An investigation by scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) and published in the magazine PLOS ONE has managed to make a representation of Science through Wikipedia, thereby showing the construction of knowledge carried out by this social platform, based on an open and collaborative dissemination model. A study based on the bibliographic references included in the entries of Wikipedia, in which its editors rely to grant rigor to their contributions.
In a previous work, the researchers carried out a similar study but focusing the attention only on the Social Sciences. In this first proposal they found a predominant presence of the History articles, as well as significant differences between Wikipedia and other academic settings. However, the social Sciences they only represent 5% of the articles cited in Wikipedia.
On this occasion, researchers have analyzed the Wikipedia In a global form. According to their conclusions, the citation phenomenon studied here differs from that of Scopus and that of other social media, offering the popular digital encyclopedia a different vision of Science. Likewise, the articles on Medicine and Biochemistry monopolize the main focus of attention, while those related to the Social Sciences and Humanities they have a lower presence.
Journal co-citation network based on Wikipedia article references. Main component of the network. The color corresponds to the area, but those with more than one appear white; the thickness of the edges reflects the degree of co-citation between the two. The titles of the 10 magazines with the highest brokerage value have been included.
To carry out the study, the researchers retrieved the bibliographic references from the Wikipedia in its English edition, which is the most extensive, in a period that covers from its beginnings to 2018. They identified and linked each of them to their magazine in the Scopus database and assigned it through it several thematic categories. In this way, they have generated as the main result different maps that show how articles and magazines are cited from Wikipedia, adapting the co-citation theory to this environment. In total, the sample used for the study is made up of 847 512 references included in 193 802 entries of Wikipedia citing 598,746 articles belonging to 14,149 magazines.
Differences between Wikipedia and Scopus
On the one hand, the results show differences between Wikipedia and Scopus, both in the coverage of the articles and in the citations that they accumulate, with which they have not been able to establish causality. Despite Wikipedia’s open approach, they also point out that Open access they only represent 13% of the total of the cited magazines, finding high impact ones among the most referenced, although with some differences compared to other social media.
Co-citation network of the 27 main fields after applying the Pathfinder algorithm. The nodes represent each main field; the size of the nodes corresponds to the total number of citations received, the color to the centrality of the eigenvector; and the thickness of the edges to the degree of co-citation.
While through the maps made they have portrayed the relationships that publishers establish between scientific articles and journals when they are cited together in the same entry. Thanks to this, it is possible to see how magazines are grouped under their four main areas (Physics, Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Life Sciences) and its interdisciplinarity, occupying a central position those of a multidisciplinary nature, where the role of Science, Nature, PNAS, PloS ONE and The Lancet. For their part, the disciplines are articulated around the Medicine and the Biochemistry, something that can also be appreciated at the specialty level.
This study has been carried out by researchers WArroyo Machado, Daniel Torres Salinas, Enrique Herrera Viedma and Esteban Romero Frías, and is part of the project BBVA “Knowmetrics – knowledge assessment in the digital society ”
Co-citation network of the 330 subfields after applying the Pathfinder algorithm. The nodes represent each subfield, their size is given by the total number of citations received, the color by the subject area (s) and the thickness of the edges by the degree of co-citation. The names of the 15 subfields with the highest brokerage value have been included.
Arroyo-Machado W., Torres-Salinas D., Herrera-Viedma E. & Romero-Frías, E. (2020) Science through Wikipedia: a novel representation of open knowledge through co-citation networks. PLOS ONE. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228713
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