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GUIDE: How to contribute climate change information to Wikipedia

CDKN and Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) have launched a new guide for climate change professionals on how to contribute climate change information to Wikipedia.  

Wikipedia is a powerful platform to make climate change information accessible to all. However, people working in the climate change field often overlook Wikipedia as an outreach channel. Researchers typically focus on academic journals, and practitioners often communicate through specialist knowledge portals, publications and mailing lists.

However, with more than 20 billion pageviews every month and as one of the most visited websites on the internet, Wikipedia has significantly more reach and impact than any other climate change website or online knowledge portal. Wikipedia can be used to communicate information to a wider and more diverse audience. 

Our aim is to show that although editing Wikipedia can seem daunting at first, once you are familiar with the Wikipedia style and editing norms, it is relatively easy to contribute. 

We outline why, in an era of fake news, Wikipedia is a powerful vehicle for sharing more robust, verified climate change information, and making climate knowledge and the latest scientific findings more freely available to the public. 

We highlight the significant challenges Wikipedia faces in ensuring diversity both in terms of editors and contributions – with a notable lack of women editors and editors from the Global South. 

We advocate that more female editors and editors from developing countries are critical to make Wikipedia’s information more relevant, localised and representative of the ‘sum of human knowledge’. 

What the guide covers

  • Why Wikipedia is an important tool to communicate climate change information
  • Why researchers and specialists should use Wikipedia to boost the impact of their work 
  • The climate change information that already exists on the platform, as well as gaps and opportunities for sharing new content
  • How Wikipedia ensures its content is reliable and trustworthy
  • Simple explanations of how Wikipedia works 
  • Step-by-step guidance on how to get started with editing and creating articles 
  • How to get involved with the Wikipedia editing community
  • How to organise your own online or face-to-face Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thon’
    (Edit-a-thons are where a group of people come together, in person or virtually, to edit Wikipedia on a particular topic and can be a good way to improve the quality of information and encourage people to become long-term contributors.)

Join our online edit-a-thon, Wiki4Climate

Sign up here to join Wiki4Climate, a week of editing climate change topics on Wikipedia, from 24 November – 1 December 2020. The event is open to anyone with an interest in climate change, and a desire to improve Wikipedia content or share information.

Photo: Volunteers editing Wikipedia articles about the Sustainable Development Goals during the Arab Sustainable Development Week in Cairo, November 2019 (UN Women/Emad Karim via Flickr)

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact cdkn@southsouthnorth.org