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A study at Dartmouth College of the English Wikipedia noted that, contrary to usual social expectations, anonymous editors were some of Wikipedia's most productive contributors of valid content. Wikipedia has harnessed the work of millions of people to produce the world's largest knowledge-based site along with software to support it, resulting in more than nineteen million articles written, across more than different language versions, in fewer than twelve years.
Areas of reliability Article instability and susceptibility to bias are two potential problem areas in a crowdsourced work like Wikipedia The reliability of Wikipedia articles can be measured by the following criteria: Accuracy of information provided within articles Appropriateness of the images provided with the article Appropriateness of the style and focus of the articles  Susceptibility to, and exclusion and removal of, false information Comprehensiveness, scope and coverage within articles and in the range of articles Identification of reputable third-party sources as citations Stability of the articles Susceptibility to editorial and systemic bias Quality of writing The first four of these have been the subjects of various studies of the project, while the presence of bias is strongly disputed, and the prevalence and quality of citations can be tested within Wikipedia.
For instance, "50 percent of [US] physicians report that they've consulted The most common criticisms were: Poor prose, or ease-of-reading issues 3 mentions Omissions or inaccuracies, often small but including key omissions in some articles 3 mentions Poor balance, with less important areas being given more attention and vice versa 1 mention The most common praises were: The non-peer-reviewed study was based on Nature's selection of 42 articles on scientific topics, including biographies of well-known scientists.
The articles were compared for accuracy by anonymous academic reviewers, a customary practice for journal article reviews. Based on their reviews, on average the Wikipedia articles were described as containing 4 errors or omissions, while the Britannica articles contained 3.
Only 4 serious errors were found in Wikipedia, and 4 in Britannica. The study concluded that "Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries",  although Wikipedia's articles were often "poorly structured". Among Britannica's criticisms were that excerpts rather than the full texts of some of their articles were used, that some of the extracts were compilations that included articles written for the youth version, that Nature did not check the factual assertions of its reviewers, and that many points the reviewers labeled as errors were differences of editorial opinion.
Britannica further stated that "While the heading proclaimed that 'Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries,' the numbers buried deep in the body of the article said precisely the opposite: Wikipedia in fact had a third more inaccuracies than Britannica.
As we demonstrate below, Nature's research grossly exaggerated Britannica's inaccuracies, so we cite this figure only to point out the slanted way in which the numbers were presented.
He wrote that Wikipedia is "surprisingly accurate in reporting names, dates, and events in U. However, he stated that Wikipedia often fails to distinguish important from trivial details, and does not provide the best references.
He also complained about Wikipedia's lack of "persuasive analysis and interpretations, and clear and engaging prose". A web-based survey conducted from December to May by Larry Press, a professor of Information Systems at California State University at Dominguez Hillsassessed the "accuracy and completeness of Wikipedia articles".
The survey did not attempt random selection of the participants, and it is not clear how the participants were invited.
Experts evaluated 66 articles in various fields. In overall score, Wikipedia was rated 3. Wikipedia's articles were compared to a consensus list of themes culled from four reference works in philosophy.
No errors were found, though there were significant omissions. In each case Wikipedia was described as "largely sound", "well handled", "performs well", "good for the bare facts" and "broadly accurate".
One article had "a marked deterioration towards the end" while another had "clearer and more elegant" writing, a third was assessed as less well written but better detailed than its competitors, and a fourth was "of more benefit to the serious student than its Encarta or Britannica equivalents".
No serious errors were noted in Wikipedia articles, whereas serious errors were noted in one Encarta and one Britannica article. The article compared Wikipedia's content to other popular online encyclopedias, namely Britannica and Encarta.
The magazine asked experts to evaluate articles pertaining to their field. A total of four articles were reviewed by three experts. Wikipedia was comparable to the other encyclopedias, topping the chemistry category. The test was commissioned to a research institute Cologne-based WIND GmbHwhose analysts assessed 50 articles from each encyclopedia covering politics, business, sports, science, culture, entertainment, geography, medicine, history and religion on four criteria accuracy, completeness, timeliness and clarityand judged Wikipedia articles to be more accurate on the average 1.
Wikipedia's coverage was also found to be more complete and up to date; however, Brockhaus was judged to be more clearly written, while several Wikipedia articles were criticized as being too complicated for non-experts, and many as too lengthy.
It concluded, "The quality of content is good in all three cases" and advised Wikipedia users "Be aware that erroneous edits do occur, and check anything that seems outlandish with a second source.
But the vast majority of Wikipedia is filled with valuable and accurate information.
The paper found that Wikipedia's entries had an overall accuracy rate of 80 percent, whereas the other encyclopedias had an accuracy rate of 95 to 96 percent. It found that, in contradiction of this policy, many claims in these articles were not supported by citations, and that many of those that were sourced to popular media and government websites, rather than to academic journal articles.
The study found that while information in these articles tended to be accurate, the articles examined contained many errors of omission. They asked experts to rate article content with regard to accuracy, up-to-dateness, breadth of coverage, referencing and readability.
Wikipedia scored highest on all criteria except readability, and the authors concluded that Wikipedia is as good as or better than Britannica and a standard textbook.I was in your shoes just three years ago, and I realize how many boring and pointless assignments you get in college.
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