Top Wikipedia Editors To Get Free Access to JSTOR. Be Jealous.

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 26 2012 6:07 PM

Top Wikipedia Editors To Get Free Access to JSTOR. Be Jealous.

148205670
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales speaks during Wikimania 2012

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages

It's a match made in electronic academic heaven. JSTOR, the beloved digital scholarly journal archive usually available only to those affiliated with an educational institution, will now be available to top editors at Wikipedia. 

Wikipedia's official blog announced the partnership last week, citing a December 2011 survey that found 39 percent of Wikipedia volunteers considered the challenge of “finding reliable source material” as “one of the largest problems hindering their contributions.” JSTOR is an exhaustive database of source documents and published academic journals, so it’s easy to see why the most prolific Wikipedia editors would be eager to have access to it.

Advertisement

Steven Walling, an associate product manager at the Wikimedia Foundation who facilitated this partnership with JSTOR, told me that this partnership was something “our most prolific and valuable” members were asking for, and it was incredibly “advantageous” to both organizations to team up. He described this partnership with JSTOR as a means of increasing public confidence in the quality of information (and citations) posted on Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia gets a bad rap for being at times inaccurate and easily prank-able; the joke goes that the sources listed are usually the top Google searches, not actual scholarly material. If Wikipedia articles become more well-known for citing scholarly journals, however, these criticisms have a real chance of becoming moot.  

If you're like me and got all excited about becoming a Wikipedia editor in order to get access to JSTOR, however, it's not going to work. For now, only the top 100 contributors, who have collectively written a reported 100,000 articles, will get access to JSTOR for free. The program is only is in its “pilot” phase, though, so maybe one day in the future every editor can access the scholarly archive. As it stands right now, online users have limited free access to JSTOR, but maybe, given the open access movement, it will one day go the way of Wikipedia and be completely free.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Fruzsina Eördögh is a freelance writer covering digital culture and technology. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.