Peer-to-peer

Collaborative writing and editing at Citizendium

Cross-posted at Nautlius:

Biology Week, an online “open house” for biologists, biology students and other interested people, begins today (22 September) on Citizendium, a ‘next-generation’ wiki encyclopedia started by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger. (See this Peer to Peer post for a brief comparison of online encyclopaedias.)

From the Citizendium announcement: "during this week, biologists and anyone interested in the topic are invited to test the Citizendium system. Editors and authors from the project’s Biology Workgroup will be on hand to meet and greet new people on the wiki. “I strongly believe that the Citizendium system will be appealing to many scientists and scholars,” said Sanger. “Many of them just need to give it a try. Biology Week is an excuse for biologists to try out the system together.” Gareth Leng, a professor of Experimental Physiology at the University of Edinburgh, and Citizendium author and editor, described the project: ‘Our role will not be to tell readers what opinions they should hold, but to give them the means to decide, rationally, for themselves. The role of experts is critical—not to impose opinions, but to support accuracy in reporting and citing information’. "

The Citizendium, or “citizens’ compendium”, uses the same software as Wikipedia and is a public-expert hybrid project to produce a general reference resource. The community encourages general public participation, but makes a low-key, guiding role for experts. It also requires real names and asks contributors to sign a “social contract.” As a result, the project is said to be vandalism-free and, despite its youth (its public launch was just 18 months ago), has steadily added more than 8,000 articles.

Further information:

Citizendium website and press release about this project.

Biology Week homepage.

Sample article: Life, said to demonstrate the success of the collaborative-editing system.

(Thank you to Shirley Wu for alerting me to this project.)

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