A large part of the work in writing a paper in my field (theoretical CS and economics) is writing the introduction, the problem description, the motivation, and the related work. A large part of this writeup repeats in different articles studying a similar problem; thus there is a waste of effort. I thought of initiating a journal in which the authors will be instructed to base this part of their papers on relevant Wikipedia pages. Each article would start with a paragraph such as the following:

"This paper extends the Wikipedia article ABC (version from date of submission). Our contributions are as follows: (a) we prove that the ABC theorem is valid not only for $n=2$ but also for $n=3$. (b) We refute the ABC conjecture for $n=4$. (c) We present an efficient algorithm for solving the ABC problem for the case $n=2$.

The authors are responsible for ensuring that the Wikipedia article at the date of submission is uptodate, contains a complete problem statement, and all relevant related work. The referees will have to verify this. Then, the rest of the paper will be verified as usual. If the paper is published, then the new contributions will be added to the ABC page.


  • The literature survey will be done only once, and it will be kept uptodate.
  • The notation will be uniform (based on the Wikipedia article).

Current journals will probably not agree to this scheme. But can it work with a new journal? Is this scheme reasonable?

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    I don't think most of today's research is relevant for Wikipedia (today) and should be added there (imo against Wikipedia guidelines)
    – user111388
    Oct 22 '20 at 17:14
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    Would Wikipedia agree to this scheme? Could you really have a journal (which will not be super-prestigious) where all the statements of the problems are notable enough to be mentioned in Wikipedia? Oct 22 '20 at 17:15
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    I think it would make more sense if the journal itself had its own wiki with the common contents on it. Wikipedia itself has its own policies, you can't enforce that the authors will take care of editing the Wikipedia pages to comply with your journal requirements if they don't have control over the wiki's contents (e.g., anyone can roll back their edits).
    – Miguel
    Oct 22 '20 at 18:32
  • @Alexander Woo: I don't know about theoretical CS and economics, but in math it is not difficult to think of topics on which many papers have been written (sometimes even one or more books) that presently have NO details in any Wikipedia article, at least as far as I can determine. The very first thing I tried is an example --- lineability in a vector space. The 4th topic I tried is another: uniform rectifiability (only mentioned in a few mathematician's bios). Oct 22 '20 at 18:39
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    So what are you supposed to do if you do not like the Wikipedia page for that topic? For instance, because it uses a notation that you find ineffective, it contains statements you disagree with, or cites a lot of content that you do not consider relevant (and if such a journal becomes relevant, it seems likely that everyone and their cat will add shameless advertising to Wikipedia pages). Oct 22 '20 at 20:15

There are already three journals very similar to this idea:

There is even a UserGroup in which these are operated.

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    The links provided show this answer is wrong. Why did people upvote this? Oct 23 '20 at 7:43
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    Because the Wikijournals are close enough to the OP's suggestion, while respecting Wikipedia's rules and using the same format as Wikipedia. Oct 23 '20 at 9:21
  • very similar to this idea -- not really
    – henning
    Oct 24 '20 at 6:35
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    While it is not exactly what I had in mind, it is a very interesting step in that direction. The fact that it is open-access and uses the Wikipedia format makes it easy - both legally and technically - to copy & paste content to and from Wikipedia. Oct 25 '20 at 9:37

No, this will not work. You claim

A large part of this writeup repeats in different articles studying a similar problem; thus there is a waste of effort

but the effort wasted is actually not so big compared to the extra effort required to coordinate publishing with a wiki.

Furthermore, Wikipedia users will be editing the wiki with different goals in mind than the goals of your journal's authors. Wikipedia is not meant for containing problem statements.

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