Editorial 14th February, 2017

Working on Wikipedia Pages of Women Scientists in India.

We started the month of February on a brilliant note. We organised our very first wikipedia edit-a-thon for this year. The highlight for this edit-a-thon has to be the collaboration that emerged. We organised the edit-a-thon in collaboration with Women in Computing Society (WICS) at Ashoka University, The Life of Science Project (TLOS) and Centre of Internet and Society (CIS) .

Women in Computing Society is a space which aims to build and strengthen the community of women pursuing Computer Science at Ashoka University. The Life of Science Project is a brainchild of two science journalists, Nandita Jayaraj and Aashima Dogra. They have been capturing the stories of women who have been spearheading scientific research in India.

We have three primary aims of organising these wikipedia edit-a-thons. The first being increasing the number of women wikipedia editors. The second is to increase the representation of gender related topics and perspectives on Wikipedia. Lastly, we aim to create communities of wikipedia editors and strengthen this sense of community in spaces which are safe spaces. A collaboration with WICS and TLOS embodied all of this. We used “The life of Science Project” blog as a primary source for information. The participation for the event was ensured by WICS. 

The edit-a-thon was organised at Ashoka University itself. We had ten students from various courses offered at Ashoka University participate in the edit-a-thon. After a round of introductions, a brief introduction to wikipedia editing, we were joined by Ting-Yi, a researcher who is currently interning at Centre of Internet and Society, who have been our consistent partners for wikipedia related events. Ting-Yi joined us over skype and presented on the theme of gender gap in wikipedia which is also her research topic. The presentation enabled the participants to get a better sense of the purpose behind organising such events.

We worked on eight wikipedia pages of women scientists. The list is as follows:

1. Kusala Rajendran

2. Aruna Dhathathreyan

3. Kavita Shah

4. Ramadevi Nimmanapalli

5. Radhika Nair

6. Vidita Vaidya

7. Anu Sabhlok

8. Shilpa Ranade

Some of these articles need to be worked upon further in accordance with the wikipedia guidelines. We are in touch with the participants and will be working on it.

Overall, all of us had a lovely time! I recollect a participant telling me post lunch how for her the whole process of wikipedia editing was so exciting. She associated the feeling of an adrenaline rush with the experience of editing wikipedia for the first time. For most of us, wikipedia is the first link you click on when you google something. It becomes your first stop for basic information about any topic. A lot of us don’t know that wikipedia is an open source and at any point in time there are people creating the knowledge we are consuming. And then, to know that you too could create knowledge or share knowledge in a particular form is truly exciting!

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