Deep Carbon Observatory to Sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass and a key component of all known life; it fuels most of our energy, and as carbon dioxide it is the primary cause of climate change on Earth. But most research of the element has focused on carbon near Earth’s surface, and we know surprisingly little about its physical, chemical, and biological behavior throughout most of the planet’s interior.

The study of deep carbon brings together a wide range of sciences committed to better understanding the Earth’s past, present, and future. There’s a lot to learn, but efforts in recent years have yielded a great deal of knowledge with far-reaching implications. That’s why I’m excited to announce that the Deep Carbon Observatory has begun accepting applications for a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar.

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) is a ten-year initiative that is exploring the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon deep within Earth. It’s an interdisciplinary community of about 1,000 chemists, physicists, geologists, and biologists from 35 nations, who have come together in four distinct science communities that study various aspects of deep carbon. These communities are: Deep Life, Deep Energy, Reservoirs and Fluxes, and Extreme Physics and Chemistry. About eight years into the ten-year project, these four groups have published a great deal of research applicable to a wide array of fields and subjects.

When people want to learn about science and the world around them, Wikipedia is often their first stop. As a predominantly volunteer-written project, however, its topic coverage can be uneven and important topics can be underdeveloped, too technical, or rely on low quality or outdated sources. Even when a knowledgeable editor wants to improve an article, he or she may be unable to access the best sources on the subject, which are so often trapped behind a paywall. Through the Visiting Scholars program, Wikipedians receive access to an educational institution’s resources to improve articles in a topic area of mutual interest.

DCO is committed to disseminating knowledge with the broader science community and with the public. The initiative’s Engagement Team, based in the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography, has been exploring ways to contribute to public knowledge of deep carbon science by facilitating the improvement of related topics on Wikipedia. They are looking to sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar, who will have access to 9,000 DCO-specific publications as well as remote access to the full suite of the University of Rhode Island’s library resources, including ebooks, journals, digital media, and well over 200 databases.

If and when convenient for the Scholar, the Engagement Team would also like to arrange for an all expenses paid trip to visit URI.

If you’re a Wikipedia editor with an interest in deep carbon science or a related field, we’d love to help connect you. You can apply for a Visiting Scholar position here and, if you have questions, drop us a line: For more information about the Deep Carbon Observatory, visit their website or email the director of the DCO Engagement Team, Rob Pockalny at For more information about the Visiting Scholars program in general, see the Visiting Scholars section of our website.

Images: URI Carothers Library.jpg, by Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; DCO Logotype.jpg, by Metocguy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


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