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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(Database issue):D9-12. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr1195. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Making your database available through Wikipedia: the pros and cons.

Author information

  • 1HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus, 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA, USA. finnr@janelia.hhmi.org

Abstract

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is the most famous wiki in use today. It contains over 3.7 million pages of content; with many pages written on scientific subject matters that include peer-reviewed citations, yet are written in an accessible manner and generally reflect the consensus opinion of the community. In this, the 19th Annual Database Issue of Nucleic Acids Research, there are 11 articles that describe the use of a wiki in relation to a biological database. In this commentary, we discuss how biological databases can be integrated with Wikipedia, thereby utilising the pre-existing infrastructure, tools and above all, large community of authors (or Wikipedians). The limitations to the content that can be included in Wikipedia are highlighted, with examples drawn from articles found in this issue and other wiki-based resources, indicating why other wiki solutions are necessary. We discuss the merits of using open wikis, like Wikipedia, versus other models, with particular reference to potential vandalism. Finally, we raise the question about the future role of dedicated database biocurators in context of the thousands of crowdsourced, community annotations that are now being stored in wikis.

PMID:
22144683
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3245093
Free PMC Article
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