“We are more famous than The New York Times,” I’m Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, in the July 2015 TED Talk.
Through Alexa, the idol of the online world that is similar to Nielsen’s for conventional TV, today Wikipedia is ranked 14th of the most popular websites in the world. On the other side of the New York Times, media from the United States owns 127 Pulitzer Prize, in 96th position.
Unfortunately, despite its popularity, the credibility of Wikipedia’s articles is in doubt. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in its rules for quoting scientific works for students, firmly states that “Wikipedia is not a reliable source even though many of us use it to search for quick information […] We recommend that Wikipedia not be used as a reference for scientific work. “In another angle, as published by Statista, only 30 percent of the United States public doubted the contents of The Times.
The question is, why is Wikipedia, which has nearly 6 million articles in English and about 500 thousand articles in Indonesian, doubtful? And should Wikipedia really be kept out of reference, as MIT suggests?
“Charles Van Doren, senior editor of Britannica, said that the ideal encyclopedia must be radical. Unfortunately, Britannica, an encyclopedia that has existed since 1962, is not radical and chooses to act like any other old-fashioned encyclopedia, “said Jimmy Wales, in the TED Talk program, telling the birth of Wikipedia.
“On the other hand, Wikipedia stems from a radical idea,” I’m Wales. “Imagine everyone in the world can access science for free,” he later stated.
Wikipedia is a multilingual online encyclopedia that was officially launched on January 15, 2001, exactly today 19 years ago, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. The Washington Post reports Wikipedia was originally a side project of Nupedia, an online encyclopedia that was also worked on by Wales and Sanger.
Nupedia is similar to Britannica. All content contained is handled by the internal team and through a peer-review process, alias edited and evaluated by experts. Meanwhile, Wikipedia, which refers to Wales, is radical. All articles that are published are based on the principle of collaboration between volunteers alias crowdsourcing virtual citizens around the world.
The concept is indeed radical. Unfortunately, two opposing poles are born. Positive, Wikipedia content skyrocketed in terms of numbers easily. Negative, because anyone can contribute content to Wikipedia, its accuracy is doubtful.
In the “Internet Encyclopedias Go Head to Head” published in Nature Vol 438, it is mentioned that quite a lot of content findings on Wikipedia are misrepresenting information. For example, an upload that states that Senator Robert Kennedy may have been killed by his own assistant. Then, when Font Calibri became evidence in a corruption case in Pakistan in 2017, information about this font on Wikipedia was changed 35 times by who knows which netizens in the virtual universe.
Robert McHenry, former editor of Britannica, concluded that by opening the article editing process for all people, whether they have expertise or not, “Wikipedia sacrifices the reliability and credibility of the articles it contains.” Tom Panelas, another Britannica retainer, insists that over the issue of credibility this, “Wikipedia needs an editor.”
On the other hand, Darius Jemielniak, in “Wikipedia: Why is the Common Knowledge Resource Still Neglected by Academics?” States that Wikipedia does have accuracy issues, but Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and refers to Linus Law “then all eyes are fixed on it to make the slightest mistake seen. “
As the BBC proclaimed, in 2005 Nature researched the accuracy of Wikipedia science-themed articles and compared them with Britannica and other conventional encyclopedias. The result, “Wikipedia has eight serious errors, such as mistaken interpretations of important concepts of science. On the other hand, Britannica and other encyclopedias on average only have four serious errors. “
More specifically, Nature experts say there are 162 errors, which include factual errors, omissions, or misleading statements of science articles on Wikipedia. Britannica only has 123.
In general, the credibility of science articles on Wikipedia is not as straightforward as Britannica’s.
The same was revealed by Neil C. Thompson in “Science is Shaped by Wikipedia: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial.” The report on the analysis of one million scientific articles on Wikipedia using Big Data concludes that “scientists use similar words in articles that are published Wikipedia on his scientific work. So, we call this strong evidence that Wikipedia promotes the dissemination of knowledge “not only to the general public, but also to the academic sphere.
Thompson said, Wikipedia is one of the greatest sources of knowledge in the world. According to his estimates, for every 120 scientific papers, one will appear on Wikipedia. Then, specifically in the study of Chemistry, Wikipedia contains 90 percent of the themes discussed by undergraduate students at the best tertiary institutions, as well as half the themes discussed by graduate students.
Finally, links that point to various articles on Wikipedia are the 6th most popular reference in DOI, aka Digital Object Identifier, a unique link used by the academic world to compile science articles.
The issue of the issue of inaccuracy that befell Wikipedia is considered Thompson is not too bad. Thompson’s findings, Wikipedia, on average, have an average of four inaccuracies in science articles, while Britannica has three. However, Britannica only has 65,000 articles, while Wikipedia has 5.3 million articles.
In his report, Thompson stressed: “Obviously, Wikipedia reflects science.”
Wales does not dismiss Wikipedia has a problem with its choice to adopt the principle of collaboration. According to him, Wikipedia has a feature of anticipating errors contained in each article, for example with the feature “recent changes,” which detect each article changes in real-time. When articles are added misleading information, it is easy for other users to see the error and he can return to the previous version.
Then, Wales promised, “our goal is to get Britannica quality. In fact, better than them. “