangelize open research tools and data sources. We regularly hang out on IRC in the connect and connect channel, where you can reach us to ask us anything about our work. We are also familiar with the scholarly literature on Wikipedia and online collaboration in general and we strive to bridge the gap between the Foundation, our editor community and the research community by participating in various outreach initiatives.
Grantmaking. We support Wikimedia movement affiliates in making research-driven decisions about how to further our mission and strategic goals through grant funded projects, and how to demonstrate the impact of those projects.
What we are working on
Work with us
We currently have no openings for research positions.
We currently do not have a paid internship position. If you are interested in an unpaid position, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your resume, a cover letter, and your availability.
How to get research support
- Our work doesn't fit well with the typical structure of a software development process and we strive to remain flexible and adapt to the needs of the teams we support on an ongoing basis. When we work with project teams we're embedded in, we work iteratively with the product owners and team members to provide the best form of support to the team. When we do so, our work is tracked, prioritized and reported by the project team itself. We determine on a quarterly basis what teams need dedicated support with "embedded researchers" (see focus areas below), as a function of our current capacity.
- We welcome requests for research support and new research ideas at an exploratory stage. We keep track of these requests via a dedicated board. This tool is not designed as an inbox for raw data requests. You should feel free to create new cards and start submitting ideas at an early stage even if they are not fully articulated, but once you've done that, do get in touch so we can help grow these ideas into well thought-through plans, determine their relative priority and assess their technical feasibility and effort needed.
- We also use this tool to keep track of the output of our work and collect links that we need to collect to report our activity on a monthly basis.
- The following is a typical workflow of a research request:
- New requests are posted by creating a card under New: that's where people start describing what problem they are trying to solve or research idea they have.
- We review incoming requests and file them under Input needed when more context/information is needed. This will typically be the case for the majority of incoming requests.
- Cards will stay on the Input needed list until they include all the information needed for us to start actually working on them.
- All the other lists (Staged, In progress, Completed) should be self-explanatory and represent the stage of a request.
- Fixed-date requests can be marked by specifying a due date field in the card. We will review them to make sure we can prioritize them based on the team capacity.
- A card filed under Completed will typically link to a research report on Meta, a dataset on the DataHub, code in a code repository, a data visualization etc.
- Customers and people outside of the team should feel free to create new cards or comment on existing ones, but not move cards across lists.
- The board is currently readable to anyone in the organization; members of the organization can join and comment; team members are admins.
- We host monthly IRC Research Office Hours where you can ask us about what we're doing in general, or get our input on specific questions. The office hours will be announced on the wiki-research-l and analytics-l mailing lists.
What we are working on
- Growth: we work with the Growth team to research how to attract and retain new Wikipedia editors.
- Mobile editor engagement: we help the mobile team understand the effectiveness of new ways to engage with mobile users (i.e. new users registered on mobile devices as well as existing editors contributing via mobile devices)
- Mobile Traffic: we help the mobile team and the foundation understand the breakdown and habits of our mobile readers.
Other stuff we're doing
- Monthly research showcase: a monthly showcase of our work.
- Labs2: an initiative to engage with academics and community members interested in Wikimedia research
- Research Index: we help maintain Wikimedia's canonical directory of research projects.
- Wikimedia Research Newsletter: we contribute to the monthly research newsletter, covering the most recent publications on Wikimedia projects.