Friday, January 05, 2007

Scholarpedia - the free peer reviewed encyclopedia

The quality and credibility of Wikipedia, the free user created encyclopedia, provokes healthy debate inside the walls of academia. Some professors will not allow students to cite sources from the website, while other instructors encourage students to not only cite sources, but to also contribute to the content of the wiki. In the online faculty training course that I facilitate at BGSU, we discuss the pros and cons of wikis. One point that is often brought up is that academics should lead the charge in reviewing, critiquing, and contributing content to the encyclopedia.

An option that bridges the open world of wiki's and peer reviewed academic journals is Scholarpedia, a free peer reviewed encyclopedia written by scholars from all around the world.
"Scholarpedia feels and looks like Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Indeed, both are powered by the same program - MediaWiki. Both allow visitors to review and modify articles simply by clicking on the edit this article link. However, Scholarpedia differs from Wikipedia in some very important ways: Each article is written by an expert (invited or elected by the public). Each article is anonymously peer reviewed to ensure accurate and reliable information. Each article has a curator - typically its author -- who is responsible for its content. Any modification of the article needs to be approved by the curator before it appears in the final, approved version." -

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