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User:LZia (WMF)

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Leila Zia
Leila Zia
Head of Research, Director, Wikimedia Foundation

About me

Hi. My name is Leila. I joined the Research team at the Wikimedia Foundation in February 2014 and as a Research Scientist. I received my PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to that, I received two M.Sc. degrees from Stanford University and Rutgers University. I received a B.Sc. degree from Sharif University of Technology. I'm an affiliate of Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

My work

I am the Head of Research at the Wikimedia Foundation. I lead the Research team which focuses on three main areas of research and community building: Addressing Knowledge Gaps, Improving Knowledge Integrity, and Building the Community of researchers around the Wikimedia projects. You can learn about our team's work through a variety of channels including our bi-annual Research Report.

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I work for the Wikimedia Foundation, and this is the account I intend to use for edits or statements I make in that role. However, the Foundation does not vet all my activity, so edits, statements, or other contributions made by this account may not reflect the views of the Foundation.

Contact me

  • Meta-Wiki: talk
  • IRC on libera: leila
  • email: leila@wikimedia.org
  • Public office hours: schedule


Last updated on 2022-08-23


Here are some of the projects that I have been involved with:

  • WMF-RAY: In 2020, I started Wikimedia Foundation Research Award of the Year (WMF-RAY), an annual award to recognize recent research that can have significant impact on the Wikimedia projects or research in this space. Over the past two years, Benjamin Mako Hill and I have served as award chairs of this program.
  • Wiki Workshop: In 2015, Bob West and I started Wiki Workshop, an annual research event bringing together researchers, policy makers, Wikimedia editors, and affiliates exploring all aspects of the Wikimedia projects.
  • Research Fund: In Collaboration with the Community Resources team at the Wikimedia Foundation, we started a program in 2021 to allocate some of the WMF grants to research that can advance our understanding of the Wikimedia projects.
  • Effective and Responsible Communication: I deeply care about creating shared inclusive cultures at the workplace to allow for more effective, respectful and supportive collaborations. Inside the Wikimedia Foundation I lead an initiative in the Technology Department with a particular focus on improving the way we communicate with one another (through emails, chat messages, meetings, code or research review, and beyond).

Public engagements

Below you can find an excerpt of my recent talks:

  • 2020-10: Panel on the Global Governance of Information, STS Forum 2020.


I am a research scientist by training and I strongly believe in the value and necessity of scientific discourse for progress in different fields of research. I volunteer my time in different scientific service activities that contribute to more effective and inclusive scientific discourse. A sample is below:

  • 2015-07 to 2019-09: I served as a General Chair of the Web Conference 2019 alongside Ricardo Baeza-Yates. This was a transformative experience for me, among other things giving me the opportunity to work with an incredible team of researchers and event organizers over an extended period of time towards an ambitious shared goal.
  • Whenever I can, I say yes to acting as a PC member for different conferences. I have served in this capacity for ICWSM and TheWebConf (formerly WWW) across the years.