Study finds thousands of academic papers include Wikipedia citations

March 18, 2014

A University of Ottawa study reveals that thousands of peer-reviewed papers in medical journals have cited Wikipedia in recent years, and that the number has been increasing in the last 3 years. The paper’s authors say the Wikipedia citations “even in some of the world’s most influential medical publications” could spread misinformation and “potentially affect care of patients.” “The biggest surprise was the trend,” says lead researcher and Ottawa Hospital Anesthetist Sylvain Boet “It’s exponential…it goes against all the principles of scientific reporting and referencing.” Boet says that while it is common for medical students and young doctors to turn to Wikipedia as an initial source, the problem is that “there is no guarantee the information at any given time is…wholly accurate, and a Wikipedia entry cited by a journal paper one day may be quite different soon after, unlike a conventional article or book.” National Post