Glossary

It is not always easy to communicate meaning with one or two words. Here a glossary of the most commonly used terms on WikiRate.org. You can refer back to it when you find new terms you are not familiar with.

  • API (Application Programming Interface): is a connection between computers or between computer programs. It is a type of software interface and is the system that allows WikiRate.org to integrate with other databases and enables third parties to “pull” data from or “push” data into our database.

  • Calculated (Metric): refers to the metric type being based on a calculated value, and contrasts to researched metrics. Calculated metrics can come in the form of a Formula, Score, WikiRating, Descendant, and Network-Aware. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Citizen Science: is scientific research in which members of the public collaborate with trained scientists. The citizens can be involved in many different research activities, ranging from formulating a research question to collecting data, conducting analysis, and eventually publishing the findings.

  • Community Assessed: refers to the research policy applied to metrics. If it is Community Assessed, then anyone can add metric answers. This contrasts with Designer Assessed where only the metric designer can add and edit metric values. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Company: Companies are the central subjects of WikiRate.org and are flexibly defined as ‘reporting entities’, be it a holding company, brand, production facility, institutional investor, university, or NGO. WikiRate Companies are recognized by law as a "legal person" – that is to say: not actually a biological person but legally treated like one. There is no minimum size for qualifying as a company. This definition is, in itself, rather clean, but it also presents some significant data challenges, including scope, interrelatedness, and dynamism.

  • Company Groups: organize Companies around specific topics or associations to help frame research, analysis, and comparison. 

  • Corporate Accountability: can be defined as the ability of those affected by a corporation to hold corporations to account for their operations. It is the notion that financial performance should not be a company's only important goal and that shareholders are not the only ones that a company must be responsible to; stakeholders such as employees and community members also require accountability.

  • Corporate Sustainability: is an approach aiming to create long-term stakeholder value through the implementation of a business strategy that focuses on the ethical, social, environmental, cultural, and economic dimensions of doing business (Source: Wikipedia).

  • Corporate Transparency: looks at the extent to which a corporation's actions are observable by outsiders. It is important to note that transparency in terms of corporate disclosure is both about what information a company discloses as well as how that information is disclosed.

  • Crowd Research: is a crowdsourcing technique for coordinating a large group of people in an open-ended research exploration, and a system for decentralized credit distribution to aid upward mobility and recognize contributions in publications. Stanford University’s Crowd Research Initiative

  • Datasets: is a tool to define a specific data scope around a certain Topic or theme of interest by grouping a subset of Companies, Metrics, and Years.

  • Descendant (Metric): A type of Calculated Metric, a Descendant Metric inherits answers from one or more other metrics. Descendant metrics are used to pool the data from a set of similar input metrics. Example: a Designer Assessed metric covers 100 companies, and a Community Assessed metric that asks the same question covers another 100 companies. Those two metrics can be combined in a Descendant Metric so that it covers 200 companies on the same metric question. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Designer Assessed: refers to the research policy applied to metrics. If it is Designer Assessed, then only the designer of the metric can add metric answers. This usually applies to metrics created for use in a benchmark where the benchmark author wants to have full control over their benchmark. Designer Assessed contrasts to Community Assessed, where anyone can add metric answers. Learn more about metrics here.

  • ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance): is a term used to describe non-financial company data. Most often it is used by investors (in a top-down context) who are looking to integrate non-financial performance criteria in their risk assessments of companies and use those to inform investment decisions.

  • Formula (Metric): A type of Calculated Metric that combines any number of metrics in a Formula. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Methodology: the research Methodology of Metrics on WikiRate describes the specific procedures or techniques that should be used to identify, extract, process, and analyze data for that particular Metric Question.

  • Metric: A Metric is a tool for measuring. On WikiRate, metrics are used to measure company performance, and they are a way of asking the same question of many companies. It consists of a question, an About section (which describes why this metric is important and how it is used), and a Methodology section (which describes how to research the answer). Learn more about metrics here.

  • Metric Answer: An answer or value that shows the company’s performance according to the question for a particular year. Each metric answer must have a source. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Metric Designer: on WikiRate.org anyone can be a Metric Designer. They are the organization, Research Group, or individual who has developed a Metric and defined its details, like the Metric Question, associated Topics, Research Policy, and Methodology. 

  • Network-Aware (Metric): A type of Calculated Metric, these metrics dynamically measure a company’s performance based on the performance of related companies, including suppliers, subsidiaries, and brand partners, combining Relationship Metrics with other metric types. An example of this would be “Modern Slavery Act Shareholder Percentage” which would look at what percentage of companies in an investor’s portfolio have produced a Modern Slavery Statement. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Open Data: Open data is data that can be freely used, shared, and built on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose. There are two key elements to openness: 1) Legal and 2) Technical openness.

  • Projects: Projects are tools to organize, gather, and analyze data on companies’ environmental, social and governance performance. Through Projects, you can pull together a specific set of companies (by topic or sector, for example) and metrics to help you and other WikiRate researchers contribute data that illuminates sustainability performance.

  • Relationship (Metric): These metrics describe the relationship between two companies.  Unlike standard metrics, Relationship Metrics can have compound answers, comprised of one “relationship answer” per relationship. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Researched (Metric): refers to the metric type being based on a researched value, and contrasts to calculated metrics where metric answers are calculated based on a combination of other metrics. Research Metrics can come in the Standard form or Relationship form. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Research Groups: Research groups bring WikiRate users together to organize Projects, design Metrics, have conversations and track progress. This feature has been designed to facilitate users to join together around a specific topic, theme, or area.

  • Research Policy: Research policies frame the use of a metric and which types of users are allowed. There are two types, Community Assessed and Designer Assessed. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Scraping (Data): is a bulk data collection technique where a computer program extracts data from semi-structured (web) sources.

  • Score (Metric): A type of Calculated Metric that standardizes the answers of exactly one other metric to a 0-10 scale. A Score Metric’s name is formed by adding the name of the scorer (user, company or research group) to the end of the scored metric. Score Metrics are often the building blocks for WikiRatings. Learn more about metrics here.

  • Source: A Source is a public document used to cite a Metric Answer on WikiRate. Sources are company reports like Sustainability and Annual Reports. They can also be news articles or websites or legally mandated reports like conflict minerals or modern slavery reports. A source can be added to WikiRate as a URL, file upload, or report. Once a source is added it will remain on the platform so researchers can easily access the document.

  • Steward: on WikiRate data Stewards are those of us who are more familiar with a particular Topic or assessment methodology. Their role is one of oversight and ensuring data quality. Metric Designers are stewards of their own Metrics and based on their familiarity and experience other community members can be assigned as stewards to specific Metrics.

  • Topics: Topics are a way to organize Metrics and other content into thematic groups. 

  • Unknown: On WikiRate, Unknown Metric Answers help track disclosure gaps. It shows which Metric Questions one or more researchers have tried to answer, but could not find the answer to in publicly available sources for a particular Company. 

  • WikiRating (Metric): A type of Calculated Metric, which is a 0-10 rating computed as a weighted average of other 0-10 answers. To create a WikiRating, a number of Score metrics are selected and assigned weightings. Learn more about metrics here.

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