Wikipedia shapes language in science papers, an “RCT” study

March 17, 2018

All of a sudden, scientists become guinea pigs.

Nature News:

Thompson and co-author Douglas Hanley, an economist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, commissioned PhD students to write 43 chemistry articles on topics that weren’t yet on Wikipedia. In January 2015, they published a randomized set of half of the articles to the site. The other half, which served as control articles, weren’t uploaded.

By February 2017, the chemistry articles had together received more than 2 million views. The researchers then analysed the text of 50 of the highest-impact chemistry journals published by Elsevier to see whether the language used in scientific papers had shifted by November 2016, nearly two years after the Wikipedia articles were posted