The reliability of Wikipedia (predominantly of the English-language edition) has frequently been questioned and often assessed. The reliability has been tested statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia. Incidents of conflicted editing, and the use of Wikipedia for 'revenge editing' (inserting false, defamatory or biased statements into biographies) have attracted publicity.

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  • The reliability of Wikipedia (predominantly of the English-language edition) has frequently been questioned and often assessed. The reliability has been tested statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia. Incidents of conflicted editing, and the use of Wikipedia for 'revenge editing' (inserting false, defamatory or biased statements into biographies) have attracted publicity. A study in the journal Nature said that in 2005, Wikipedia's scientific articles came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors". Encyclopædia Britannica disputed the Nature study, and Nature replied with a formal response and point-by-point rebuttal of Britannica's main objections. Between 2008 and 2012, Wikipedia articles on medical and scientific fields such as pathology, toxicology, oncology, pharmaceuticals, and psychiatry were compared to professional and peer-reviewed sources and it was found that Wikipedia's depth and coverage were of a high standard.Concerns regarding readability were raised in a study published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a study published in Psychological Medicine (2012), and a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Because Wikipedia is open to anonymous and collaborative editing, assessments of its reliability often examine how quickly false or misleading information is removed. A study conducted by IBM researchers in 2003—two years following Wikipedia's establishment—found that "vandalism is usually repaired extremely quickly—so quickly that most users will never see its effects" and concluded that Wikipedia had "surprisingly effective self-healing capabilities". False information has sometimes lasted for a long time on Wikipedia. In May 2005, an editor sparked controversy by creating an article about John Seigenthaler that included false and defamatory statements. The inaccurate information remained uncorrected for four months. A biographical article on French Wikipedia portrayed a "Léon-Robert de L'Astran" as an 18th-century anti-slavery ship owner, which led Ségolène Royal, a presidential candidate, to praise him. A student investigation determined that the article was a hoax and de L'Astran had never existed. Journalists from a spectrum of publications have similarly been embarrassed by repeating mistaken or fake information. Wikipedia does not consider itself to be a reliable source. Many academics distrust Wikipedia but may see it as a valuable jumping off point for research, with many of the reliable sources used in its articles generally seen as legitimate sources for more in-depth information and use in assigned papers. (en)
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  • The reliability of Wikipedia (predominantly of the English-language edition) has frequently been questioned and often assessed. The reliability has been tested statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia. Incidents of conflicted editing, and the use of Wikipedia for 'revenge editing' (inserting false, defamatory or biased statements into biographies) have attracted publicity. (en)
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  • Reliability of Wikipedia (en)
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