A wiki whose topic is some field of academia. Examples include the original WikiWikiWeb that originated in the software design pattern community (although it is not strictly academic), IcdnsWiki, ReengineeringWiki, NeuroWiki, AiWiki, WeblogKitchen, IaWiki, and SimpleScienceWiki. WikiPedia is a borderline case.
My personal feeling is that some form of stronger AuthorshipCredit needs to be developed for this to work. if a wiki was used to host professional academic discussion, it may be good if author's names were noticably attached to their contributions, because if their contributions were anonomyzed, they may feel that spending a lot of time on the wiki would be counterproductive to the eventual goal of getting enough CommunityRecognition? to achieve tenure (i know i would).
My personal connection to these questions is NeuroWiki, which i have started and am (very slowly) building. there are few other users right now, but perhaps someday it will become used by a least a noticable minority of the computer-savvy neuroscience community. In this case i would of course like some credit for the time i am spending to build the beginnings of the wiki; however, i do not host the wiki on my own machine, and i am not even a phD student in the field yet, so i would expect my influence would rapidly wane once full time professors starting taking part in NeuroWiki.
in my case perhaps the problem is solved simply by noting somewhere that i started the thing. but one has to generalize my problem and look at the case of someone who is not the founder but merely a very helpful wiki citizen. in addition, one would not want each professor in a given field to run off and start their own wiki because it is the only way they will get any credit. -- BayleShanks
this whole credit grab thing is of course very selfish in the first place, which is why, i think, it will be hard to mesh with the wiki framework (i am not sure that AssumeGoodFaith will work in an academic setting as there are such strong incentives for academics to subvert the system). unfortunately, academics are expected to actively accumulate respect and name recognition while they pursue their research. i think getting credit for time spent helping with a wiki is a necessary for academics to be able to justify spending significant time in a wiki. i don't think wikis will take off in academia without some sort of credit framework being in place.
See SunirShah's presentation at ASIS&T '04. http://sunir.org/meatball/AcademicWiki/asist04.ppt
On the other hand, complicated TechnologySolutions are almost definitely the wrong answer. Why should Dr. Genius lead the wiki? Even academics have directors that are better at managing than academia. To me, giving people the appropriate credit is a softer management problem rather than a harder technical problem. Making it a technical problem would only break the wiki completely because it's designed against ownership, and consequently credit, and consequently singular responsibility. Wiki:CodeOwnership is evil; it may seem cool to cowboy while he's getting all the credit, but it's devastating to TheCollective if he's malfeasant.
Perhaps you can change the technology to suit your goals. Perhaps you can change your goals to suit the technology.
I believe that wikis can be very useful in the process of writing scientific papers, at least those with several authors involved. Perhaps for that purpose the discussion about AuthorshipCredit is a minor one, because such wikis will be mostly closed. However, what I am thinking about right now trying to use UseMod for writing a paper, is a WikiToLatex script. That would be really neat. -- DavidAndel
SebPaquet's short essay [Personal knowledge publishing] discusses the advantages (and disadvantages, although he's clearly for it) of publishing one's ideas online in academia.
The suggestions on this page (that is stronger authority etc) look very much like the [Noosphere's Authority Model]. See also the results of this model: [PlanetMath] and [Noosphere Homepage].
The desirablility of a ruling cabal also should be discussed. It seems to me that a ruling cabal would take the place of a GodKing on academic wikis, for the simple reason that the host of the wiki may not be one of the top ten most respected members of their field, and hence would not get the same sort of respect as GodKings usually do.
Note some other pages that touch that topic, UniversityWiki may be a good starting point for them. There seem to be a number of different viewpoints to look at the problem.
I think what's really interesting is the threat that the academy is perceiving (at the same time, while many, many academics are embracing and using wikis for classwork, etc.) A lot of the recent press about Wikipedia came from librarians or academics complaining that wikipedia wasn't credentialed, or peer-reviewed, or is terribly inaccurate (despite the Nature article announcing it was nearly as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica.) I think the issue is that it exposes the processes of normalizing information -- being able to read all the revisions subtly teaches the user that any information you may read has been revised, has been edited, and is, first and foremost, comes from a certain historical context and approach -- it has not always existed, and is not necessarily true. That wikis are teaching those critical thinking skills may be even more worthwhile, fundamentally, then the information we are sharing or collecting from wiki information websites.
I write all this because I was working on a research project about wikis and online mobs, and have been trying to explore this ideas by writing them on other wikis (a self-reflexive wikis about wikis). It has been an interesting experiment -- finding wikis with interesting information, finding ways to express the thoughts -- knowing that they may change and change again. (Like our own thought processes). If you're interested, read more at .