Women in science: Look them up on Wikipedia


Wikipedia is often derided for its inaccuracies, yet there’s no denying its influence. The crowd-sourced encyclopedia’s articles are often the top-ranking results in Web searches, and the absence or presence of a Wikipedia page is often seen as a marker of someone’s prominence. So when articles about important female scientists are fragmentary — or simply nonexistent — these researchers unfairly miss out on the credit they’re due.

Wisely, Brown University biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling is trying to remedy that. Recently, she hosted an “edit-a-thon” to write or flesh out articles about important female scientists on Wikipedia who weren’t receiving the attention they deserved on the site. Fausto-Sterling first realized there was a problem, she told the Globe, when she saw that an article on groundbreaking science historian Margaret Rossiter was only two sentences long. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. The article now goes into detail about Rossiter’s life and her academic concentrations.

Fausto-Sterling has set a good precedent through her concerted efforts to fill in the gaps, and others should follow suit.

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