This job ad has been posted over 40 days ago! (*)

Research Scientist (Disinformation) Full-time

Published at 2020-07-31 - Viewed: 2721 times - Wikimedia Foundation (Worldwide/Remote)


We’re hiring a Research Scientist strongly committed to the principles of free knowledge, open source and open data, transparency, privacy, and collaboration to join the Research team to conduct applied research on the integrity of content and disinformation in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. We’re accepting applications until August 31st with a start date by, or before, November 15th.

The surge of coordinated disinformation campaigns to infiltrate, disrupt, and co-opt movements, communities, and platforms is an important challenge for the integrity of the content in Wikimedia projects. At the same time, humans and machines rely on Wikipedia as a neutral arbiter of reliable information on the Web. Preserving the reliability of Wikipedia’s knowledge is therefore key in ensuring the integrity of the information propagating in the broader web.

You’ll work remotely with a distributed team, with members spread between Europe and North America. Here are some things we’ve worked on recently that might give you a better sense of what you could be working on:

Studying how content propagates across different Wikipedia languages, by predicting, given an article created in one language, what is the next language that will have the same article created.
Modeling content inconsistencies between Wikimedia projects by aligning Wikidata statements to sentences in Wikipedia articles through natural language processing techniques.
Designing algorithms to identify malicious actors such as sockpuppets, by detecting clusters of users behaving similarly.
Building a model to detect unsourced content in Wikipedia using machine learning, through neural network classifiers that can detect sentences needing citations based on their content. (paper)
Using qualitative methods to study Wikimedia communities and their patrolling techniques, to discover inner mechanisms of editor workflows to combat disinformation.
You can learn more about what we have done in the past six month by reading our biannual report.

You will be responsible for:

Contributing to the three directions of the team: addressing knowledge gaps on the Wikimedia projects, supporting the Wikimedia volunteers in improving content integrity, and building a more global community of Wikimedia researchers with a particular focus on improving content integrity and disinformation
Collaborating with other researchers, Wikimedia volunteers, and teams within the Wikimedia Foundation, including Legal, Trust and Safety, and Security teams to define disinformation and content integrity related research projects
Designing and executing experiments to collect labeled data, large-scale data analysis and/or modeling and evaluation of machine learning methods
Discussing, documenting and communicating the process and results of your research publicly
Actively engaging in a collaborative, consensus-oriented environment and as part of a globally-distributed team and organization
Elevating the importance of critical open research questions as well as nurturing and growing the global network of Wikimedia researchers
Providing research consulting to the teams in the Wikimedia Foundation, affiliates, and the Wikimedia volunteers

Skills and experience:

PhD or MSc degree plus 1-2 years of related work experience in computer science, statistics, or related technical fields; PhD degree highly preferred
Strong experience in Machine Learning and at least one of the following fields: Natural Language Processing, Algorithm Design, Social Network Analysis, HCI, Behavioral/ Experimental Economics, Computational Social Science; experience with disinformation research highly preferred.
Programming experience in Python, Scala, or C++
Experience with Hadoop and any of the following related technologies: HDFS, YARN, MapReduce, Hive, Spark, etc.
Contributions to research communities and research initiatives including publishing in relevant conferences and journals, organizing academic workshops
Strong written and oral communication skills in English, including the ability to communicate complex technical issues to a cross-team and cross-functional audience

Qualities that are important to us:

Commitment to the mission of the organization and our values
Commitment to our guiding principles
Ability to disagree in a respectful manner and yet work towards a solution even when you disagree
Good at async communication
Solutions-focused. The Wikimedia ecosystem is complex, resources are limited, and our guiding principles are ambitious. We want you to work to find solutions embracing these factors.
Self motivated with an Ability to navigate through ambiguity and bring a project to completion with limited directions
Curiosity and commitment to learn

Additionally, we’d love it if you have:

Relevant work experience in the field of disinformation, in academia or industry
Experience with large-scale experiments in online platforms
Experience with mixed methods research
A strong record of scholarly publications
Experience as a program committee member, senior program committee member, track chair, or editor in related conferences and journals
Experience with tools such as Spark, Flink, Hive, Kafka
Deep knowledge of the Wikimedia ecosystem and the working of the projects and/or experience with volunteer or open source communities

The Wikimedia Foundation is…

…the nonprofit organization that hosts and operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge, free of interference. We host the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501©(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

As an equal opportunity employer, the Wikimedia Foundation values having a diverse workforce and continuously strives to maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace. We encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. We do not discriminate against any person based upon their race, traits historically associated with race, religion, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy or related medical conditions, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics.

If you are a qualified applicant requiring assistance or an accommodation to complete any step of the application process due to a disability, you may contact us at or (415) 839-6885.

U.S. Benefits & Perks*

Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, baby sitting, continuing education and much more
The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
Flexible and generous time off – vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 19 paid holidays – including the last week of the year.
Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
For those emergency moments – long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
Appropriate fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
Great colleagues – diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people *Please note that for remote roles located outside of the U.S., we defer to our PEO to ensure alignment with local labor laws.

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