January 23, 2022

PLOS ONE Introduces “Topic Pages” Written with “Wikipedia in Mind” (“Peer-Reviewed Physics for Wikipedia”)

From the PLOS One Blog:

2019-01-04_12-57-51Science Wikipedia pages aren’t just for non-experts. Physicists – researchers, professors, and students – use Wikipedia daily. When I need the transition temperature for a Bose-Einstein condensate (prefactor and all), or when I want to learn about the details of an unfamiliar quantum algorithm, Wikipedia is my first stop. When a graduate student sends me research notes that rely on unfamiliar algebraic structures, they reference Wikipedia. The influence on academics is even directly apparent in their publications: Language from Wikipedia articles has been found to influence the language of academic papers after just a couple years.

Despite Wikipedia’s importance as a resource for both practicing physicists and the wider community, it is rare for professional physicists to contribute, in part because there are few, if any, professional incentives to do so. We’re all in agreement that researchers should receive proper attribution for our work (which is why PLOS ONE supports ORCID); and as credit is not given for submitting or editing Wikipedia pages, only a small fraction of the physicists that I asked about this have edited even a single Wikipedia page.

With this in mind, we’re excited to introduce PLOS ONE Topic Pages, which are peer-reviewed review articles written with Wikipedia in mind. These provide opportunities for author attribution and will result in both journal articles and Wikipedia pages of high quality and utility.

Topic pages are 2-stage publications:

  1. A peer-reviewed ‘article’ in PLOS ONE, which is fixed, peer-reviewed openly via the PLOS Wiki and citable, giving information about that particular topic.
  2. That finalized article is then submitted to Wikipedia, which becomes a living version of the document that the community can refine, build on, and keep up to date.

PLOS Computational Biology has created similar topic pages, findable through this collection.

Topic Pages combine features of Wikipedia (e.g., a living document, hyperlinking) with services associated with top-tier journal publications. Examples of these services include editing by active physics researchers (PLOS Academic Editors such as myself), peer review, open access, and visibility associated with PLOS ONE. Importantly, Topic Pages are citable, with citations indexed by standard citation indices.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (Including Details on How to Contribute)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.