On Wikipedia, people sometimes write articles on their research topic or add their results to existing articles (probably in order to increase their visibility). I make this assumption if the Wikipedia user name matches the name of the researcher in some way.
Is this in general considered bad practice? (Note that there is a related question: Wikipedia article about PhD thesis, which is however different, since it concerns publication of results on wikipedia prior to their peer-reviewed publication)
There are some sections in the Wikipedia guidelines, that are important here:
- What is conflict of interest?: "Subject-matter experts (SMEs) are welcome on Wikipedia within their areas of expertise, subject to the guidance below on financial conflict of interest and on citing your work. SMEs are expected to make sure that their external roles and relationships in their field of expertise do not interfere with their primary role on Wikipedia."
- Citing yourself: "Using material you have written or published is allowed within reason, but only if it is relevant, conforms to the content policies,(...) and is not excessive. (...) When in doubt, defer to the community's opinion: propose the edit on the article's talk page and allow others to review it. However, adding numerous references to work published by yourself and none by other researchers is considered to be a form of spamming."
Proposing an edit on an article's talk page, however does not work, if you want to write a new article.
In the end, I came up with the following pro and con list:
- You are an expert in your field, and one of the goals of Wikipedia is to share your expertise
- You are thus leaving the ivory tower of science and try to explain your research to the people in a less scientific way
- People, who are interested in your method, will maybe google it, find Wikipedia and get a brief introduction in addition to the references to main articles
- While there is no obvious financial benefit, there is still some conflict of interest, since the gained visibility can help obtaining research grants etc.
- You are quite biased and less likely to add criticism to your own work or unfavorable comparisons to other methods.