They sent 50 pairs of Wikipedia and Britannica articles on scientific topics to recognised experts and, without telling them which article came from which source, asked them to count the numbers of errors (mistakes, misleading statements or omissions). Among the 42 replies, Britannica content had an average of just under 3 errors per article whilst Wikipedia had an average of just under 4 errors â€” not as much difference, perhaps, as most people would expect.
Nature editors and reporters view this evidence in Wikipedia’s favor:
an expert-led investigation carried out by Nature â€” the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica’s coverage of science â€” suggests that such high-profile examples are the exception rather than the rule.
I see enough ambiguity in the findings for wikipediphiliacs and wikipediphobics to continue the raging debate. And that’s a fine thing. Some doctoral student will come along in 5-10 years and have a wonderful record of how the old media reacted to the technical changes (for better or worse) that wikipedia represents.
The big question, to me: Is the Wikipedia just serving as the lightning rod for a rant against the entire blogosphere, where accuracy is traded for speed, cost, and quantity?