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Ask Slashdot: Wikipedia's Frustrating Citations

arisvega (1414195) writes | more than 3 years ago

The Internet 6

arisvega (1414195) writes "Wikipedia is a great idea, really. Ideally, a healthy and neutral way to "ask the internet" for information. From a scientific point of view it is going very well; more than often I see students, staff and professors using it in all seriousness and professionalism as a starting point for a project, following the references, learning a lot, even ending up editing something themselves. Those are lucky; usually access behind paywalled refereed journal articles is covered by the institution they work at, and is transparent- but for others, or in the case one just ends up with an ISBN code reference, there really is not a simple way to get the information needed. Either you buy the book, or swarm your local library with a list (and with a hope they would have most items) and stay over for days. As if that was not enough, the www wikipedia references (which provide the only access to folk with no scientific journal or library access) are more than often circular or just plain wrong. So I ask you, Slashdot-prowling beings, a) how frequently do you need to look at the references because the article itself is not good enough, b) how do you treat paywalled / ISBN / bad / circular www references and c) do you believe that there will EVER be such a thing as a free, non-greed driven, public, electronic and global library that people can access ISBN books that "normally cost money to buy", on the same grounds that you do not buy books from libraries, but still have access to them? After all, this is the information age, right?"
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Tough question (1)

AmyVernon (1832298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37364028)

The problem with that is that books cost money to write - not including publishing costs, which the digital age has changed considerably. If you borrow a book from a library, you only get it for a certain period of time. And, technically - according to copyright law, anyhow - it's illegal to photocopy pages. So you borrow it, return it and don't get to keep pieces of it. That's a lot more difficult to regulate in digital copies. I do think that eventually, all this will be worked out. But the question is whether someone has a right to earn a living from their intellectual property. Don't get me wrong - I want everything to be online and free, personally. But it's not as simple as that. We're really in digital infancy when it comes to these issues. I look forward to resolution of these issues, frankly.

Re:Tough question (1)

vishal dogra (2439174) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384896)

Copyright: All the editors in Wikipedia keep watch on their page as and when these are edited. The issue of copyright is of a grave concern, but, the work published in wikipedia needs references before publishing any article. These references and citations give support to the submitted content. Excessive copying the content is not permissible on Wikipedia's articles [] .

Re:Tough question (1)

AmyVernon (1832298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37402514)

Absolutely. But that's not what the question was from the OP. This is what the poster asked: "do you believe that there will EVER be such a thing as a free, non-greed driven, public, electronic and global library that people can access ISBN books that "normally cost money to buy", on the same grounds that you do not buy books from libraries, but still have access to them?" That's what I was answering. Wikipedia's policy on copyright was not what I was addressing.

Re:Tough question (1)

vishal dogra (2439174) | more than 3 years ago | (#37434234)

I fully support concern towards authors of the books and the cost involved in publishing such books. Their books are shared till now free of cost, but, in capitalism system, every deed somewhere related to the greed Greed of this website [] , at present, may be that they are crowned by the public around the globe as the highest source of information. At present, donation system is present in the wikipedia, but, I'm not sure whether it can fulfil their ulterior objective as business house.

Wikipedia the great Editing Source (1)

vishal dogra (2439174) | more than 3 years ago | (#37365688)

Information is the key to enrich knowledge. Wikipedia empowered everyone, who has an authenticated source to submit the information for other's access. Books are no more interesting but, caution! people can read slow on the net around 40% of their natural speed of printed material. So one should learn printed material or printed articles of wikipedia only. Learn at high pace. The website [] website is well designed.

Scientific papers (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 3 years ago | (#37372268)

While thick books of course takes time to write and the author does deserve to get paid for his work.
  What I often find, is that Wikipedia references are to shorter scientific report papers.
  Now most scientists write those more to share his work with others in the field, and perhaps most importantly to gain prestige which will in the long term improve his salary. And the institutions they are working for actually have to pay fees to get their work peer reviewed and published. For this sort of paper all the money is made by the publisher and not by the writer.

What I would like to is someone revolutionizing this information channel in the same way as Wikipedia did for the encyclopedia.

WikiPeerReviewScienceReports. (Ok, lets find a better name)
*Would allow the writer to publish his paper into a "need review" list.
*Would allow others (peers) to review and suggest revisions (But not change original paper)
*Would allow the author to revise his original document.
*Then finally, just as for scientific publications, when everyone agrees that the work is correct, it would be transferred to a "Published" list.

There are of course many things that need to be figured out as:

How to attract High Quality writers and reviewers. How to gain status, so that after a number of years this would be a natural choice for scientists wanting to publish their information and so on.

If it was made to work, I think this would be a big improvement for democracy and transparency

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