User:Wiki at Royal Society John/Conflict of Interest statement

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I am Wikipedian in Residence at the Royal Society, the National Academy for the sciences of the UK, as a "pilot" excercise, running between January and early July 2014. I am salaried (main funding by Wikimedia UK) on the basis that I work one day per week, so I have a potential conflict of interest with articles to do with the Royal Society, of which there are many, with over 4,000 Fellows having biographies. My job description does not include editing Wikipedia as such, rather encouraging others to do so.

I am keen to receive comments on this from the community, and want to go on to submit a COI editing policy for RS staff to the community for discussion, that can be adopted by the RS.

General policy[edit]

My personal policy to address this COI issue is that I will generally avoid editing Royal Society and closely related articles such as those on the Society's journals, reports and officers. Any exceptions will only be cautious changes and corrections that I believe are wholly uncontentious. For example this, in fact my only edit to the main article since joining the Royal Society, though these changes, mostly updating information, were made by RS staff as part of a training session in editing - all had declared their own COI as RS staff on the user pages, and I added a specific talk page disclosure after the edits.

Where I am aware that articles on subjects closely related to the RS may be incorrect or lack neutrality in more subjective respects, I will raise the matter on the talk page before making any edits. I will also do this where I believe that any article would be improved by using Royal Society sources such as articles in their journals or the reports they publish. Even if there is no response, I will be generally cautious before making any changes to the actual article, and will be careful that any changes I do make fully meet WP:Neutrality.

I will be careful to make any edits potentially involving COI with my RS role using my User:Wiki at Royal Society John account rather than my usual one of User:Johnbod. This does not apply to Wikipedia space pages internal to the project such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Royal Society, or this page, which I edit with either account. My role is prominently disclosed on both user pages.

Biographies of Fellows[edit]

For Fellows of the Royal Society who are not officers, I may make some uncontentious edits, for example updating articles for fellows who have died recently (example), something I receive internal notification of.


At the subject's request, I helped to put John Postgate (microbiologist) up, mainly using his text. I have asked at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Microbiology#Request_for_COI_review_of_John_Postgate_.28microbiologist.29 for someone to look it over, and have noted this at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard. At the moment I think it (deliberately) understates the significance of his scientific work. I also put together Postgate family from the many biographies we already had. Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 23:54, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Links or refererences in text to Royal Society Reports[edit]

I will suggest these on the talk page before adding anything to the article.


  • Hello! I am also a Wikipedian in Residence and I wonder about my own conflict of interest at the United States-based Consumer Reports. I do not have a plan to address every conflict of interest concern, but something which I have proposed to prevent problems is that Wikipedians in Residence should seek to remain in communication about their activities with a group of Wikipedians. Perhaps this could be with a local Wikimedia chapter or any group of Wikipedians with subject matter interest in the WiR's field. I drafted ideas for this at meta:outreach review. I think that this kind of review is merited because WiRs are disproportionately influential in creating a public image of the Wikimedia community, and because they the good reputation of the Wikimedia community in their work, the Wikimedia community has a right to some oversight in what the WiR does. I like that you say that you have a relationship with Wikimedia UK, because to me this indicates that they have a stake in giving you the support you need to do good things in alignment with Wikimedia community values. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:47, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Noting this. Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 12:51, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
  • And this Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 22:19, 30 June 2014 (UTC)