Does Your Professor Have a Wikipedia Entry? Congrats! It Means Nothing

Oxford University has released a study indicating that no significant correlation exists between a scientific academic having a Wikipedia entry and being productive in their field. Study authors Anna Samoilenko and Taha Yasseri evaluated 400 biographical Wikipedia entries for academics in physics, biology, computer science, and psychology, and psychiatry. Entry metrics such as page length were compared against a researcher’s h-index, an indicator of how important an academic’s work is to their discipline that measures how many journal articles a researcher has written as well as how often other academics have cited their articles. “The analysis has shown that only a small percentage of researchers mentioned on Wikipedia (36 percent of biologists, 31 percent of computer scientists, 24 percent of psychologists and psychiatrists, and 22 percent of physicists) are notable according to the traditional means of evaluation,” the study says. In addition, the study assessed the number of each of the four fields’ most important researchers, based on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Research list, with Wikipedia entries. Fewer than half of the leading researchers across the disciplines had their own pages.

More info: The Atlantic (11/07/13) Robinson Meyer

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