ACS, Wikipedia Put Chemistry
Topics in Student Hands
BY JAMI MATHEWSON
Wikipedia is one of the most-accessed online ref- erences in the world, with the free encyclopedia getting more than 500 million views every month. Yet its coverage of natural and physical sciences, such as chemistry, lacks substance. If
you look at Wikipedia’s list of featured articles— considered the
most accurate, complete, and neutral by Wikipedia editors— only
41 articles are related to chemistry. By comparison, you’ll find 591
comprehensive articles about military history and warfare. And
that’s just one example of many.
To increase public access to reliable scientific research, the Wiki
Education Foundation (Wiki Ed) is partnering with the American
Chemical Society (ACS) to support instructors and students in
researching and writing about chemistry topics on Wikipedia.
In its 16-year history, Wikipedia has evolved into a robust
resource that has become a valuable starting point for students
and researchers. More importantly, it has become a top reference
source for the public. Other than university libraries, people have
limited access to recent scientific research and discoveries. Yet
non-scientists, including policy-makers, frequently make decisions that can — and should — be informed by science.
Furthermore, anyone who is searching for information about
any topic, scientific or otherwise, is likely to find a Wikipedia
article at the top of web search results. Chemists and chemistry
students can help ensure that those searches yeild accurate,