The DCO Engagement Team is pleased to introduce Andrew Newell (pictured), a geophysicist at North Carolina State University, as the new DCO Wikipedia Visiting Scholar. Newell has long edited Wikipedia pages as a hobby and now brings his expertise to the DCO community to help improve the coverage of deep carbon science on Wikipedia.
As a DCO Wikipedia Visiting Scholar, Newell will create and improve Wikipedia pages relevant to DCO research and offer his expertise to interested DCO Wikipedians. He is excited to have a reason to devote time to this hobby while learning more about deep carbon research.
Newell has been a contributor to Wikipedia since 2010 and has made more than 28,500 edits to the site under the username RockMagnetist. In his day job, Newell develops theoretical models to determine how things become magnetized, so naturally, the first ever edit he made was to the page “Rock magnetism.” When he first visited the article, he was dismayed to see that it was only three sentences long. Many pages on scientific research topics have similar problems.
Editing Wikipedia science articles rarely comes with any financial compensation or professional recognition, but the act can have an outsized role in public outreach. “If you do a search on a subject, like geophysics for example, the first hit will be a Wikipedia article, unless there is no Wikipedia article on that subject,” said Newell. “A page like that will get read by half a million people per year, so it seems worthwhile to improve the information on it.”
In 2013, Newell became a Wikipedia administrator, after receiving a nomination in recognition of several high quality articles that he wrote on significant topics in his field. He has also earned eight “barnstars,” online banners given by fellow Wikipedians for noteworthy work.
So far, Newell has been editing pages for topics and scientists as they spark his interest (for example, see Robert Hazen’s page, before and in progress) but long-term, he hopes to make major improvements to important research topics, like diamonds, to ensure that they are updated and complete.
Image: Wikipedia Visiting Scholar Andrew Newell aims to help the DCO improve science coverage on Wikipedia.Credit: RockMagnetist (DCO visiting scholar) via Wikimedia Commons