As I was reviewing material for my class on Wikis tomorrow, I ran across this in an article by Karl Kapp, Embracing Informal Learning: Understanding the tools of informal learning and their impact on organizations. On page 8 he shares this:
The British journal Nature—a reputable scientific journal first published
in 1869—published a peer-reviewed article examining a range of scientific entries in both the Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia through a rigorous peer review process and found few differences in accuracy. "The average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three ." The researchers found eight serious errors such as misinterpretations of important concepts in 42 reviews, there were four such errors found in each encyclopedia. Additionally, the reviewers found factual errors, omissions or
misleading statements in both. Wikipedia had 162 of these types of errors. The Encyclopedia Britannica had 123.
Essentially, the accuracy of the paper-based encyclopedia created by
paid editors and researchers was about the same as the collective encyclopedia created by visitors to the Wikipedia site—volunteer writers and editors  The implication? Collective knowledge is as accurate, reliable and helpful as edited and carefully reviewed knowledge. The openness of Wikipedia and wikis in general
helps to ensure accuracy. When a person browsing the site sees something they believe is wrong, they update it. The openness of the information ensures its accuracy. The concept of freedom of the press taken to the nth degree and it works.
It got me thinking. Am I telling my students to only trust people who are well paid to share information?