Wikipedia problems

By ogerlt

The time has come to start thinking about final projects for this semester. As one of my professors passed out the guidelines for the final paper, he mentioned that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for an academic paper because it is not peer reviewed. My mind immediately jumped to Roy Rosenzweig’s article, “Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past.” Rosenzweig writes that the Roosevelt entry alone had over five hundred authors  over a period of four years. He further states, “More generally, the sheer volume of edits—almost 100,000 per day—means that entries, at least popular entries, come under almost constant scrutiny.” At what point does something count as peer reviewed? Why do the opinions of two or three professors count for so much more than the collective knowledge of hundreds of others? Yes, the reviewing professors have degrees that should assure that they know what they are talking about, but what about the thousands of professors, students, and amateurs that edit Wikipedia daily? Why is “almost constant scrutiny” dismissed so lightly? 

Source: Adventures in Art History  

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