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Title: Peer Production and Academia: Faculty Perception and Practices about Wikipedia
Author: Aibar Puentes, Eduard  
Keywords: Wikipedia
Faculty perceptions
viquipèdia
wikipedia
percepcions del professorat
percepciones del profesorado
Issue Date: 20-Aug-2014
Abstract: Recent empirical studies show that Wikipedia is heavily and frequently used by over 80% of university students to carry out different assignments and tasks. However, the attitude of university faculty does not seem so positive: academics and scientists perceive Wikipedia with scepticism or cynicism and very few become editors. Though Peer Production projects share many features with traditional scientific practices there are also important differences regarding authorship, publication, and lay people involvement. The present movement towards Open Science and Open Research pleads for importing some peer production mechanisms into the realm of science and academia, but it is not clear whether both cultures and ways of knowledge production are fully compatible. This study is based on a large survey (913 valid responses) to all faculty members in two large public universities in order to analyze their perceptions, attitudes and practices on Wikipedia. Our results show that the overall quality of Wikipedia articles is highly valued and most faculty members are also regular users ¿ though they don¿t like to tell: Wikipedia seems to be for academics what porn is for polite dinner conversations. Few faculty members actually use it for teaching purposes. In the end, two important factors play a role in shaping faculty views: (a) their colleagues¿ perceived opinions and practices and (b) academic disciplines. Finally, we have detected signs of a certain conflict between standard academic procedures of knowledge building and the open collaborative model of peer production on which Wikipedia rests.
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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10609/39246
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