The top 100 editors at Wikipedia have been very busy bees, racking up an amazing 100,000 articles on the online encyclopedia between them. These hard-working writers and contributors have recently been given a perk that will hopefully make Wikipedia a more reliable resource. According to Wikipedia, the online journal database JSTOR has agreed to provide those editors with one year of free access to their massive resource of scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.
Wikipedia’s Reliability Problems
Wikipedia is on the one hand an amazing project that allows people across the world to read and contribute to a vast database of human knowledge. Everything from information on an office chair that you are interested in to the mating habits of specific bumblebees can either be found on Wikipedia already or contributed by an enthusiast. However, it is also well-known for the fact that some of its articles are less than well sourced, with Wikipedia itself keeping a list of the most infamous Wikipedia hoaxes.
High school and college students are constantly warned not to rely on Wikipedia for their work. Even newspapers have been taken in by Wikipedia editing pranks, reporting false details in obituaries and other erroneous facts. Many countries have experienced governmental scandals due to elected representatives seeking to edit their own Wikipedia pages to highlight accomplishments and cover up criticism.
The problem of open access to page editing is still a potential cause for concern in terms of Wikipedia’s reliability. However, it is fair to say a greater reliance on high-quality peer-reviewed sources may go a long way in increasing Wikipedia’s status. It may also allow them to provide better information on a wider range of topics.
The JSTOR Partnership
JSTOR has recently been making efforts to make it easier to access to its database. More than 500,000 articles were recently opened for public access. In addition, a pilot program called Register & Read is allowing individuals to register a MyJSTOR account and access various papers for help with their research. This new partnership with Wikipedia is a further step in allowing public access to their wealth of wide-ranging information.
In the announcement of the JSTOR partnership, Wikipedia itself referenced problems with sources. Wikipedia regularly conducts editor surveys, and the most recent found that almost 4 in ten editors found difficulty accessing legitimate and reliable sources, which they cited as one of their biggest hurdles in creating articles. According to Wikipedia. JSTOR is already one of the most popular sources for the site. Opening up with free access to their most prolific editors will hopefully see a jump in quality for many of Wikipedia’s articles.