Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wiki Awareness

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

By Nohat (originally uploaded to Meta, creaded by Author)
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons

Plos One, an electronic journal that I try to visit frequently, not always successfully (sometimes I'm directed to it by something I've read as is the case today), just published Content Validity of Scientific Topics in Wikipedia: A Cautionary Tale.

The article is written by two well-known and respected scientists (acid precipitation researchers). One of them, Gene E. Likens is a co-founder of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study.

The article is worth keeping in your back pocket and seems to me will be helpful when working with students on projects, papers, etc. One of the tables provides an edit history between 2003 and 2012 on seven topics, all controversial although several may surprise you unless you scour the blogosphere (I don't). The topics are acid rain, global warming, evolution, continental drift, heliocentrism, general relativity, and the standard model.

The authors provide interesting examples and good advice. I will continue my wiki(ed) habit but will remain cautious. Most of my uses are for biographical information (birth/death dates, the arc of a life), checking concepts/definitions all of which have their dangers. I do routinely scroll down to the bottom of the article to check the references but I certainly don't look to the wiki for information on the topics above.

And finally and importantly the Wiki is not a primary source!

h/t WEIT

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