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Wikipedia Science Your Rights Online

Arrangement With Science Publisher Raises Questions About Wikipedia's Commitment To Open Access 125

Applehu Akbar writes: Elsevier, the science publisher notorious for maintaining high-priced research journals in a time when web technology can accomplish the same tasks for a fraction of the price, has donated free ScienceDirect accounts to a select group of "top Wikipedia editors" as an incentive for citations referencing its paywalled journals. This arrangement is being criticized for its effect on Wikipedia's accessibility and openness. Ars reports: "...Michael Eisen, one of the founders of the open access movement, which seeks to make research publications freely available online, tweeted that he was 'shocked to see @wikipedia working hand-in-hand with Elsevier to populate encylopedia w/links people cannot access,' and dubbed it 'WikiGate.' Over the last few days, a row has broken out between Eisen and other academics over whether a free and open service such as Wikipedia should be partnering with a closed, non-free company such as Elsevier."
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Arrangement With Science Publisher Raises Questions About Wikipedia's Commitment To Open Access

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  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:05PM (#50521161)

    It's like Socrates once said:

    TO READ THIS CITATION PLEASE JOIN THE ELSEVIER PREMIUM PLUS PROGRAM BY CLICKING HERE

    And that's about all I have to say about that.

    Elsevier, the science publisher notorious for maintaining high-priced research journals in a time when web technology can accomplish the same tasks for a fraction of the price, has donated free ScienceDirect accounts to a select group of "top Wikipedia editors" as an incentive for citations referencing its paywalled journals. This arrangement is being criticized for its effect on Wikipedia's accessibility and openness. Ars reports: "...Michael Eisen, one of the founders of the open access movement, which seeks to make research publications freely available online, tweeted that he was 'shocked to see @wikipedia working hand-in-hand with Elsevier to populate encylopedia w/links people cannot access,' and dubbed it 'WikiGate.' Over the last few days, a row has broken out between Eisen and other academics over whether a free and open service such as Wikipedia should be partnering with a closed, non-free company such as Elsevier."

    • I think it's okay if they do this. Let's just make sure the IRS reevaluates their tax status, and that of their biggest donors...

    • It's like Socrates once said:

      "Ain't that a kick in the head?"

    • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:55PM (#50521491)

      ...a row has broken out between Eisen and other academics over whether a free and open service such as Wikipedia should be partnering with a closed, non-free company such as Elsevier...

      It's plain and simple --- Wikipedia has lost its compass.

      • It's plain and simple --- Wikipedia has lost its compass.

        Maybe that's so, but Wikipedia always had a badly functioning compass anyway.

        On average, it points about 22 degrees west of magnetic north, which was the "consensus" achieved among various editors about where the compass should point. An admin started a "sandbox compass" and after three weeks of edit wars, the "22-degree compromise" was drafted and largely holds. Well, except late on Friday nights, when edit wars erupt and the compass needle spirals randomly around.

        Some knowledgeable guy once tried to fix the compass and make it actually point in the right direction, but there were three editors "squatting" on the compass and yanking the needle to make it keep sticking to 22 degrees west of north. When asked why they kept doing this, they just say, "Well, I can get home with this compass, so why should we change it? We need a verifiable source, and some weird assumed location for an invisible 'magnetic pole' doesn't sound very reliable to me."

        Another guy even figured out a correction to post which would show how to find north even with Wikipedia's screwed up compass, but his contributions were deleted as "original research." Another guy tried to post the history of the compass and how it used to point differently from Wikipedia, but his contributions were declared "not notable" and summarily deleted forever.

        Oh, and periodically, the compass rose that decorates the Wikipedia compass is replaced by an obscene graphic surrounding the needle labeled "PENUS AND BALZ, YEAH!"... it often remains like this for hours or days until some editor notices and corrects the vandalism.

        But hey -- this is what you get when you have a free compass "that anyone can edit!"

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Again with the misinformation. Wikipedia is what it is, an open user edited internet encyclopaedia. Will problems arise with it's open nature, of course they will, it is inevitable, will problems be fixed because of it's open nature, yes, they always have been. Will more problems occur, absofuckinglutely, it is the nature of that open editing. So find a problem, publicise it, it gets fixed, rinse and repeat because you will be doing it for decades to come, problems and solutions.

        This one, it honestly cou

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:14PM (#50521627)

      Closed access sucks. Yes, these publishers' practices are bad. In fact, I have refused to sign up for one of these free accounts.
      But there's a really stupid trend on Wikipedia of opposing offline citations.
      I've been editing Wikipedia since 2006, and I've always made use of the best, most reliable sources.
      That includes some online stuff, but it also includes books, journals, newspapers, and other dead-tree material.
      That's how you build the best encyclopedia. Citing only stuff you can link to is one of the strongest ways to perpetuate systemic bias.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Closed access sucks. Yes, these publishers' practices are bad. In fact, I have refused to sign up for one of these free accounts.
        But there's a really stupid trend on Wikipedia of opposing offline citations.
        I've been editing Wikipedia since 2006, and I've always made use of the best, most reliable sources.
        That includes some online stuff, but it also includes books, journals, newspapers, and other dead-tree material.
        That's how you build the best encyclopedia. Citing only stuff you can link to is one of the strongest ways to perpetuate systemic bias.

        A study shows you are wrong. It is published in Obscure Paper Centennially, p 463, "Why AC's are usually wrong, but not only in the parent comment, not this one".
        You can get a copy by subscribing online, or sending a Money Order for $3999.99 to...

      • This AC parent deserves to be modded up. Wikipedia should cite the best sources possible, but closed access is bad. As a working scientist, I have been frustrated by unavailable publications countless times, and have suffered weeks of delays waiting for ILL to come through.

        On balance, I'm not sure if this Elsevier deal is bad or good. Propagating closed access is undesirable, but if Wikipedia ends up citing more reliable sources (i.e. lots of past research published in those journals) that editors would oth

        • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @09:05PM (#50522667)

          Wikipedia should cite the best sources possible, but closed access is bad.

          Here's the problem: the best possible sources are closed access, especially when we are talking about things in medical research and life sciences.

          It is beneficial for active content creators to have access to these.

          They will be able to create citations supporting articles on subjects that couldn't even be written otherwise.

          Notability is a frequent issue on Wikipedia with articles on important subjects frequently getting deleted, because high quality citations have not been made to establish their notability ---- citations good enough to meet the criteria are only available through closed-access sources, such as professional journals.

          Finally... the purpose of Wikipedia is to be the encyclopedia anyone can edit, Nobody ever said anything about the sources used by Wikipedia having to be the same

          It would hobble the encyclopedia and greatly limit its coverage, if only free citations can be used.

          I love the idea of a free encyclopedia..... and I love the idea of open access journals, BUT let's not delude ourselves into thinking that the canonical work in the sciences are always the open access articles.

          E.g. In article discussing relativity, I would much rather see the cite in the journal where Einstein actually published, than some 4th order / quarternary source that someone preferred since it was an online magazine article available free of charge.

          I would also point out... open access today doesn't mean open access tomorrow. Many times Online sources later go offline, or the publisher breaks the URL!

          Now, what would be really cool is if Wikipedia could get a fair use "Excerpting" / "Automatic clipping" service, where readers of an article could click on an "Excerpt" link by the citation and see an archived exceprt from the article from online or scanned version, with the cited portion highlighted in yellow, and a bunch of context.

          Then adopt a policy indicating that an excerptable source should be included for every referenced fact or assertion, when possible.

          • Of course. I agree with the parent and grandparent that Wikipedia should cite the best sources possible. However, the parent's suggestion that we then have to cite closed access sources is based on a dubious assumption.

            Here's the problem: the best possible sources are closed access, especially when we are talking about
            things in medical research and life sciences.

            I cannot judge for life sciences, but in my field of ocean modelling and climate research this is not true. Good sources used to be closed access sources, but more and more scientists prefer open access. Right now, in my field, open access journals (e.g. EGU's Geosci. Model Dev.) are at le

        • Same here. I have also been frustrated often because I/my university dit not have access to an article cited in another paper. As for Wikipedia: maybe it would be a good thing to mark the non-free citations somehow to make that fact immediately visible.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:06PM (#50521169)

    ...on tacking "-gate" on the end of every little dust-up? Just say no!

    I mean, what if some other Wikipedia scandal comes up, will we have to make WikiGate (disambiguation)?

    Call it "Wikipedia paid journal scandal" instead!

  • Time to fork Wikipedia. All we really need is Google to start pointing somewhere else for its #1 topic on (keyword).

  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:08PM (#50521187) Homepage

    Elsevier is the target of a boycott that's been going on for over 3 years now :

    http://thecostofknowledge.com/ [thecostofknowledge.com]

    (I've personally declined reviewing articles when I realized it was for an Elsevier journal).

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:17PM (#50521245) Journal

    Wikipedia will gain the ability to transfer closed knowledge into an open access model, citing back to the non-accessible source, spilling the closed-off knowledge into the open and strengthening us all.

    ...or else they'll refuse, and instead fill with lower-quality hearsay and loads of faulty common knowledge that's made its way into textbooks.

    That's a real thing. Hundreds of years ago, some idiot got it in his head that soaking in epsom salts was good for you, somehow; it eventually was said to "remove toxins", what toxins they may be never specified. Modern medical school repeats this, as many doctors have written their professional medical advice confirming the well-known effects of epsom salt baths on health in their ability to remove toxins from the body. Wikipedia can cite these texts to show that epsom salt baths have a biological cleansing effect, removing toxins from the body by drawing them out through the skin via osmotic pressure.

    Too bad it's all bullshit.

    A lot of studies carry information in contrary to what even professionals have put down in textbooks from their long heritage of professional knowledge. Much of that knowledge is bullshit, and much of that is known bullshit in the scientific field; too bad we can't access that information readily.

    Rather than bringing that information into open access, people want to avoid soiling their hands by contact with a name or ideal they dislike. These are the same people who would let millions of peasants starve because it goes against some inborn moral position of theirs to feed them, for example because the available food is pork and pork is unclean.

    • citation?

    • One day an open knowledge network will be created, it will contain what we know, how we know it, how to replicate how we know it, and what we do not know. It will be slow to grow. Painstaking to get any information added. It will be accurate to a fault. On that day, I will be happy.

    • Unless we can verify that the information is correct then that data is useless to us. We don't know how it was gathered and what assumptions were made. Would the /. community accept a story on here that announced a new malaria treatment without a link to any further details? No, it would be torn apart asking for details. That's what we're being asked to believe with these articles.

      What happens when an article get retracted or the online version gets updated? Are these few people going to be able monito

      • > We don't know how it was gathered and what assumptions were made

        Click "History".

        • I wasn't talking about the changes to the article in Wikipedia. I was referring to the information that was coming from the paywalled article. For example, if the Wikipedia article just has a brief statement about the results of a physics experiment we won't be able to see any information about how that experiment was performed and any assumptions that were made.

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            It's the editors/wikipedia authors' job to cite the sources to explain the work. If you need to reference the original source, then you are either researching the topic in greater depth, or working on the Wikipedia article.

            Either way, you're going to have to do some work to pull certain sources --- such as visits to the library, or purchasing books.

            The convenience of online sources where a link can be provided to full text is nice (As long as the free online publisher doesn't later take it offline and

      • Would the /. community accept a story on here that announced a new malaria treatment without a link to any further details?

        Yes. We do that with cancer treatments and HIV vaccines and shit. Some journalist hypes something up to an unbelievable level of bullshit. Hell, we do that with climate change science--which is filled with political maneuvering and data suppression from every direction, from the politicians trying to push a platform of the seas possibly consuming us to the oil companies buying information showing the temperature isn't even rising, right to the European Union trying to figure out why the earth has been *

    • > citing back to the non-accessible source

      We do this all the time, they're called "books".

      No, it's not different at all. Anyone can go to the local reference library and get any of these references. If you're complaint is that you can't do it for free from your compute, well join the 70% of the population of world that can't do that *ever*.

      Much ado about nothing.

      • I've seen citations of books and research papers that aren't even available in online sources--sometimes not even in the Library of Congress. They also tend to be old sources, and off their nut. There's still citation of a study (which nobody can find) about honeybees requiring 8 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of wax, while increasing wax production by 600% pounds seems to reduce honey production by 20%; it's acknowledged that measuring how much honey bees require to make wax is hard, because bees consta
  • A majority of scientific research is published in journals that are not open access. If Wikipedia is going to be a reliable source, it needs to rely on those publishers for scientific references just like the rest of world does. Now one of those publishers is giving free access to Wikipedia editors so that they can improve Wikipedia articles. This is bad???

    • by stooo ( 2202012 )

      Yes, this is bad. Science should be open for all.
      Fuck Elsevier, IEEE, and similar ones.....

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      Yes, it's bad when you can't access the references.
      No, you can't read the references... just trust me.
      "Citation needed"

      • You can access the references for free. You just need to go to a library. You may have heard of such a building, it contains books. Books are an archiac form of the internet where the web pages appear on pieces of paper.

        • by mspohr ( 589790 )

          Ah, yes. We have a small library in town but they don't have any Elsevier subscriptions.
          I would need to drive an hour or two to the nearest university library and somehow beg them for permission to access their collection.
          Not a viable solution for me (or many other people).

          • Ah, yes. We have a small library in town but they don't have any Elsevier subscriptions.

            If you could convince them there was substantial public interest in the paper, they might pay for a one-time download. Good luck! heh heh heh

  • If they are linking to the article, that generally gives at least
    • Article title
    • Authors
    • Date of publication
    • Journal name
    • Abstract

    Which isn't all of what you need, but it is a better start than nothing at all. I'd rather see a link to a journal I can't read than no link at all.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I completely aggree with that. You need to cite something. Is it different that it is a elsevier article or a paper edition of the new york time, or a book ? In all cases if you want to read it, you'll have to pay for accessing the information.

    • ... Which isn't all of what you need, but it is a better start than nothing at all. I'd rather see a link to a journal I can't read than no link at all.

      Tend to agree.

      I would prefer to have links to stuff I can actually use. But if I cannot view the actual citation, I would like the citation to be verified in a reputable source, perhaps a book (which I also generally cannot click to read), or a journal I cannot freely access on the subject.

      Wikipedia's guidelines ask that editors should use independent resource, but the policy notes that it isn't always the case. While the ideal is to cite references that are publicly available, sometimes those don't exist

      • Secondary sources tend to be write ups by people who don't necessarily understand what they're writing about and may misrepresent or distort the data, which then goes full circle and gets reported as established fact by other authors who think researching the Wikipedia article is sufficient to verify some information. This XKCD comic [xkcd.com] demonstrates the process by which this can occur.

        What we really should be doing is getting Congress to change the copyright terms for scientific research. Outside of a few s
  • If you get in bed with the devil, sooner or later you are going to have to fu....

    Did wikipedia just jump the shark?
    • Did wikipedia just jump the shark?

      I wish I had a nickel bag for every time someone said Wikipedia has "jumped the shark".

  • by UberVegeta ( 3450067 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:32PM (#50521357)
    As far as I can tell, access to IEEE journals isn't any better than that of Elsevier if your institution doesn't have the cash to pay for the particular journal you want to read. If you're a private citizen forget it, you're not going to fork over the $35 or whatever it is per article just to maintain an interest in the latest bleeding edge technologies. I'm doing a PhD at a leading UK engineering institution, and the view there is if you publish in something other than an IEEE journal you've failed. The stuff we publish by default becomes closed off to the majority of the literate public. Someone already posted the reasons Elsevier are singled out for criticism (http://thecostofknowledge.com/) but since most ACs won't read the details and limit the argument to equating paywall to evil, we really ought to start bashing IEEE publishing - which I would gamble many Slashdotters might actually want to read.
    • The stuff we publish by default becomes closed off to the majority of the literate public.

      Many journals now have a clause that you can put it on your website and distribute for non commercial purposes. All papers I've ever published are on my website, and I've yet to receive a single complaint.

  • by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:35PM (#50521363)
    This partnership says more about Elsevier than it does about Wikipedia. With so many researchers abandoning them, they are willing to make deals with Wikipedia, an organization they would have laughed at just a few years ago, just to maintain some kind of relevancy. I think it shows how desperate they truly are.
  • by Andreas Kolbe ( 2591067 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:38PM (#50521373)
    Wikipedia has many, many problems, but this is not one of them. An encyclopedia project has to reflect the current state of knowledge, regardless of where it's published. You can't just leave out all the bits that aren't Open Access.
    • Exactly. Not everything is free.
    • On the contrary. Any sources that are so obscure that they exist only behind a paywall...are automatically suspect. Good science requires reproducability, and good attribution requires multiple sources. If there is only one source, and it's behind a paywall, then the concept or idea probably hasn't really matured enough to be considered trustworthy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:38PM (#50521377)

    I run the Wikipedia Library program at the Wikimedia Foundation. We work with over 40 leading publishers including from multiple fields and languages, including Elsevier. We value this debate and the series of issues it raises.

    The Twitter discussion we had last week with Mr. Eisen was quite lively and included several responses from our perspective, including support from some prominent Open Access advocates who understand the pragmatic necessity of gaining access to these resources.

    This is a very important discussion for us--because Wikipedia itself is an Open Access, Open Knowledge project; yet, we are tasked with writing the best possible encyclopedia with the sources that exist today--so many (too many) of which are behind Paywalls.

    Our work with publishers brings that content to the public in a usefully summarized form whereas it otherwise would be completely unreachable for many. It's not perfect, but it's better than the alternative.

    We are also looking forward to a world in which knowledge is more truly free (including the sources and data underlying it), but meanwhile, we have an encyclopedia with 500 million monthly readers to write. In 2013 our medical pages alone were viewed 4.8 billion times--we cannot just wait for the publishing industry to transform, we also have readers who are coming to and relying on us today.

    We're trying to advance on both fronts, by working collaboratively with publishers, helping them to realize the value of opening up their content to the world.

    At the same time we are promoting open access as the future shape of knowledge in a world with fewer barriers for those who want to learn, research, and create.

    We have published guides to finding and supporting OA publishers on our Library main page, we promote full-text discovery tools like the Open Access Button, and we are co-hosting the upcoming Open Access Week global OA editathon with SPARC this October. Wikipedia also has its own very progressive open access policy regarding our publications and the research that we enable or fund.

    You can find all the information you need about our program and the eyes-open choice to work with publishers here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:WHYNOTOA1

    Thank you for bringing attention to this issue. It's important that the public engage in it and have a nuanced understanding of how complex and critical the evolving state of knowledge is today.

    --Jake Orlowitz, The Wikipedia Library (jorlowitz@wikimedia.org, @WikiLibrary)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Just want to clarify that I wrote the above post before creating an account.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wikipedia lives in the real world, and valuable content comes from all kinds of places, including companies we may or may not like. While it would be nice to think that leverage exists to get Elsevier to change its practices, that's at worst fanciful and at best a suggestion... hardly a scandal that. Or, as said best by James Hare of Wikimedia DC on Twitter earlier today: "Open access is not a suicide pact."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We are also looking forward to a world in which knowledge is more truly free (including the sources and data underlying it), but meanwhile, we have [money to make].

      Fixed it for you.

    • --Jake Orlowitz, The Wikipedia Library (jorlowitz@wikimedia.org, @WikiLibrary)

      So Jake, one question. Who was paid off? Who is it that is cashing in on million of hours of other people's effort? I suspect whoever it is will be quitting next year and getting a VP position at Elsevier.

      • by Andreas Kolbe ( 2591067 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:47PM (#50521827)
        Well, current partners of the Wikipedia Library project include Adam Matthew, BMJ, British Newspaper Archive, Cochrane, Credo, De Gruyter, DynaMed, Elsevier ScienceDirect, FindMyPast, HighBeam, HeinOnline, JSTOR, Keesings, Loeb, MIT Press Journals, Newspapers.com, OCLC, Oxford, Past Masters, Pelican Books, Public Catalogue Foundation, Project MUSE, RIPM, Royal Society, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Sage Stats, ScotlandsPeople, Questia and Women Writers Online. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        That's a lot of VP positions to fill ... ;) The fact is this came about quite differently. Volunteers had for years complained about lack of access to JSTOR et al.; Jake did something to remedy that. And he started out doing it as a volunteer himself. Credo, HighBeam and JSTOR were first; Elsevier came aboard later, as one of many. This was in no way Elsevier's initiative.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:40PM (#50521397)

    Wikipedia is taken over by asperger's obese hikikkomori admins who delete things as "not notable" even when they have thousands of sources avalible. Wikipedia tricked me into donating years ago and I am still waiting for my money back. Wikipedia is the "systemD" of encyclopedias.

    • I agree with you. I've tried to contribute to Wikipedia before, with sources, and every time my edits were reverted by some self-proclaimed editor whose pet article I happened to stumble upon. Most of the times it seems these "editors" want to push an agenda or a particular idea and will always revert anything contrary regardless of how NPOV it is or how many credible references there are.

      That being said I consider the people who run Wikipedia to be the same obsessive compulsive wanna-be dictators that run

      • That comparison to housing associations strikes a chord ... :)) It's one of the main attractions of Wikipedia: you get to define what X is FOR THE ENTIRE INTERNET. It's a particular type of personality that jumps at that chance (even though it often turns out to be a greasy pole).
  • WikiGate? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andreas Kolbe ( 2591067 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:53PM (#50521475)
    Calling this issue "WikiGate" reflects a rather single-minded focus.

    A few days ago, we learned that there was an extortion ring operating in Wikipedia – see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk] or http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk] and many others.

    A few months ago, we learned that a hoax article had survived for ten years on Wikipedia, and that its content had come to be cited in numerous places, among many other hoaxes: https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com] see also http://wikipediocracy.com/2014... [wikipediocracy.com]

    A few weeks prior to that, we learned that an administrator had managed to manipulate Wikipedia's articles on a bogus Indian business school over a period of years, with an Indian journalist estimating that Wikipedia had messed up thousands of students' lives by lending its brand's supposed credibility to the school's misleading propaganda: http://www.newsweek.com/2015/0... [newsweek.com] and http://scroll.in/article/71429... [scroll.in]

    Each of those would have deserved the title WikiGate more than this non-issue, which if anything actually helps improve Wikipedia's reliability.
  • I see a couple of motivations for Elsevier in doing this. One is that it encourages people to pay to see entire journal articles when they're cited on Wikipedia. The other is about image and trying to look good by donating access to otherwise expensive journals. Effectively, these editors are being compensated for writing on Wikipedia, which is a form of paid editing. I don't think it's strictly prohibited, but Wikipedia must disclose this in order to remain credible. Furthermore, those editors shouldn't be

  • Elsevier, the science publisher notorious for maintaining high-priced research journals in a time when web technology can accomplish the same tasks for a fraction of the price,

    Because providing access is all a publisher does, right?

    No. Top science publishing requires accessibility, good layouts, solid content, and excellent writing. Scientist make mistakes in content so we have peer review. Even more commonly, scientists aren't always excellent writers and this is why you have line editors. Publishers of

  • MySpace was the 800# Gorilla, then came Facebook. Yahoo lost to Google. Microsoft is going down hard. Wikipedia needs some serious competition. If they believe that any closed content is acceptable, then someone needs to bury them.

    • Wikipedia sure needs a competitor, though to me this isn't a good reason. It's simply because monopolies in information transmission are a bad thing, and because Wikipedia is wide open to anonymous manipulation. For all its talk about transparency, Wikipedia is the first encyclopedia where you are not told (and are not supposed to ask or find out) who's written the thing. There are often good reasons for this (some of the harassment editors experience is vile – rape threats, death threats), but the on
  • This sort of thing has been going on Wikipedia for some time. Some editors have dared to use books from a library for their sources! This would require other editors to purchase the book or to go to a library to check the reference! This kind of practice should be condemned. If the source can not be found with a Google search it should not be used!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't speak to what 'benefits' or 'incentives' Elsevier gave the 'wiki editors' for their linking, mentioning, or citing, but to me it screams as a conflict of interest and unethical. Disappointed to see that Science, or at least the reporting and propogating of such for informative purposes, has sunken to these levels, but with more monetary scrutiny than ever being put on scientific research, it was probably wholly inescapable.

  • I think I've seen this - - - somewhere 1) 'give' access to FOSS editors 2) wait for links to $ub$cribe 3) $$$$
  • "Wikipedia should be partnering with a closed, non-free company such as Elsevier"

    Never! Elsevier must die a sudden death and that real quick.

  • (1) Wikipedia needs to be putting up good articles which means using the _right_ references/links, not ones chosen by the wrong criteria, in this case by paid links. There will be some science where an Elsevier journal is the correct reference. There will be much where it is not. So this sort of thing can affect the integrity of the articles. That is the primary issue. Not the Elsevier link per se, but the fact that deals like this bias the content of the articles, and thus reduce their integrity. (2)
  • The fact that it has half-way useable information is both an accident and the only way it can continue to function for its original purpose: as a link-farm.

  • I dislike Elsevier's extortionate rates for information access as much as the next researcher and try to pay them as little as I can get away with. However, Wikipedia has only ever been a starting point for investigation into any topic. At best it may give you a fair understanding of the subject and/or the issues at play, but generally it serves as an aggregator and should not be construed as anything more definitive. As such, allowing citations of closed sources such as those from Elsevier is pretty much t

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