EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon

Arianna Piccialli1, Camelia Boban2, Anita Heward3, Karolien Lefever1, Ann Carine Vandaele1, Marina Molla4, Lena Noack5, and Victoria Pearson6
Arianna Piccialli et al.
  • 1Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Planetary Aeronomy, Uccle, Brussels, Belgium (
  • 2WikiDonne User Group
  • 3Europlanet Society
  • 49th primary School of Komotini, Greece
  • 5Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 6Open University, UK


Wikipedia is an open source, web-based encyclopedia, allowing anonymous and registered users to create, edit and improve articles. A survey in 2018 showed that as many as 90% of Wikipedia's editors were male and as many as 81% of contributors were from the Global North [1].  

In addition, there are fewer contributions about women, especially in STEM fields, and they are usually less developed [2]. In October 2014, only 15.53% of English Wikipedia's biographies were about women [3]. The WikiProject Women in Red was founded in July 2015 with the objective to address this gender bias in Wikipedia content. They succeeded in increasing the above-mentioned percentage to 18.71% as of 11 January 2021 [2].

Today, Wikipedia is within the 20 most popular websites [4] and every month it attracts more than 1 billion unique visitors [5]. Wikipedia therefore has a huge potential to change publics perception of who is doing science and what a scientist ‘looks’ like.

(Women) planetary scientists on Wikipedia?

In June 2020, there were only 189 planetary scientist biographies on the English Wikipedia, including 48 biographies of female planetary scientists (25%). This percentage is in agreement with the percentage of women in the International Astronomical Union from all ESA’s Member States (24%) [6], but planetary scientists are clearly underrepresented on Wikipedia. Many of them either do not have a Wikipedia biography yet, or if they do, they are often misclassified under the category of “astronomers” or “astrophysicists”.

A Planetary Sciences Edit-a-thon    

The Diversity Committee of the Europlanet Society aims to highlight diversity within the planetary science community. Therefore, they organised, in collaboration with Women in Red and WikiDonne, the first Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2020 [7]. An Edit-a-thon (‘edit marathon’) is an organized event where editors from an online community (such as Wikipedia in this case) write, translate and improve articles on a specific topic [2]. Thirty persons received a basic editing training, resulting in 1 new article and 5 translated ones. A small subgroup still meets every month to continue the project.




[3] Eduardo Graells-Garrido, Mounia Lalmas, Filippo Menczer, "First Women, Second Sex: Gender Bias in Wikipedia", arXiv, 9 February 2015, p. 3.

[4] " Traffic, Demographics and Competitors". Retrieved October 1, 2019.


[6] Piccialli A., et al., Participation of women scientists in ESA Solar System missions: a historical trend, Adv. Geosci., 53, 169–182,, 2020.


How to cite: Piccialli, A., Boban, C., Heward, A., Lefever, K., Vandaele, A. C., Molla, M., Noack, L., and Pearson, V.: EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7982,, 2021.


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