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

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 9:19 AM Alibaba’s Founder on Why His Company Is Killing It in China
  Life
Quora
Oct. 2 2014 8:27 AM How Do Teachers Kill the Joy of Reading for Students?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 2 2014 9:08 AM Demons Are Real A horror movie goes behind the scenes on an Intervention-like reality show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 2 2014 7:30 AM What Put the Man in the Moon in the Moon?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?