5

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.

Advantages:

  • 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?

12
  • 5
    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, 2020 at 17:14
  • 3
    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, 2020 at 17:15
  • 2
    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, 2020 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, 2020 at 18:39
  • 2
    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, 2020 at 20:15

3 Answers 3

10

There are already three journals very similar to this idea:

There is even a UserGroup in which these are operated.

5
  • 3
    The links provided show this answer is wrong. Why did people upvote this? Oct 23, 2020 at 7:43
  • 4
    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, 2020 at 9:21
  • very similar to this idea -- not really
    – henning
    Oct 24, 2020 at 6:35
  • 3
    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, 2020 at 9:37
  • @ErelSegal-Halevi I'm not so sure this format supports copy and pasting from Wikipedia articles... why is that so core to your idea?
    – sErISaNo
    Aug 3, 2023 at 3:04
6

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.

0
-4

Yes, this will work. (If you do it, you will see that this is true.)

Contrary to what the answer above wrote, it's simple and not costly to make it work because anyone can edit Wikipedia. So whatever content you want to put on Wikipedia you are allowed to put it there. Generally, and by design. You are in fact very welcome for Wikipedia is meant to be edited by anyone under any personal/selfish goals except those contrary to what is explicitly banned.

Also, notability is a completely gray concept in Wikipedia and is usually enforced this way: if you have budget for a journal you can expect your budget to pass WP:N's muster. (since the threshold has been found to be entirely subjective) One might guess that the enforcement follows the rules, but longtime users know it's the other way round. Just today I came across yet another article ("Phrasal template") that is up (notable) and has been up for over 15 years.

One small disadvantage is that someone will come alone and remove/edit your content (because anyone can edit). This is [by design] feature-not-bug as far as Wikipedia is concerned; whether there are trolls camping at your particular topic/subject is irrelevant.

It's a small con because typically every single log is kept. So all you have to do when there is a (slightest bit of) fork is to incorporate it (aka edit over) which is in fact what a wiki is all about, that is, collaboration with the world. I understand sometimes one simply does not have the time budget to bother incorporating foreign changes and deadlines are yesterday in which case you can simply revert it to your wanted version with your new patch on that thus passing the buck to the other side to do "that incorporation work" from the new outstanding version, accepting that they might also be in the same situation which means that new outstanding version may also be reverted tomorrow unincorporated.

Note that one faux pas is to revert a fork while adding no new content (and without prevailing in talkpage discussion that can get incredibly lengthy; you don't have to prevail/bother with discussion btw if you have new content to add, and in fact there are many users/accounts who have a policy of zero-discussion (which you might find helpful, depending on your goals) which is completely accepted, and Wikipedia is really huge when contrasted to SE and other forums where user types can be rounded up into 3 or 4 types at most and people/culture is only allowed to think either Left or Right, and contains probably 30 or 40 different cultures of users and more, of which only the metapedian is the most visible). Note that if you habitually do this you can actually get banned. But this is also not a con since you don't have to do that as every single log is kept so if your journal is that infrequent that between your edits there is already a fork trying to survive, you can actually just ignore the fork simply by referencing specifically the version you want (thus from the default POV, it is you trying to survive; until your next article update, which will come till your journal is dead) and articles are never complete).

Finally, re "If the paper is published, then the new contributions will be added [to the page]"; Win-win !

3
  • 1
    What do you mean by "fork" here? As far as I understand there are no branches on Wikipiedia: the history is linear with only one most recent version at each time. Aug 2, 2023 at 6:42
  • I didn't italize <fork> as I think it has a pretty standard meaning pastebin.com/CJf8NHcW ¶ In the page linked, ""use common sense, and do not participate in edit wars"" is what I meant and failing to do so can actually get you banned. as I've already mentioned.
    – Pacerier
    Aug 2, 2023 at 21:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .