The scientific journal Nature has rejected Encyclopaedia Britannica’s call to retract a paper comparing the web-based offerings of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia on scientific topics, published in the journal’s December 2005 issue. Encyclopaedia Britannica had accused the journal of misrepresentation, sloppiness and indifference to scholarly standards.
According to Nature, the original article consisted of asking independent scholars to review 50 pairs of articles from the Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica web sites. The source of the articles were not revealed to the reviewers and the subjects were chosen in advance to represent a wide range of scientific disciplines. Lists of factual errors, omissions and misleading statements pointed out by reviewers were compiled and tallied for each encyclopaedia. Nature further says that turning the reviewers’ comments into numerical scores did require a modicum of judgement, which was applied diligently and fairly.
Nature says Britannica had raised objections to the article in private a few months ago. The journal had, at that point, sent to Britannica every comment by a reviewer that served as the basis for assessing something as an inaccuracy. Though the journal was willing to discuss the issues, Britannica failed to provide specific details of its complaints, says Nature. No further correspondence was received by the journal from Britannica until the publication of its open letter recently. Read more
Posted by Katie Newman at March 31, 2006 2:17 PM