Critical issues presentations/Open access research without peer review as reliable references in Wikipedia

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Submission no. 8
Title of the submission

Open access research without peer review as reliable references in Wikipedia

Author of the submission
  • Fabián Riquelme
Country of origin




  • references
  • peer review
  • open access

Since the 1990s, several alternatives to paid scientific publications have appeared. Nowadays, there are several repositories of open scientific articles, that we can use for free. Usually they are used by the researchers as a way to save a preprint, in order to ensure the authorship of some result; meanwhile, the same article is reviewed by other specialists in a paid scientific magazine. However, every day there are more researchers who choose to publish their results exclusively in these open access systems. Maybe the biggest problem is that these repositories have no peer reviews. This means that the articles could have some mistakes. Paradoxically, it is not difficult to find references to these articles in paid scientific publications. So then, why we cannot use them in Wikipedia articles?

In this talk I propose some good practices that can help to use properly these kinds of open access publications in Wikipedia, without violating our policies or guidelines of reliable sources. I plan to give a constructive example through some successful repository, like, which is administered by the Cornell University Library.

The motivation of this talk is the following. Wikipedia articles must not contain original research. Thus, every sentence should be verifiable, by supporting reliable references. These references may proceed from books, academic publishing, newspapers, or official websites. However, the cheaper and most available sources of information, such as newspapers and websites, typically don't cover specific scientific or technical issues.

The current reality is that most of books and scientific publications belong to big publishers and hence are expensive. For most researchers this is not a problem, because they work in institutions that often have access to electronic journals and specialized libraries. But it is an inconvenient for the editors in Wikipedia, as well as for the readers who want to verify the content of an article through their references.

But do not be alarmed. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Therefore, their scientific articles should be more like the state of the art of a thesis than the development of a scientific publication. We don't need to talk about the details of the proof of a mathematical theorem, but it is important to explain where this theorem was proved.


Not accepted