Sunday, December 09, 2018

#Science; I can read

The basis for what Wikipedia articles offers are its sources. Those sources can be anything and when we want to know the veracity of what we read, the sources have to be available. Not only that, we rely on those sources to be consistent and we rely on those sources to be readable.

When sources are on the web, the Internet Archive will have iterations of a source available in its Wayback machine. It ensures that sources remain available and thereby much of the integrity of Wikipedia is maintained.

For scientific sources we are unlucky. Reading a scientific paper can set you back $45,- and it only allows you to read that paper for a day.. In effect all such papers cannot be read; we "have to" trust them and there are plenty of papers that are extremely problematic and also expensive to read.

Many papers are increasingly FAIR. They are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. The best first line partners we have are again the Internet Archive and ORCiD. Organisations like the Biodiversity Heritage Library store scientific papers at the IA thereby making them available for as long as the IA exists. ORCiD is where living scientists identify themselves and if they so choose, the publications they (co-)authored. It makes them and/or their papers findable. The papers typically include a DOI making them accessible. After that it is anyone's guess if you can actually read them.

Scientists that are open about their work may find that they and their work found its way into Wikidata. For Karsten Suhre this was done; his scientific work is represented in his Scholia and many of his co-authors have been automatically added from ORCiD and have been processed as well. His co-authors that are not as open are largely missing but that is only Fair; I do not volunteer to promote them.

What Wikidata has is not representative of all of science but it increasingly represents the science that is open access, the science that I can read, that you can read that is for all of us there to read. The science that deserves to be used as sources in Wikipedia. We can read.

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