Wikiversity Journal was accepted as a user group of Wikimedia on June 1, 2016. This article therefore summarizes its activity and future prospects.
Wikiversity Journal User Group allows contributions to the Wikimedia movement in a format that scholars are more accustomed to, academic publishing. Additionally the resulting articles are assigned standardized reference formats, making it easier for external scientific sources to build upon and cite Wikimedia works. What separates the Wikiversity Journal from the many other open access publications is that it offers both peer review and publication at no cost.
The idea of launching a scientific journal as part of Wikimedia is not completely new. In 2009 a proposal for creating such a journal was made. Wikiversity Journal was officially started on March 25, 2014, with the creation of the Wikiversity Journal of Medicine main webpage. Three days later, Wikiversity Journal of Medicine was registered by the National Library of Sweden and assigned an International Standard Serial Number. Two weeks later, the journal became a member of CrossRef, which assigns Digital Object Identifier (DOI) codes to published articles, serving as permanent links from external sites. Before inclusion in the Wikiversity Journal of Medicine, articles need to have at least one peer review by a medical expert. The quality of the peer review is weighted when the editorial board makes the final decision on including an article in the journal. Readers can edit published articles after publication, but all edits are frequently monitored and disruptions have not occurred.
The first editorial board of Wikiversity Journal of Medicine was formed in January 2015 and included among others Dr. Mikael Häggström, the journal's founder, and Dr James Heilman, former president of WikiProject Medicine Foundation and ex-member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. There are currently 16 articles published by the journal, including for example imaging of early embryos, an extensive medical gallery including cardiology, neurology, dermatology, biochemistry and endocrinology as well as an article on historical epidemiology by American doctor, epidemiologist, and author John S. Marr.
Wikiversity Journal of Medicine abides by several international journal guidelines:
The journal articles are indexed by Google Scholar. It is a future prospect of the journal to be indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed, a major database of scholarly literature. However, a greater number of articles are needed before the journal can become eligible for MEDLINE indexing, so there is still a lot of work to do.
Wikiversity Journal User Group is intended to eventually include several journals, covering various fields of study. Coverage beyond the field of medicine came with the creation of a physics journal (created by Prof Guy Vandegrift).
There are also ideas for Wikiversity Journal to become a separate Wikimedia project. After all, Wikiversity Journal is about making peer reviewed content freely available online, which is somewhat different in scope from Wikiversity which is primarily focused on teaching and learning.
The main site for updates about Wikiversity Journal of Medicine is at Talk:Wikiversity Journal of Medicine, and the journal also has a Twitter page and a Facebook page for community interaction – please follow us to keep updated with developments – and contributions are most welcome.
Having the journal accepted as a User group is one step forward for Wikiversity Journal, with still lots of work ahead.
Help is particularly appreciated with the following tasks:
- Publishing of additional articles in any of the journals. More articles will attract more readers, and eventually more contributors to the project.
- Peer review of future article submissions, wherein those interested can sign up at the corresponding pages:
- Outreach to potential article authors. For example, many scholars have written theses that are not published, but could very well fit as an article. Also, the project can be presented to students, such as participants in wikiedu.org. Students are often required to complete a research project as a part of their studies, and these journals provide them a potential means of getting their projects published.
- Review of existing publications. This does not require credentials in the subject, since an expert has reviewed the works before. Anyone may edit articles even after publication, but such edits are monitored daily.
- Translation of journal pages into other languages. Wikiversity currently exists in multiple languages (Čeština, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, 한국어, Português, Slovenščina, Suomi, Svenska, Ελληνικά, Русский, العربية, 日本語), so availability of Wikiversity Journal User Group content in several of these platforms would increase usage and activity.