Wikipedia is accurate says, er, Wikipedia study

A Wikipedia-sponsored ‘pilot study’ has praised the online Encyclopaedia’s accuracy and claims that it is better than Encyclopaedia Britannica.

For the record, if you wrote a page on Wikipedia about yourself, you would find that one of its teams of editors had deleted it for being advertising. However when Wikipedia commissions a study into itself and reports that it is wonderful, this is apparently ok.

The Wikimedia Foundation last November enlisted the e-learning company Epic and researchers from Oxford University to conduct what would be the first organised look at Wikipedia’s accuracy.

Before that, a 2005 report by Nature, showed Wikipedia had at least four mistakes per article in comparison to three for Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The results indicate that Wikipedia articles scored higher in each of three languages, and fared well in categories of accuracy and references.

English Wikipedia fared well against Encyclopaedia Britannica in terms of accuracy, references and overall judgement.

What makes us smell a rat is that the report said that there were little differences between the two on style and overall quality score. We were not aware that the Encyclopaedia Britannica articles were penned by a person with a crayon, like some of the wikipedia articles appear to have been. Nor does the Encyclopaedia Britannica employ people with faked doctorates or fake penis experts.

Epic states in its own press release that Wikipedia articles emerge commendably.

One of its advantages is that Wikipedia articles were more up to date than other articles and were generally considered to be better referenced.

Furthermore, they appeared to be at least as strong as other sources in terms of comprehensiveness, lack of bias and even readability.

You can read the report here