Wikibomb event raises profile of ANU Antarctic scientists

Tuesday 30 August 2016
Nerilie Abram at the Australian ice core laboratories in Hobart. Credit: Oliver Berlin

The Women in Antarctica Wikibomb was launched at the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) meeting in Kuala Lumpur this month.  This was designed to raise the profile of female scientists in Antarctica.

As part of the event some 93 Wikipedia profiles were created, and another 20 existing profiles were improved on.

The Wikibomb will, it is hoped, provide a new focus on these scientists and the contribution they have made to Antarctic science.

Dr Jan Strugnell, a marine biologist, and Thomas Schaffee, a Wikipedia specialist from LaTrobe University cordinated a team of 27 volunteers from around the world to research, write, and upload the biographies.

Dr Strugnell said it was important that senior women scientists were visible to younger female scientists, so that they understood that careers in science were possible. She said some 60% of early career Antarctic researchers are women, with strong reputations in the scientific community, but only about 10% of awards, prizes and papers at scientific conferences were presented to, or given by, women.

“A greater online presence of female Antarctic science role models is important and long overdue,” Dr Strugnell said.

Some 18 women from Australia have now been profiled through the Wikibomb. These include Nerilie Abram (improved profile) and Liz Truswell (new profile) from RSES.

The Wikibomb has recieved international media attention. You can read more about it at Nature, from the ABC, and from the Australian Antarctic Division.

There is a rumour that following the Wikibomb there are now more Antarctic women than men on Wikipedia!

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