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

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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
Authors: Tony Stankus, Sarah E. Spiegel [edit item]
Citation: Science and Technology Libraries 25 (1-2): 144-164. 2010 January.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1080/01942620903579435.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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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 is a publication by Tony Stankus, Sarah E. Spiegel.


[edit] Abstract

We 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.

[edit] Research questions

"We 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."

Research details

Topics: Reliability, Encyclopedias [edit item]
Domains: Health, Biology, Library science [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Case [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"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."

[edit] Comments

"" 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"


Further notes[edit]

See also Wikipedia, Scholarpedia, and references to journals in the brain and behavioral sciences: a comparison of cited sources and recommended readings in matching free online encyclopedia entries, an article with almost the same title.

Facts about "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"RDF feed
AbstractWe 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 teamAdded on initial load +
Collected data time dimensionCross-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
ConclusionScholarpedia 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 sourceWikipedia pages +
Doi10.1080/01942620903579435 +
Google scholar urlhttp://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%2Bfree%2Bonline%2Bencyclopedia%2Bentries%22 +
Has authorTony Stankus + and Sarah E. Spiegel +
Has domainHealth +, Biology + and Library science +
Has topicReliability + and Encyclopedias +
Issue1-2 +
MonthJanuary +
Pages144-164 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inScience and Technology Libraries +
Research designStatistical analysis +
Research questionsWe 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.
Revid11,071 +
TheoriesUndetermined
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitleWikipedia, 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 analysisArticle +
Urlhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01942620903579435 +
Volume25 +
Wikipedia coverageCase +
Wikipedia data extractionLive Wikipedia +
Wikipedia languageNot specified +
Wikipedia page typeArticle +
Year2010 +