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Wikipedia, Scholarpedia, and references to books in the brain and behavioral sciences: a comparison of cited sources and recommended readings in matching free online encyclopedia entries
Abstract We provide a comparative analysis of the rWe provide a comparative analysis of the references to books in two free online encyclopedias that have very different philosophies about authorship and editorial oversight that may affect the nature and academic respectability of the books they list. These encyclopedias are the loosely edited, non-refereed Wikipedia, where anonymous authors, whose credentials are uncertain, compile the reference list and where many equally anonymous readers can later alter the reference lists, and its peer-reviewed companion Scholarpedia, which features signed articles by invited experts who control its reference lists. We compared 47 entries dealing with the brain or behavioral sciences that had exactly matching titles. We report relative number of book references overall, the age of these references, and those titles that were multiply cited, either through citations in both online encyclopedias or multiple entries in either one of them. We compare the percentages of book references allotted to matching subject categories. We note the distributions of references according to book publishers and compare propensities for citing high-level research volumes versus introductory textbooks and popularizations. Finally, we examine the credentials of the authors of the cited works, providing information on the universities and disciplines in which their authors or editors received their doctoral degrees and their most current academic or professional affiliation. We conclude that in this comparison of a small but carefully matched set of entries in the brain and behavioral sciences, both encyclopedias offer references to solid materials and that any differences in quality indicators represent matters of degree rather than any clear-cut advantage that is exclusive to one or the other. Finally, we provide as an annotated checklist for librarians serving the brain and behavioral sciences of the books multiply cited by these encyclopedias at the time of this study.e encyclopedias at the time of this study.
Added by wikilit team Added on initial load  +
Collected data time dimension Cross-sectional  +
Comments " Both encyclopedias, [Wikipedia and Schol" Both encyclopedias, [Wikipedia and Scholarpedia,] document the current state of a field with a similar number of titles of approximately the same median age, published around the year 2000. Both Wikipedia and Scholarpedia primarily cite books aimed at upper-division undergraduates and graduate/professional school students, from many of the same extremely reputable publishers, with titles from university presses and the major for-profit publishers in science, medicine, and technology predominating." P. 155-156 and technology predominating." P. 155-156
Conclusion Scholarpedia articles are documented more Scholarpedia articles are documented more extensively, on average, in our admittedly small sample of matching entries in the brain and behavioral sciences by almost 40 percent in terms of more references to books. However, we estimate, based on the greater median and average age of these books, that 28 of this difference in percentage points is accounted for by the propensity of Scholarpedia authors or editors to include a higher number of older works in their bibliographies to trace the early developments of their respective fields. Both encyclopedias document the current state of a field with a similar number of titles of approximately the same median age, published around the year 2000. Both Wikipedia and Scholarpedia primarily cite books aimed at upper-division undergraduates and graduate/professional school students, from many of the same extremely reputable publishers, with titles from university presses and the major for-profit publishers in science, medicine, and technology predominating. Both encyclopedias also cite some more accessible material; the difference is in the proportions. Wikipedia authors and editors include a higher proportion (about 10 percent more) in their reference lists of textbooks aimed at beginning undergraduates as well as popularizations for the college educated layperson, while Scholarpedia authors and editors would typically add additional university press and for-profit STM titles, accounting for the remaining twelve percentage points of the 40 percent difference in the numbers of books cited. Whatever the credentials of the anonymous Wikipedia authors and their equally anonymous bibliography revisers may be, the credentials of the authors and editors of the books they cite are as genuinely impressive as those cited by known experts in Scholarpedia.se cited by known experts in Scholarpedia.
Data source Wikipedia pages  +
Doi 10.1080/01942620903579435 +
Google scholar url http://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Wikipedia%2C%2BScholarpedia%2C%2Band%2Breferences%2Bto%2Bbooks%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bbrain%2Band%2Bbehavioral%2Bsciences%3A%2Ba%2Bcomparison%2Bof%2Bcited%2Bsources%2Band%2Brecommended%2Breadings%2Bin%2Bmatching%2Bfre  +
Has author Tony Stankus + , Sarah E. Spiegel +
Has domain Health + , Biology + , Library science +
Has topic Reliability + , Encyclopedias +
Issue 1-2  +
Month January  +
Pages 144-164  +
Peer reviewed Yes  +
Publication type Journal article  +
Published in Science and Technology Libraries +
Research design Statistical analysis  +
Research questions We provide a comparative analysis of the rWe provide a comparative analysis of the references to books in two free online encyclopedias that have very different philosophies about authorship and editorial oversight that may affect the nature and academic respectability of the books they list. These encyclopedias are the loosely edited, non-refereed Wikipedia, where anonymous authors, whose credentials are uncertain, compile the reference list and where many equally anonymous readers can later alter the reference lists, and its peer-reviewed companion Scholarpedia, which features signed articles by invited experts who control its reference lists. We compared 47 entries dealing with the brain or behavioral sciences that had exactly matching titles.sciences that had exactly matching titles.
Revid 11,071  +
Theories Undetermined
Theory type Analysis  +
Title Wikipedia, Scholarpedia, and references to books in the brain and behavioral sciences: a comparison of cited sources and recommended readings in matching free online encyclopedia entries
Unit of analysis Article  +
Url http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01942620903579435  +
Volume 25  +
Wikipedia coverage Case  +
Wikipedia data extraction Live Wikipedia  +
Wikipedia language Not specified  +
Wikipedia page type Article  +
Year 2010  +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 15 March 2012 20:36:40  +
Categories Reliability  + , Encyclopedias  + , Health  + , Biology  + , Library science  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 30 January 2014 20:32:37  +
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