The VOLCROWE team hosted ‘ZooCon Portsmouth’, a successful public event in collaboration with Wikipedia held at the University of Portsmouth. The event brought together a group of volunteer contributors from the Zooniverse platform (www.zooniverse.org) to reflect on the profile of citizen science on the web and how it was being represented on sites such as Wikipedia. With guidance from Wikipedia representatives, attendees then participated in a ‘Wikithon’ where the Wikipedia entries for citizen science and Zooniverse projects were collaboratively reviewed and updated live at the event. Attendees also received training on how to continue revising and updating such entries in the future and took part in a series of one-to-one interviews with researchers on the VOLCROWE team regarding their motivations for participating in citizen science projects.
As a result of the Wikithon, it became clear that the current rules regarding image use adopted by Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) are preventing use of the images on public websites like Wikipedia. The Executive Board of the SDSS is now in the process of responding to a formal motion to revise the rights for image use to allow for more general usage. All signs are positive that a change of policy will result from this activity and the images from this survey will be made more widely available to the general population as a direct result of this event.
Hanny van Arkel, who attended the event commented “The ZooCon Portsmouth event was a success. It’s always nice to be properly updated about the new citizen science projects and it was fun to be a part of the ‘Wikithon’ session. Maybe especially as a citizen scientist, I have always liked the idea behind Wikipedia and – of course – I use it often. I had never really done any editing myself though, even though I had once made an account for it. We started this session with an insightful presentation and we were taken by the hand (as a group) to start editing some of the Zooniverse pages. I did learn some new things, in particular about what to do when there’s a conflict of interest and the whole set-up was very motivating. Especially because we were in the group and we could share ideas. It was great and I really should do this more often!”