Wikipedia and RePEc

Wikipedia is a well known crowd-sourced encyclopedia. It has an incredible wealth of knowledge which is often backed up by appropriate citations. Those citations may lead to material listed on RePEc. In fact, Wikipedia is currently the most important referrer to IDEAS (excluding search engines) and there are currently 1516 links to IDEAS and EconPapers, mainly on Wikipedia, and also on a few other projects, like Wikibooks, Wikiversity and Wiktionary. This number is gathered from the 57 languages with the most pages on Wikipedia. Of the 1524, 1363 resolve to author, book, article, chapter, software component or paper pages on IDEAS or EconPapers. The rest are mostly to service portals or to rankings.

The fact that a paper is mentioned in Wikipedia is not unlike a citation. Hence, IDEAS now links back to the appropriate Wikipedia page whenever possible. This can be found on the “lists” subfield on every IDEAS page. And for those curious about the distribution by language for the back-links: English 574, German 165, Spanish 83, Norwegian 48, French 48, Japanese 44, Bulgarian 41, Turkish 36.

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4 Responses to Wikipedia and RePEc

  1. “The fact that a paper is mentioned in Wikipedia is not unlike a citation.”

    Well, that is, if one counts a citation to one’s own work as a citation, indeed…

    I have noticed many spurious references to academic work on Wikipedia, i.e. links to work that is not the best in the field, is sub-par, too specialized or only tangentially related.

    I would think those are instance of an author linking to their own work.

    Note also that a lot of RePEc content is self-publishing, that is, “original research”, which is not to be used as reference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SELFPUBLISH#Self-published_sources

  2. Regarding your first point: in principle, an inappropriate reference in Wikipedia can be modified, right?

    Regarding the second point: Yes, not all material in RePEc is peer-reviewed, there is a substantial number of working papers. But seeing how frequently they are cited, it seems at least some are perceived to be of high quality. And yes, you can self-publish a working paper, for example through MPRA.

  3. “Regarding your first point: in principle, an inappropriate reference in Wikipedia can be modified, right?”

    Yes of course, in principle that is the case. In practice, it is another matter, especially if the author of the reference is adamant that it be preserved…

    “Regarding the second point: Yes, not all material in RePEc is peer-reviewed, there is a substantial number of working papers. But seeing how frequently they are cited, it seems at least some are perceived to be of high quality.”

    Yes, and I do not therefore necessarily agree with the policy by some Wikipedia editors who reject references to unpublished working papers from RePEc. I was simply stating that some follow this policy.

    “And yes, you can self-publish a working paper, for example through MPRA.”

    I did take advantage of this very welcome opportunity more than once :-)

  4. mooms says:

    Hi Christian,
    Great Idea! Hope we can generate serious world wide econometric
    wikipedian activity for RePEc!

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