Wikipedia’s democratic approach to creating and editing its encyclopedic entries is the scourge of any teacher who’s ever assigned a term paper. Its editing logs are filled with jokes, hoaxes, and misinformation. It’s one thing to read a rumor about Passion Pit stated as fact on the site, but its pages on scientific topics like medicine and climate change often contain serious inaccuracies, too.
In an effort to combat misinformed scientific entries on the site, Wikipedia is trying to recruit more actual scientists to contribute. Earlier this month, Wikipedia organized a two day science conference to bring researchers, avid Wikipedia editors, and programmers together to talk about how to make the site more factual.
That includes efforts like hiring a Wikipedian-in-residence, an expert who spearheads Wikipedia edits for an institution like the UK’s science academy, the Royal Society, or Spain’s National Archaeological Museum.
Because let’s face it. Wikipedia may not be the world’s most reliable resource for scientific information, but it is often the most accessible to non-academics. If people are going to get their medical information by Googling no matter what, we might as well try to make it as accurate as possible.
[h/t: Scientific American]