Wikipedia as an official research tool?

wikipediaStudents and academics at a world-leading London university (Imperial College) want to build bridges between the Wikipedia website and formal research.

Wikipedia launched in 2001 with 365 million readers per month, openly edited and considered as inherently unrelaible source of information, this online encyclopedia is one of the biggest resources for students. But there is a reluctance to admit to this “elephant in the room”, says the group’s president, Vinesh Patel.

Mr Patel says there is a real gap in knowledge about how this free resource is being used and the event will be held at Imperial College in April – the London Wikipedia Academy – in an attempt to address the often unspoken place of Wikipedia in students’ research.

The website is not going to get any formal endorsement from Imperial College, but individual students and staff attending the conference will look at ways of improving what it offers to academic research. In some US universities there are designated students who organise the editing of Wikipedia pages in their specialist areas.

This conference will hold a more evidence-based discussion about the place of Wikipedia in universities, compare its reliability with other reference sources and to improve the quality of the Wiki he proposes to disucuss the application of the plagiarisms rules. Afterwll, Wikipedia, with almost 3.6 million articles, has been seen as an undeclared source of help for students’ essays and there is no reason to single out Wikipedia as a source for plagiarism.



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