Register to reply

Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica on science

by Just some guy
Tags: accurate, brittanica, encyclopedia, science, wikipedia
Share this thread:
Just some guy
#1
Dec16-05, 05:48 AM
P: 76
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4530930.stm

The free online resource Wikipedia is about as accurate on science as the Encyclopedia Britannica, a study shows.
Great news, but I wish they could have published this last week when I was writing an analysis on the validity of my Wikipedia references for my coursework
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
New model helps explain how provisions promote or reduce wildlife disease
Stress can make hard-working mongooses less likely to help in the future
Grammatical habits in written English reveal linguistic features of non-native speakers' languages
mezarashi
#2
Dec16-05, 06:31 AM
HW Helper
P: 661
The problem with citing Wikipedia is that well... *anybody* can edit it. It's hard to blame if for some reason it goes wrong and you can't keep track of changes. Britannica 2004 will always be the 2004 version. Most Wiki authors will include sources/references they have written from, and most of the time you can cite those, so look for them!
ZapperZ
#3
Dec16-05, 07:03 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
ZapperZ's Avatar
P: 29,239
Quote Quote by Just some guy
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4530930.stm
Great news, but I wish they could have published this last week when I was writing an analysis on the validity of my Wikipedia references for my coursework
Please read this thread:

http://physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=103804

If possible, read the source of this report, i.e. the one published in Nature.

Besides, how many serious scientific research work do you see that actually made citations to sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica, or Wikipedia anyway? You could do an analysis on that angle since the statistics quoted in Nature says that only barely 17% of the authors of nature actually use Wikipedia regularly.

Zz.

Astronuc
#4
Dec16-05, 11:01 AM
Admin
Astronuc's Avatar
P: 21,806
Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica on science

It best to corroborate with alternative and independent sources, like PF!

Seriously, I always prefer to cross reference.

On-line Encyclopedias and Wikipedia are good 'starting' points, however, it is best to go to other sources for confirmation.
Ivan Seeking
#5
Dec16-05, 10:57 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,497
I agree. It's a little flakey but it has worked pretty well for me, thus far. In fact, for those familiar with the "What Was It" thread - an exercise in internet sleuthing - I found obscure information at Wikipedia that was verified but only after a good deal of work on my part. It stands to reason that the internet can help to catalog an untold number of little facts and tidbits from history that might otherwise be lost. But filtering is a problem...as it always has been.
The_Professional
#6
Dec16-05, 11:26 PM
P: 583
If you're looking basic info, then Wikipedia is a good starting point. But if you're doing in-depth research and you'd like to know more you can also check out the links cited under each article, which points you to another and another, until you find another that interests you..

I believe Wikipedia imposed a much stricter guideline when it comes to posting/editing an article. They require you to create an account, most articles there are watched very closely for any errors/inconsistencies/what have you.
matthyaouw
#7
Dec17-05, 08:43 AM
PF Gold
matthyaouw's Avatar
P: 1,216
Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking
In fact, for those familiar with the "What Was It" thread - an exercise in internet sleuthing - I found obscure information at Wikipedia that was verified but only after a good deal of work on my part. It stands to reason that the internet can help to catalog an untold number of little facts and tidbits from history that might otherwise be lost. But filtering is a problem...as it always has been.
I miss that thread!
honestrosewater
#8
Dec18-05, 02:00 AM
PF Gold
honestrosewater's Avatar
P: 2,330
Quote Quote by matthyaouw
I miss that thread!
Me too. (Though I'm not gonna cry about it.) (Yet.)
Astronuc
#9
Dec18-05, 08:23 AM
Admin
Astronuc's Avatar
P: 21,806
"Internet a great tool, but use it with caution," by Jay Ambrose

Specifically Wikipedia.

It would appear that the technical/scientific articles are accurate, or mostly so, however articles in the humanities may be more subjective.

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journal...l/13430582.htm

A former newspaper editor and once an aide to Robert F. Kennedy, Siegenthaler found himself writing in USA Today about “poison-pen intellects” on the Web after one of them used the online encyclopedia to implicate him in the assassinations of both Robert and John F. Kennedy. Once discovered, the guilty party apologized profusely and said he was playing a joke on what he thought was a prankster Web site.

For some commentators, the episode points up a couple of important truths. One of them is that Wikipedia, which allows anyone and everyone to write and edit its entries that now number 850,000 in English alone, must either bite the dust or be utterly transformed. The other is that the Internet is not the great research tool some think it is – that it is too full of worse-than-Wikipedia baloney: the conclusions of the uninformed, the vitriol of the mean-spirited, the musings of idiots.
TheStatutoryApe
#10
Dec18-05, 05:12 PM
TheStatutoryApe's Avatar
P: 1,550
Astro that article is a bit overboard don't you think?
From everything that I have read on and about Wikipedia they try very hard to keep their articles factually accurate and clean up edit abuse. They even discuss the entries and I have several times found them telling each other they need to be less biased and stick to the facts.
ZapperZ
#11
Jan31-06, 07:34 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
ZapperZ's Avatar
P: 29,239
http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_3444567

.... as if one needs any more convincing that the accuracy of any entry in Wikipedia can be questionable. If one relies SOLELY on this source (look around PF and you can already tell how many do), then one deserves what one gets.

Zz.
hypnagogue
#12
Jan31-06, 08:06 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 2,265
A more humorous take:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/12/16


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Encyclopedia of Mathematical Physics, Volume 1-5 Math & Science Software 0
Wikiality the Truthiness Encyclopedia! General Discussion 5
Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica General Discussion 1
Are science jokes fundamentally accurate? General Discussion 36
Encyclopedia of Abstract Terms General Discussion 14