Wikimedia projects contributor Federico Leva, frustrated at the number of pay-walled articles linked from the Italian and English Wikipedia, decided to contact their authors directly. Using the available data, almost half a million depositable articles by a million authors were found. An email was sent to each of them where possible: the message thanked them for contributing sources to Wikipedia, presented them with the dilemma of a simple volunteer editor who wants to link an open access copy for all Wikipedia users to see, and asked to check the publication on Dissemin to read more about its legal status and to deposit it.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive: over 15 % of the recipients clicked the links to find out more, thousands wrote encouraging replies, over 3000 papers were deposited via Dissemin in two months. Wikimedia Italia, active since 2008 in open access, covered the costs (few hundreds euro on phplist.com) and provided its OTRS instance to handle replies. With AISA’s counsel, hundreds of support requests have been handled (mostly about the usual pains of green OA, such as locating an appropriate manuscript).