Is Wikipedia Becoming a Respectable Academic Source?

Last year a colleague in the English department described a
conversation in which a friend revealed a dirty little secret: “I use
Wikipedia all the time for my research–but I certainly wouldn’t cite
it.”  This got me wondering: How many humanities and social sciences
researchers are discussing, using, and citing Wikipedia? — Lisa Spiro

When the subject is pop culture, political rumors, new internet trends, or if the author is clearly citing something way out of his or her subject domain (such as an engineer citing the literary origin of the term “robot” or a humanist explaining a geek joke) then I would prefer that the body of the paper identify that the source is Wikipedia, in which case I would register the link, absorb the fact that the author has just signaled that this point is simply explanatory and not crucial to the main argument, and I would move on.

But if a growing number of academics are using Wikipedia in their published scholarly work, then the “No Wikipedia, Ever!!” mindset requires re-examination.

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