Wikipedia and open access
peter.suber's bookmarks 2023-05-24
Wikipedia is a well-known platform for disseminating knowledge, and scientific sources, such as journal articles, play a critical role in supporting its mission. The open access movement aims to make scientific knowledge openly available, and we might intuitively expect open access to help further Wikipedia's mission. However, the extent of this relationship remains largely unknown. To fill this gap, we analyze a large dataset of citations from Wikipedia and model the role of open access in Wikipedia's citation patterns. We find that open-access articles are extensively and increasingly more cited in Wikipedia. What is more, they show a 15% higher likelihood of being cited in Wikipedia when compared to closed-access articles, after controlling for confounding factors. This open-access citation effect is particularly strong for articles with low citation counts, including recently published ones. Our results show that open access plays a key role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge, including by providing Wikipedia editors timely access to novel results. These findings have important implications for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of information science and technology.
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