Wednesday, November 15, 2017

#Wikipedia - #Retraction exposing big issues in #science

When a scientific paper is published, it is read and cited by other scientists to further on science. It is read and cited by Wikimedians to write articles and share the sum of all knowledge. The Wikicite project provides better tooling for using these papers as a source in Wikipedia articles, it is one of the more relevant developments in combatting fake news in Wikipedia.

However.. there is an issue with a substantial number of papers; they were retracted. There are all kinds of reasons possible but the bottom line is; they are not to be used as a source in Wikipedia because its findings are false.

The challenge: what papers are retracted, how are retractions and the reasons for retractions modelled and how will we find these papers in the Wikipedia sources. Knowing retractions and acting on them will be a fine art; one publisher in South Africa for instance was pressed to retract a book exposing the president. There will be so many issues exposed once retractions become part of the Wikipedia work flow. Failing to do so will be the worst we can do. We will not be sharing the sum of all knowledge, we will be sharing the sum of what we are told.
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