This summer, in collaboration with others, I’ve decided to embark on a new project – a wiki specifically for academic research. Our goal is to build a wiki that will contain concise, comprehensive, and up-to-date reviews of academic literature. If you want to join in this endeavor, email me at deryugeT~[Qs}&L5cUEp^in@ill/(W+76w_mF’BQx$3inois.edu.

We think there are at least four reasons to create a separate academic wiki rather than integrate literature reviews into Wikipedia.

First, a synthesis of a particular strand of academic literature likely requires a different format than Wikipedia aims for. While Wikipedia in theory contains comprehensive information, its articles often do not go into sufficient detail for an academic audience. The articles are also not exhaustive when it comes to sources of information – if numerous sources contain similar information, only one or a few are referenced.

Second, because Wikipedia articles are not solely focused on the academic literature, they could contain a lot of irrelevant information, making them less useful as an academic reference.

Third, Wikipedia’s core content policy of “No Original Research” (NOR) bans research synthesis that would “contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources.” One of our goals is to help elaborate consensus by synthesizing research areas, potentially reaching positions that are not advocated in the source material.

Fourth, a wiki managed primarily by the academic community will give us more control in designing rules and policies that are most effective for academic content.

We believe that the cooperative and open-source nature of this knowledge will enable a more widely shared and agreed upon set of results that will carry with them the weight of an entire community.