Apr 9, 2020

Measuring the quality of scientific references in Wikipedia: an analysis of more than 80M citations to over 800,000 scientific articles

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Joshua M NicholsonS. Rife


Wikipedia is a widely used online reference work which cites hundreds of thousands of scientific articles across its entries. The quality of these citations has not been previously measured, and such measurements have a bearing on the reliability and quality of the scientific portions of this reference work. Using a novel technique, a massive database of qualitatively described citations, and machine learning algorithms, we analyzed 1,923,575 Wikipedia articles which cited a total of 841,821 scientific articles and found that most cited articles (58%) are uncited or untested by subsequent studies, while the remainder show wide variability in contradicting or supporting evidence (2-40%).

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