Projects aims to bridge gap between academia and Wikipedia

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Jisc and Wikimedia UK are collaborating on a project to bring the academic world and Wikipedia closer together. The aim is to create opportunities for researchers, educators, and the general public to contribute to the world's freely available knowledge.

Jisc says it is supporting this initiative so that the widest possible audience will benefit from the projects that it supports. These include open educational resources, online repositories of research, and collections such as the 19th century newspapers archive and Manuscripts Online, which holds British written and early printed materials from 1000 to 1500AD.

Wikimedia UK, the UK charity supporting Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wiktionary and Wikiversity, hopes that the project will involve more professionals in universities, museums, libraries, and other institutions in improving Wikimedia projects for everyone's benefit.

Peter Findlay, Jisc programme manager said: 'We at Jisc are delighted to be working in partnership with Wikimedia UK to allow people to take full advantage of Wikipedia’s sophisticated open publishing systems. Our communities have worked hard to develop academic rigour but equally Wikimedia’s community has developed a rigorous approach to publishing crowdsourced knowledge; it makes perfect sense for us to join forces for the advancement of teaching, learning and research.'

Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, added: 'I’m pleased that we are working with Jisc on the Wikimedia Ambassador project. Both the academic and Wikimedia communities are committed to the pursuit and sharing of knowledge. Bringing the two communities together can help demystify Wikipedia to people who work in higher education, and at the same time create and improve Wikimedia content by encouraging more experts to edit.'

The project, which is based at the University of Bristol, is jointly funded by Wikimedia UK and Jisc, and will run for around nine months.