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Wikipedia: A Republic of Science Democratized

Shun-Ling Chen

Academia Sinica - Law Institution; Harvard University; University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

April 30, 2010

Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2010

This paper examines the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia and its novel model of knowledge-certification in making reference works. The traditional model of reference works operates in a closed and centralized structure, and obtains it authority from institutionalized publishing practices and from authors and reviewers with academic credentials. The Wikipedia model is an open and loose structure which encourages large-scale collaboration by volunteer editors, with or without academic credentials, and often anonymous. Nevertheless, Wikipedia has a set of behavior and content policies and guidelines to ensure its quality. For example, good editors should be able to provide citations and references, which are usually published sources. Although it does not privilege experts over lay editors, Wikipedia does not necessarily disrespect expertise, but only insists that content should be verifiable independent of the credentials of its provider.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 79

Keywords: Wikipedia, Online collaboration, Self-governance, Robert K. Merton, Michael Polanyi, Copyright, Free Culture Movement

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Date posted: May 2, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Chen, Shun-Ling, Wikipedia: A Republic of Science Democratized (April 30, 2010). Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1826325

Contact Information

Shun-Ling Chen (Contact Author)
Academia Sinica - Law Institution ( email )
Taipei, 11529
Harvard University ( email )
1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
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