Wikiversity talk:Review board

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Latest comment: 12 years ago by Hillgentleman in topic The Udacity Model


Original Research is a venture being considered for Wikiversity. This would allow members to post unverified data they had collected themselves in the form of a formal research project.

As outlined at User:Xenon/Research, the main issues with publishing original research are ethical considerations and inaccurate or falsified data. One solution to this is to have a group of community-approved users tasked to manually verify each research project and deal with them individually.

There is not necessarily a need to "approve" original research projects before they are considered "published" on Wikiversity - all members would be able to post the research, and the review board would help the community make sure that research projects are conducted according to Wikiversity research guidelines.

The Review Board would be made up of "Referees" - Wikiversity members nominated then accepted by the community in a similar manner to how Custodians are selected.

Referees would be responsible for:

  • Making sure all original research is marked with the appropriate template
  • Making sure all original research follows the Research Guidelines
  • Making sure all original research that is ethically questionable has official IRB approval
  • Making sure data in original research is not manipulated after posting

Referees are not Custodians - they do not have the privileges to deal with breaches in the guidelines, beyond editing the research article. Referees would request that Custodians take action where necessary. However, Referees may become Custodians, and vice versa.

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I do not like the term "referee"; I do not think it reflects the function of a review board. Additionally, I am concerned that members of review boards may not be equipped to review research not within their speciality. What is appropriate for Psychology, English, History, or Math is entirely different, and specialists within each field would be the only ones effectively capable of reviewing research conducted in such fields. Jade Knight 02:58, 21 February 2007 (UTC)Reply

I agree that "referee" is not optimum, but I'm not sure what would be better, just "review board member"? The term "referee" was selected with an eye to the future when it might be possible to have a formal peer review system (see Wikiversity:Research guidelines/En#Towards Wiki publishing) within Wikiversity. I agree that expert knowledge is usually most effective in a narrow subject area. The ultimate goal is to have multiple experts in each of many subject areas, but we have to start where we are, which is a relatively small community doing its best. --JWSchmidt 05:20, 21 February 2007 (UTC)Reply
At the moment, this seems to be an issue of semantics. However, I imagine that for example our "referee" must have good communication skills. Maybe we should draw up a list of what qualities a referee should be like? --HappyCamper 19:46, 10 March 2007 (UTC)Reply
Sounds like a good idea! BTW, I'd call referees "experts", "Peers", "moderators", "tutors" or even "Facilitators" over "referees". I particularly like the term "advisor", especially if it is used in conjunction with their area(s) of expertise. Jade Knight 09:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)Reply

Has a Review Board been set up on any wikiversity project? --Bduke 07:54, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply

I'm pretty sure there has never been an Ethics Review Board at the English Wikiversity. Instead, there are irregular discussions at the Colloquium, at the Community Review, at Requests for Deletion, and on individual User Talk pages. Historically, the governing authority has resided in Jimbo Wales, who has (at least twice in recent history) summarily and personally deleted projects, declaring them "beyond the scope" of WMF-sponsored content. On both occasions, his intervention caused quite a stir, disrupting and destabilizing the project (perhaps to the point of schism). Moulton 10:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply
Well, I think something like it is needed on the English Wikiversity. I'll try to find time to promote it. --Bduke 11:58, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply
Bduke, To put your question in a right perspective one needs to understand the ecology of Wikiversity. You need to understand Wikiversity is small enough that even the active members of the full community would be smaller than the team of arbitrators and their clerks in Wikipedia. That is to say, at the moment, we don't need to elect a review board to represent us because we are small enough to do it directly and still have a meaningful conversation. I have seen only one occasion where the small group of bureaucrats, under stress, made a decision for Wikiversity, and that turned out to be highly controversial and not necessarily the best solution. The idea of a review board is one for the future; at the moment it is not yet ripe and there are still unresolved issues. Wikiversity will need a review board in the future, but that requires a lot of preparation, like verification of real life academic credentials, and for it to work it should be allowed to evolve naturally and not imposed arbitrarily. <Hillgentleman| ~ | > 13:07, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply
OK, I understand that. I have been around here for a long time, but not at all active recently. I would however like to see it progressed, slowly and carefully, but let us do that on the English WV. --Bduke 22:25, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply
Planning for an English Language Wikiversity research review board can take place at the Review Board page of that wiki website. --JWSchmidt 14:14, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply

The Udacity Model[edit]

There are currently two major wiki-based faculty-led endeavours of free online learning on the USA - udacity link which evolved from the AI course taught by Norvik and Thrun, and the coursera linkwhich evolved from other Stanford online courses (e.g. Machine Learning taught by Andrew Ng and Database taught by Jennifer Widom.

Udacity, although smaller, has been particularly active in engaging the students, e.g. organising student research projects, or even providing a digitally signed letter of accomplishment.

Here is a letter I just received from the faculty of the class CS 262. I hope they don't mind my reproducing it here.

Make the World a Better Place


A number of students have asked about how they can help improve the state of the art or become involved in computer science research. This week we have posted a special "Research Request" video inviting you to spend 15 to 30 minutes growing the body of human knowledge. In professional software engineering, more time is spent reading code than writing it – but although understanding code has a huge economic impact, we do not have a formal model of what makes code readable. The best research study of code readability involves only 100 participants. I think that the students taking Udacity's on-line courses -- you -- can definitely outdo that!

No expertise or familiarity is required -- in fact, we need both experts and novices. We'll show you a few code snippets in your web browser, and you click to rate them based on your personal tastes. The study is completely anonymous: neither participating in it nor ignoring it will influence your Udacity grades or certificates in any way. You can see an explanatory video here [1] and you can participate here . I will personally appreciate it if you will take 15 - 30 minutes to help us out, but I quite understand if you don't have the time.

On a more informal note, a number of students have asked for more songs or a bit more levity, and I have agreed to sing whatever you all like most (be it Bollywood show tunes, Mandarin love songs or American folk music – anything) if we get enough participants. Cast your vote: link .

(Fine print: This research study has IRB (human subjects panel) approval as well as Udacity approval.)

Thank you! Wes and Peter

- <Hillgentleman| ~ | > 00:09, 18 May 2012 (UTC)Reply