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Editorial Collaboration Networks of Wikipedia Articles in Various Languages

Takashi Iba, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan, Ko Matsuzuka, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan, Daiki Muramatsu, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan,

This paper focuses on open collaboration behind the articles of Wikipedia using network analysis. Wikipedia offers any user, from anywhere in the world, at any time, without bias in control, to edit any article, as much as wanted. In such environment, where the open in the word: open collaboration has been pushed to its extremes, the collaboration continues to bewilder us. This paper presents overviews of the collaboration patterns for editing articles in Wikipedias written in various languages. Our previous study (Iba & Itoh, 2009; Itoh & Iba, 2009; Iba et. al., 2009) proposed a technique to take an overview of collaboration patterns as networks and analyzed featured articles in English Wikipedia and Japanese Wikipedia; as a result, we found a common feature in the collaboration networks. In addition, another existing study (Nemoto & Gloor 2010) analyzed the cultural differences of Wikipedia collaboration among various languages, focusing on discussion behind each article. However, the characteristics of collaboration patterns of all articles in a certain language are still unrevealed. Also, the commonality and differences of collaboration patterns among Wikipedias written in various languages has not been analyzed so far. Set against this backdrop, we analyze the collaboration network by visualizing the collaboration in each article as a sequential collaboration network. In this visualization, networks are built by connecting each editor by edits in a sequential order (Iba & Itoh, 2009; Itoh & Iba, 2009; Iba et. al., 2009), where the node represents an editor, and edge represents the sequential editorial activity. Such method allows comprehending the highly complex activity in the open collaboration behind articles without excluding a single editor, or edit. In the past, we were able to see the presence of highly active editors from the pool of such editors for each article, by using the same method, analyzing the average path length of the network. The second factor, the number of editors, is analyzed by the number of nodes in the network of each article. We have analyzed these characteristics in the English, German, Japanese, and Vietnamese Wikipedias using network analysis so far. As we plotted each article in each version in scatter plots, we discovered that although the scale of editors and the average path length was different, all four Wikipeidas showed a similar characteristic. A specific characteristic that appeared in the three Wikipedias was a peak concerning the average path lengths of articles. The average path length grew longer as the amount of editors increased, but after the amount of editors reached a certain peak, the average path length gradually decreased. A proportional increase in the average path length and the amount of editors is understandable; the higher the amount of users, the longer the average path length. Yet it is bewildering to see the highly populated articles to have shorter average path lengths than those with fewer editors.

In addition, we have also found a difference in the collaborative patterns depending on the quality of the article. As we plotted all the articles, we differentiated featured articles by plotting them in a different color. To our surprise, we found that although they were positioned amongst the ordinary articles, they were present only in a certain area. To be specific, featured articles had rather shorter average path lengths amongst the articles, and articles that have longer average path lengths were not featured. Moreover, the same decrease in the average path lengths of higher populated articles, as mentioned above, also appeared in the featured articles. Thus, in this paper, we report the results the collaboration networks in all articles of various Wikipedias reveal, and the characteristics of collaboration this paper introduces a unique interpretation of open collaboration never done before. The similarities of collaboration the Wikipedias show, and the effects of highly active users upon the productivity will add to the views of understanding open collaboration, as well as open doors to even more perspectives.

References Iba, T. & Itoh, S. (2009). "Sequential Collaboration Network of Open Collaboration," in International Workshop and Conference on Network Science '09. Itoh, S. & Iba, T. (2009). "Analyzing Collaboration Network of Editors in Japanese Wikipedia," in International Workshop and Conference on Network Science '09. Iba, T., Nemoto, K., Peters, B. & Gloor, P. (2009) "Analyzing the Creative Editing Behavior of Wikipedia Editors Through Dynamical Social Network Analysis", in Collaborative Innovation Networks Conference 2009 Nemoto, K. & Gloor, P. Analyzing Cultural Differences in Collaborative Innovation Networks by Analyzing Editing Behavior in Different-Language Wikipedias in Collaborative Innovation Networks Conference 2010