Cancer Research UK advertises for 'wikipedian in residence'

The role will involve making sure information about the charity on Wikipedia is up to date

Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is advertising for a "wikipedian in residence" to ensure information about cancer on the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia is up to date.

The role, which is being funded by a £25,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust, will include teaching CRUK’s scientists how to edit the free knowledge-sharing website.

The new recruit, who will join the charity on a six-month fixed-term contract, will also research how cancer patients use the site to access information and help make sure its pages are as easy as possible to understand.

Wikipedian is the term used for the people who write and edit the pages of the site.

Oliver Childs, news and multimedia manager at CRUK, said: "It is a bit of a quirky role. We’ve been having a debate internally about whether to recruit someone who is a science communicator in the traditional sense. But it is more someone who already has links with Wikipedia and an understanding of its editorial tools."

According to Wikipedia, the first wikipedian in residence was Liam Wyatt, an Australian Wikipedia editor, who spent five weeks at the British Museum in 2010 developing the relationship between the organisations and improving the museum’s presence on the site.

Childs said CRUK was the first medical research organisation to create such a role. CRUK’s wikipedian would be given the job of creating a culture in the charity of getting researchers involved with the site, he said.  

"We want the person who takes on the role to leave behind some expertise, look at how people use Wikipedia and how we can improve that," he said.

Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, the charity that helps to collect, develop and distribute information for the site, said: "This new role would see Wikimedia UK and CRUK joining forces to build on Wikipedia’s extensive information on cancer. The possibility of recruiting cancer scientists to help edit these important articles is very exciting."

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