During my PhD, I developed a new microscopy technique and soon I will submit a major paper presenting the work. I am now in the job market looking for postdocs, not necessarily in the same field where I did my PhD work.

Would it be a good idea to make a Wikipedia page on the technique I developed? Would it be perceived as a signal that I have no good science to show (I don't think so)? Thanks!

  • 6
    Does your technique meet the requirements for a Wikipedia page?
    – user2768
    Apr 13 '17 at 12:34
  • 1
    Wikipedia articles require sources which prove the statements made in the article. If you already have publications/sources you can cite, Wikipedia may approve your article. But I have no idea about the academic impacg of a Wikipedia articles. Apr 13 '17 at 12:36
  • 4
    In terms of having comprehensible, google-able information about your technique? Yes. In terms of putting it on your CV or otherwise getting personal credit? No.
    – Luigi
    Apr 13 '17 at 12:39
  • 7
    You can't make a Wikipedia page until the material is published anyway, because otherwise it would count as 'own research' with no citable sources. If you do make one if someone Googles your work the Wiki page will come up. It's up to you if you think that's a good thing or not.
    – gautampk
    Apr 13 '17 at 12:40
  • 9
    Trying to build your reputation is bad motivation for creating a Wikipedia article. Typically, such attempts result in much drama on Wikipedia. Keep in mind that anybody can (and will) edit a Wikipedia article.
    – Roland
    Apr 13 '17 at 17:10

Would it be a good idea to make a Wikipedia page on the technique I developed?

No. In the best case scenario (which is also the most likely one in my opinion), one of the Wikipedia editors will delete the page you created, since there are not yet any published papers about the technique you developed so it doesn't even come close to satisfying Wikipedia's notability criteria (which probably wouldn't be satisfied even long after your paper is published, unless your discovery is truly groundbreaking and ends up being cited and used by many people).

In a less ideal scenario, your article won't be deleted. That would be even worse, because anyone who happens on this page will immediately know that you created it, and will conclude that you are some combination of:

  1. Someone with a highly inflated and unrealistic opinion of the value of his work.

  2. Someone who is clueless about the value a scientific work needs to have in order to deserve having a Wikipedia page about it.

  3. Someone who is obsessed with self-promotion to a very unhealthy extent that is an extreme outlier in academia (and frankly has no place in academia in my personal opinion).

Would it be perceived as a signal that I have no good science to show (I don't think so)?

No, but it won't signal that you do have good science, and it would signal several other things about you, none of which are good -- see above.

  • Thanks for the honest answer. Now I feel stupid for having created a page on the page my technique derives from, and having emailed the mastermind about it.
    – albus_c
    Apr 14 '17 at 9:21
  • Albus, most likely you shouldn't feel stupid about that. Wikipedia's core principles encourage you to "be bold" in doing anything you think will improve the encyclopedia. Either you have genuinely made Wikipedia better, or if you didn't, it's no big deal. I think Dan's answer is exaggerated, most people will simply think nothing of it one way or the other; I have been working with academics and Wikipedia for ~10 years, and I assure you most are not sure what to think. Demonstrating familiarity with how it works is not likely to be a BIG plus, but it might spark an interesting conversation. Feb 22 '19 at 23:18

No, it would not be advisable to create a Wikipedia page solely devoted to the new technique. If you are one of the sole people responsible for the technique and its development, you run the risk of creating a conflict of interest. Even without that issue, a new technique likely has few published sources to support it, so you will have difficulty establishing notability. Without additional support from reliable sources, your new page may be deleted.

Luckily, there are numerous other options for promoting your work in laymen-friendly ways. It may be feasible (and may even provide better visibility of your work, even to prospective employers) to write a few blog entries about the approach, produce a short Youtube video about it, or even a dedicated wiki, if you see the technique undergoing changes or optimizations in the near future.

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