Assessing the accuracy and quality of Wikipedia entries compared to popular online encyclopaedias :
« Previous studies, most notably the one carried out by the journal Nature in 2005, have sought to compare the quality of Wikipedia articles with that of similar articles in other online Encyclopaedias. In part as a result of the findings of such studies, Wikipedia has instigated a number of processes for assessing the quality of its entries, inviting readers and editors to rate articles according to criteria such as trustworthiness, neutrality, completeness and readability. Recently, Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales highlighted the value of conducting a study which analysed articles across both languages and subjects to allow differences in levels of accuracy and quality across language and subject domains to be identified. The results could inform editor recruitment efforts and the design of expert feedback mechanisms.
The size, scope and complexity of undertaking such a large-scale study necessitated gathering preliminary evidence to inform the methodology and design. It was therefore decided that a small-scale preliminary project would be essential to determine a sound research methodology, which is the reason that the present pilot study was undertaken. The present study, funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, presents the background, methodology, results and findings of a preliminary pilot conducted by Epic, a UK-based e-learning company, in partnership with the University of Oxford. »