Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, April 07, 2006

Britannica vs. Nature, round III

First, a recap.

  1. Nature said: Wikipedia's science articles are surprisingly accurate -- only slightly less so than Britannica's. (And here are some errors in each; etc.)

  2. All the Wikipedia errors were corrected within a month or two.

  3. Britannica issued a salvo against the Nature article demanding a retraction.

  4. Nature defended the article, saying that because the study was conducted blind, any problems with its criticisms of Britannica entries also apply to its criticisms of Wikipedia entries.

Now Britannica has taken out large ads in the New York Times and Times of London reiterating their previous arguments. Ars has a good summary. (The degree of Britannica's insultedness about being compared to Wikipedia is itself a little insulting to this Wikipedia editor.)

1 comment:

Dr Zen said...

Even a cursory reading of Nature's more detailed material about the study illustrates that the errors found tend to be of a different nature. On a couple of the Britannica articles, the reviewer works hard to find something wrong, whereas some of the Wikipedia articles have glaring errors. Britannica's defence is also quite compelling to those who take a more neutral position. It's particularly notable that Nature redacted the reviews to remove some criticisms that *it felt* were minor.

It's quite amusing that the Wikipediphiles cherrypick their sources in this area just as they do on Wikipedia! It doesn't matter to you guys that in truth the Nature review was not the great endorsement for Wikipedia that it was spun as: hey, you have sources that say it was! But integrity has never been a forte of Wikipedia or Wikipedians either.

BTW, Britannica's response is also a lesson in *scholarship*. Wikipedia could learn from it but, full of your own self-importance, you don't choose to.

[[User:Grace Note]]