From HandWiki
Logo of HandWiki Encyclopedia of science and computing.svg
Logo of HandWiki Encyclopedia
Handwiki org screenshot2019.png
HandWiki homepage, 2019
Type of site
Online encyclopedia
Available inEnglish
 United States
Created by S.V.Chekanov
Alexa rankNegative increase 180,000 global
RegistrationYes (Required to edit pages, via request of account)
LaunchedOct 20, 2019
Current statusActive
Content license
CC BY-SA 3.0

HandWiki [1] [2] [3] [4] is an internet Wiki-style encyclopedia for professional researchers in various branches of science and computer science. As other Wiki type encyclopedias, HandWiki is designed for collaborative editing of articles.

Unlike the traditional Wikipedia that uses the categories concept for all articles located in the main namespace, HandWiki uses dedicated namespaces for each topic. This allows creation of "Books" or "Manual" by grouping articles under the same namespace. According to the Handwiki designers, this can simplify organization of articles according to particular topic. HandWiki has the following topics included in the dedicated namespaces: Mathematics, Computers, Analysis, Physics, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Unsolved. In addition to the categories preserved from Wikipedia, HandWiki has its own categories for original articles posted to HandWiki.

One notable feature of HandWiki is that it allows to collaborate in real-time on many types of documents (lectures, books, technical documents, etc.) with multiple authors. The text can be protected from viewing, and can only be available for groups of people working on the same project. HandWiki can be used to convert such articles to LaTeX and to use BibTeX for referencing. These two features are a significant advantage for preparing research articles for publication.

The HandWiki is designed using the MediaWiki software with additional extensions for inclusion of references to programming codes and BibTeX citations. Handwiki allows adding advertisements to the end of the articles. The advertising icons can be grouped according to the HandWiki topics.

HandWiki registration policy

Unlike Wikipedia, HandWiki does not allow anonymous editing. This is necessary for ensuring high quality of articles since the notability concept used for Wikipedia articles is removed. Login to HandWiki is restricted [5] to professional researchers after indicating an evidence of their qualifications. This is achieved by imposing the requirement that the HandWiki users should have at least one publication in peer-reviewed journals. On the technical side, this is enforced through providing the ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) number during the registration, which uniquely identifies scientific and other academic authors and contributors. As an alternative, a researcher can send an email to the support team indicating his/her published research article. HandWiki is supported via donations and membership fees that go to web services, documentation projects and user support.

Licenses of HandWiki articles

According to the HandWiki documentation [2], the registered users can create manuals and tutorials using different types of licenses. In particular, some articles (especially manuals and tutorials) posted on HandWiki may contain license restrictions imposed by their authors. However, all encyclopedic articles derived from Wikipedia, Everipedia and other public resources must have the same license as the original articles (typically, Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0). Articles imported from Wikipedia and other resources must contain links to the original source.

Technical features

Here is a list of notable technical features of HandWiki:

  • HandWiki organizes articles independently in topical portals ("namespaces") and categories, while Wikipedia organizes articles in categories only. This mitigates the problem of similar article titles for different topics, and removes Wikipedia's disambiguation . As the result, navigation in HandWiki is significantly simpler (and faster) than in Wikipedia.
  • Improved search engine (faster speed plus navigation in different namespaces)
  • Typing a word in the search window automatically suggests topics (see the top search bar)
  • HandWiki suggests existing articles when creating internal links
  • LaTeX friendly. One can cite articles using uploaded BibTeX files or importing citations from ArXiv.org
  • To encourage content sharing, HandWiki articles can be exported to ZWI files with Mediawiki, DokuWiki, LaTeX and HTML article versions (together with all images).
  • Code highlighting and equation parsing are done by JavaScript.
  • Uses MathJax that allows exporting equations and chemical formulas to the MathML and LaTeX format (see Help)
  • Integration with programming languages (Java and Python classes can be referenced inside articles)
  • Registered users can rate articles (in the scale from 1 to 5 stars)
  • External URL to define terms are allowed (unlike the traditional Wikipedia)

HandWiki supports Wikipedia templates, but only those which are best maintained (and used for more than 5 articles).

HandWiki is designed to place advertisements to cover the maintenance cost. The advertising matches the topic of the HandWiki portals. For the best reading experience of the articles, the advertising is located at the bottom of the articles.

Article acceptance policy

Handwiki covers all topics related to science, finance and computing, with the exception of Art, Politics, Books, Movies, Music, Religion and Sport. Links that reference such topics can point to external articles from Wikipedia, Everipedia and Citizendium. Topics related to books can be included if they are related to the science, computing and technology topics. Some topics related to religion can be covered in the existing namespaces, such as Philosophy, Social or Unknown.

HandWiki, in its original form [2], has a more permissive policy for acceptance of articles than Wikipedia. In particular, it does not enforce the Wikipedia notability for scholarly content. The quality of submitted articles is enforced by checking scholarly qualification of the editors during the registration. On the technical side, this is checked via the ORCID of the editors. As the result of this policy, this reduces the importance of the notability concept, which is compulsory for Wikipedia articles created by anonymous editors, and the dependence on paid "third-party" reviews.

There is one important requirement for article submissions to HandWiki: The submitted article should have at least one reference to an "external source", without a clear indication about the nature of this source. HandWiki does not have a super-user or administrator [6] who is in charge of removing articles depending on its content. The main idea behind this decision [6] is that the articles submitted by researches will be sufficiently scrutinized by other researches, and its mistakes and scientific rigor can easily be determined via collaborative discussions of qualified researches.

Dispute resolution

HandWiki articles are created through consensus of all users. Unlike other wiki encyclopedias, HandWiki does not have super-users who resolve disputes and create final versions of articles. After an article is created, it can be added to the "Watch list" (see the blue star at the top panel). In this case an email will be sent to the author about changes by other users. If the editors disagree, they can discuss articles in the "Discussion" page. In addition, authors can add their names directly at the bottom of articles using Author template, in which case the name always shown at the bottom of articles.

HandWiki provisions a mechanism for dealing with different opinions without resolving them by editors with administrative privileges. When a consensus is impossible, specially designed sections are used to express alternative opinions. Such sections will be embedded automatically in the body of the article, creating a well-formatted content extending the article. The sections without consensus can be edit-protected by persons who have alternative opinions. The protected sections will require verified name of the contributor. The editor name who created such sections will be automatically indicated at the top header of such boxes. A vote will be added to indicate the popularity of this opinion.


HandWiki was first announced [7] in October 2019 as a research encyclopedia for data science. The creation of HandWiki was triggered by several Limitations of Wikipedia for scholarly content. The main motivation was to mitigate Wikipedia's deletionism (also see the article deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia) for scholarly content, thus acknowledging the problem with the Wikipedia notability for wiki-style public resources that expose scientific knowledge (see also the article "Criticism of Wikipedia"). In October 2019, the project was carried out under the auspices of the members of the jWork portal led by S.V.Chekanov, who also set the policy for contributed articles. In October 2019, all HandWiki articles were original articles imported from the jWork.org Wiki, that had several thousand articles at that time.

The technical aspect of HandWiki was executed by S.Chekanov in 2019 following the standard data analysis principles [8]. In order to provide internal links for specific terms of the original jWork.org articles, a software algorithm was developed that analyzed the wiki text and imported the required definitions from Wikipedia articles. Later this algorithm was improved and dedicated namespaces were created. The algorithm that populates HandWiki from external sources and makes editorial changes was significantly improved by S.Chekanov during 2020. He also introduced several technical innovations for the Mediawiki software, such as a citation database that uses BibTeX and ArXiv.org, export to the ZWI file format, fast Mediawiki search engine (proprietorial). Some technical work related to HandWiki was carried out following discussions with Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia), Knowledge Standards Foundation (KSF) and Encyclosphere which have the goal of decentralizing the encyclopedic content of the Internet.


HandWiki is one of the largest specialized online encyclopedias on science, technology and computing. It is the number #3 world's largest wiki in terms of page counts[9]. HandWiki has more articles than English Wikipedia English Wikipedia for many specialized topics on science, computing and software. In October 2021, HandWiki had 990,576 articles on various scholarly topics. In addition to the original articles submitted to this resource, research articles are sourced from the current Wikipedia (about 80% of the HandWiki content), previous versions of Wikipedia, Deletionpedia and other public (non-wiki) resources. Most articles, unless stated otherwise, have the standard Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License. Many articles are imported from the current version of Wikipedia, as indicated in the footnotes attached to such articles. Studies focused on estimation of the number of articles dedicated to datascience indicate that total number of articles about software packages in HandWiki is about 10% larger than in Wikipedia [10].

HandWiki articles are synchronized with Wikipedia, but giving preference to local edits by registered users. The articles were reformatted by removing some standard Wikipedia templates, and all internal references were redesigned to include articles from different HandWiki namespaces. A fraction of articles was imported [2] from the previous versions of Wikipedia. HandWiki attempts to preserve Wikipedia articles were rejected by the Wikipedia editors because of the issues with the notability. In particular, HandWiki includes research articles from Deletionpedia and Wikipedia archive dumps [11].

In August 2020, about 15,200 scholarly articles permanently removed from Wikipedia in 2018-2019 were restored by the Handwiki team [12]. In 2018 and 2019, such articles did not pass the Wikipedia's notability. HandWiki also includes ordinal research articles and articles from other public resources after importing them to the MediaWiki format.

HandWiki documentation advises [6] to resubmit the HandWiki articles edited by professional researches back to Wikipedia, after such articles are sufficiently scrutinized on HandWiki, and can be inserted to Wikipedia following the Wikipedia policy.


  1. Official website. HandWiki. An online wiki encyclopedia dedicated to science and computing https://jwork.org/wiki/, Retrieved on Nov 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 HandWiki encyclopedia of datascience. DataScience central, Jan 2020, Article URL (retrieved on May 10, 2021)
  3. HandWiki.org – an encyclopedia for technicians. Career advice section, JobSearchUniverse.com, May 24, 2021, Article URL(retrieved on May 26, 2021).
  4. HandWiki — a new wiki encyclopedia for researches, by T.Smaltsar, Medium.com, Article Link (Retrieved June 2021).
  5. HandWiki acceptance policy. About HandWiki, Retrieved Nov 2019
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 HandWiki FAQ, HadWiki FAQ. Retrieved in Nov 2019]
  7. "Wikis for publishing scholarly articles on data science and software", By R.Riviera (Oct. 2019), Article, Data Science Central, October 2019
  8. "How to make you own Wiki from Wikipedia using Python", by S.Chekanov, Article, JWork.ORG (Retrieved in Nov 2019)
  9. List of largest wikis. Wikimedia.org (retrieved August 1, 2021)
  10. Comparing resources with software programs for data science, by S.Romanda (May 2021) Article URL (Retrieved on May 19, 2021)
  11. Wikimedia Downloads Historical Archives URL, Retrieved in Nov 2019
  12. Restored Wikipedia articles. Article URL (Retrieved in Sep 2020)

External links