28 August 2008

Times Higher Education's Critique of Wikipedia

University Philosophy lecturer Martin Cohen (also editor of The Philosopher) is critical of Wikipedia, says the UK's Times Higher Education (supplement). I have submitted my own comment to THE, as follows.

I'm sure Wikipedia is no more a dubious source than academia itself. It just happens to be a different source, with overlap here and there. Each of these, if anyone wants to concentrate on them, are political in their agendas and approaches. Having academics write or rewrite Wikipedia articles would do little good, and for the most part would consist of academics using their power to keep other people down. Wikipedia is meant to give ordinary people opportunities to write, as I understand it - though no original research is allowed! This does create a problem, of course, for researchers external to universities, who are fully capable of producing new research but who are not integrated into the academic community and able to have their research given recognition through publication in academic journals. Unfortunately, Wikipedia is no place for such people either. It's good that academia has some competition, even though Wikipedia doesn't provide the entire solution.

Added Apr 24, 2012

My comment didn’t get published by Times Higher. I still stand by what I said, four years later, though my views are not typical of those in the university environment.

As earlier piece I wrote for my blog is on this same topic. See ‘Now that’s power,’ May 11, 2008, also with my recent thoughts on it.

Encyclopaedia Idiotica
By Martin Cohen
28 August 2008

Now That’s Power! Wikipedia and Representation of Marc Lepine and the Montreal Massacre
By Sue McPherson
Sue's Views on the News
May 11, 2008

Links updated Apr 24, 2012