Wikimedia Nederland en wiki-freelancers/en

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Wikimedia Nederland and wiki freelancers

More and more institutions want to share their knowledge and collections via Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons or WikiData. It frequently happens that an institution wants to hire an experienced Wikimedian who can (temporarily) carry out a project or activity. As a result, there is now a growing group of Wikimedians who are professionally active as freelance wiki-consultants. Often the same Wikimedians are also actively involved as volunteers in activities of Wikimedia Nederland

This in itself is a very positive development: it shows that contributing to the Wikimedia projects is increasingly integrated into the work of knowledge and heritage institutions. And it expands the available capacity to support institutions.

Wikimedia Nederland itself also sometimes hires a "wiki consultant" if there is no capacity for an activity in the office or among the volunteers, or if specific expertise is required.

Possible bottlenecks

However, there is a potential risk of conflicts of interest:

  • WMNL's position is that, as much as possible, activities are carried out by volunteers; some volunteers - as freelancers - now also have an interest in acquiring paid assignments.
  • Confusion can arise about the status of activities: is someone doing something as a volunteer, or in the context of a paid assignment?
  • WMNL is sometimes asked for recommendations by GLAM partners looking for a good freelancer. How do we deal with this in an honest and transparent manner?

To prevent problems and promote transparency, the board of WMNL has drawn up some rules:

Contracting by WMNL

  • WMNL only contracts freelancers if a specific task cannot be performed by volunteers or employees
  • WMNL, as much as possible, avoids to contract wiki-freelancers for activities that overlap with WMNL activities in which they are already involved as volunteers
  • WMNL never awards contracts to board members. (See also our Conflict of Interest Policy).
  • WMNL contracts freelancers on the basis of a detailed description of tasks to be performed, results to be delivered, reporting and feedback processes, time frame and decision-making.
  • When contracting free-lancers, WMNL stipulates that they must adhere to the rules that apply on Wikimedia projects with regard to the use and naming of user accounts, and reporting 'paid edits'.

Contracting by third parties (= not Wikimedia Nederland)

  • Volunteers who are active as a freelancer cannot claim reimbursement of travel costs or other costs from Wikimedia Nederland for the acquisition and execution of contractual work. Nor can they use emailaccounts or WMNL business cards for the acquisition or execution of contractual work.
  • Wikimedia Nederland does not give recommendations to institutions that are looking for a freelancer. At the request of the institution, WMNL will distribute vacancies via the Wikimedia Nederland mailing list. (register via
  • Wikimedia Nederland only provides references about a Wiki freelancer if the person concerned has given their permission.

Approved during the WMNL Board meeting of 20 February 2020.