Help:Adding open-license text to Wikipedia

Text on Wikipedia is added in one of two ways:
  1. Written by Wikipedia volunteers, using their own words to express the facts and ideas reported in the sources
  2. Copied from an external source whose copyright status is compatible with Wikipedia's license.

Open license text which is available under a compatible license or in the public domain can be used to improve existing Wikipedia articles and create new ones.

Scope of this guide edit

This guide is about importing text that has been previously published with an open license, that is text previously unpublished in Wikimedia projects:

Reminder: if you are being paid to add text to Wikipedia please state this and list the articles you've contributed to on your user page. For more information please see Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure

Which licenses does Wikipedia accept? edit

Accepted licenses edit

Wikipedia accepts text available under these licenses. Acceptable licenses include:

CC-BY-SA CC BY-SA versions 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0
CC BY, all versions and ports, up to, and including, 4.0
Work in the public domain is not "licensed" because it is not copyrighted. Wikipedia treats it similarly to CC0

Licenses not accepted edit

Among the licenses not acceptable for text in Wikipedia are:

GNU Free Documentation License or any other GNU-only license
Text added to Wikipedia under an incompatible license is a copyright violation; if you find text under an incompatible license on Wikipedia please:
  1. Remove the text and attribution from the article, either by reverting to the version before it was inserted (being careful not to lose any other work on the article), or by deleting the text.
  2. Rewrite the text in your own words and avoid close paraphrasing, which may create a derivative work.

Finding open license text to add to Wikipedia edit

There are many open access sources covering a wide range of subjects which are catalogued by the The Wikipedia Library including:

Open Access

There are also Wikiprojects working on the reuse of free content on Wikipedia and the adoption of Open Access:

Which sources work well?

The best open access text to add to Wikipedia include:

  • Literature reviews or surveys
  • Encyclopedic or tertiary source materials
  • Reports which survey or summarize known information about a topic or field

Try to avoid works which:

  • Are secondary sources, or sections within sources which focus on the author's analysis or conclusions.
  • Focuses on novel or unusual opinions about a topic; remember Wikipedia is about focusing on established, shared knowledge about topics.
  • Principally focus on persuasion or argumentation; thought sections of the work may appear neutral in tone, Wikimedia tries to include balance as well as neutrality and sources focused on persuasion frequently omit contrary perspectives.

Converting and adding open license text to Wikipedia edit

The process for adding open license text to Wikipedia can be broken down into the following steps:

Copy: Add the text from the open license source into Wikipedia.
Edit: Correct any formatting issues with the text, add headings and subheadings, change any wording not suitable for Wikipedia and add links to other articles.
Adapt the style:You may need to adapt the layout and the style and tone of the writing. The first sentence of an article must be a definition of the subject. The text must also follow Wikipedia's three core content policies of neutral point of view, verifiability and no original research. When integrating other sources, it is very important to distinguish opinions and interpretations made by the original author from verifiable content that has a neutral point of view. To do this, you may have to refocus the text on surveying the topic, remove interpretations and attributing points of view within the work. Attributing points of view can be done b adding citations to either the source text or its references, and by adding in-text attribution of these opinions e.g "According to [ORIGINAL AUTHOR], "[QUOTE]".
Add media: Add graphics from the source if they are available by uploading them to Wikimedia Commons where the license on the graphics allows. You can also add in tables to the article, if the table is in a PDF (Tabula may be helpful for such additions).
Add attribution: Attribute the text using the 'Free-content attribution' template in the 'Sources' section, as explained below.
Cite: Add the original source of the text as a reference at the end of every paragraph or more if required. If the text has references add them as citations in the article. If you are creating a new article add additional references from other reliable sources to establish the notability of the subject.
Link: Create links to the article from other Wikipedia pages in both the main text and in the 'See also' sections, also add hatnotes where needed. Use the find link tool to identify and create links to the article. Add categories and Wikiproject templates to the talk page.
Publish: Save the changes to the existing article or publish the new article.

Attributing text edit

There are two ways to attribute open license text in Wikipedia, either through the Visual editor or the Source editor. Text from multiple pages of the same source can be attributed at the same time using page numbers, when using text from more than one source please attribute separately.

Attributing open license text in Visual editor edit

  1. Copy and paste the open license text into a Wikipedia article.
  2. Create a section called Sources above the References section and click Insert on the editing toolbar and select Template.
  3. Paste Free-content attribution into the box, click the first option and then click add template
  4. Add the relevant information into the Title, Author, Publisher, Source, URL, License statement URL (if not stated within the document) fields and License (e.g. CC-BY-SA).
  5. Click Publish changes and add added open license text, see the Sources section for more information to the edit summary.

Attributing open license text in Source Editor edit

  • Copy and paste the open license text into a Wikipedia article.
  • Create a Sources section above the References section and paste in:
{{Free-content attribution|
| title = <!-- The title of the work -->
| author = <!-- The author of the work -->
| publisher = <!-- The publisher of the work -->
| source= <!-- The source of the work if not from the publisher or the author -->
| documentURL = <!-- The URL of the work -->
| License statement URL = <!-- The URL of the license statement of the work if not included within the document -->
| license = <!-- The license of the work -->
  • Fill in the relevant fields, the text between the <!-- --> is simply for guidance, it will not appear
  • Add added open license text, see the Sources section for more information to the edit summary and click Publish changes.

Measuring reach edit

Tools are available to measure the number of page views Wikipedia articles receive that use text from a range of external sources e.g. a website, a section of a website, a specific URL or a publication:

A small number of articles edit

To measure the page views for a small number of Wikipedia pages where it is known text from a source has been used simply use the Pageviews tool and enter the names of the articles into the Pages field (you can click on the x next to the name of an article to remove it from the graph).

A larger number of articles edit

To measure page views of all articles using text from a source use the Massviews Analysis Tool:

  1. Open the Massviews Analysis Tool.
  2. Chose the Dates you would like to measure.
  3. Change the Source to Search.
  4. Set the site to
  5. Depending on whether you want results from one source or multiple sources:
    1. One source: In the search field add hastemplate:"Free-content attribution" insource:"NAMEOFSOURCE" (including the quote marks), replacing NAMEOFSOURCE with the source you are searching for. E.g. if you would like to measure the page views of articles that reuse text from UNESCO enter hastemplate:"Free-content attribution" insource:"" which will return this result.
    2. Multiple sources: In the search field add hastemplate:"Free-content_attribution"_insource:/SOURCE1|SOURCE2|SOURCE3/ (including the quote marks), replacing SOURCE1, SOURCE2 and SOURCE3 with the sources you would like to search for. You may search for as many sources as you want, simply continue to separate each query with a | symbol. The only limitations are that the SOURCE cannot include a / symbol (searching for web addresses can be done by finding a unique part of the URL and searching for that) and the queries are limited to 300 characters. For example if you would like to measure the page views of articles that reuse text from a series of UNESCO PDFs (using only name of the PDF rather than the whole URL) enter hastemplate:"Free-content_attribution" insource:/244756e.pdf|232555e.pdf/ which will return this result.
  6. Click Submit, to receive your results, you should receive a page that looks like this example showing text used on English languages Wikipedia from UNESCO.
  7. The data can be viewed as either a list or a chart and can be downloaded as either a csv or json file, you can also create a permalink (permanent link) to easily access the results again. If you want to set up a URL to a query that will always return results for the past 30 days, simply select last month in the date selection options.

Share your content on Wikipedia edit

Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world and receives over 15 billion page views per month. If you would like to make text or any other content available on Wikipedia you can learn how to license and label your work (website, publication etc.) on the Creative Commons website here, the licenses Wikipedia accepts are listed above.

To help people learn about text you have made available under an open license, you can contact a Wikiproject that works on that subject or your local Wikimedia organisation. They will help to get it reused. If you have a specific article in mind that could use the text you can write on the article talk page. To contact a Wikiproject or writing on an article talk page:

  1. Create an account
  2. Select the relevant article. Click on a talk page. (located at the top of any Wikipedia article)
  3. Click New Section
  4. Write a message to give details about the text, then provide a link to the web address where it may be found.

Tools are available to measure reuse and reach of your content and are described above.