Saturday, October 28, 2006

 

Wikipedia.com - A Reliable Source?

While the linked article below is not specifically tourism-related, I thought it was worth taking a few moments to read.

This article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education asks questions as to why many academics have not embraced Wikipedia.com as reliable source of information in academic research. Specifically, the author asks why professors have not themselves in large numbers contributed to the articles on the website. He also discusses the varying degrees of accuracy across disciplines which may tend to decrease along the continuum from the more concrete subjects of science and history to the often more interpretive arts and humanities. The article also mentions the idea proposed by some of creating a system of peer review, similar to that of scholarly journals, to maximize accuracy in the articles.

Take a look and post your comments.

Article URL: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?%20id=z6xht2rj60kqmsl8tlq5ltqcshc5y93y

Comments:
Interesting article; I have also wondered why it isn't utilized more by academia (as in edited by and contributed to by more scholarly types in order to assure more accurate information). For this reason, I don't cite it as a source, and only occasionally look to it for some information.
 
Good topic! Two quick points. One, some of the Wikipedia stuff is actually pretty good; I've used some of its articles for background in the gaming management class. Two, some reasons why more academics aren't contributing to, and or, using Wikipedia: quality control is a big issue, concern about a negative halo effect from being on the same forum with wackos (e.g., pick any even mildly controversial geopolitical issue--and look at how articles on it get constantly re-written), and perhaps the most serious issue--lack of recognition. Wiki is outside the usual channels of academic merit and reward so there are fewer incentives to publish there than in other, more traditional, venues. There is a strong institutional bias against electronic journals, which at least mirror the process of traditional peer-reviewed print journals. Something like Wikipedia falls far outside an administrator's mental models of what faculty members are supposed to be doing.
 
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