The New Scientist recently reported that a group of physicists and the American Physical Society (APS) are having a disagreement over inclusion of derivative materials on Wikipedia and other, more specialized wikis. Peter Suber has a good analysis of the controversy.
Overall, it seems like the issues are being addressed in a reasonable way.
It served to remind me of Wikipedia’s policy against original research publication. I particularly like their prohibition against original thought. This policy makes perfect sense for a reference work, and clearly defines its mission and role.
It also led me to consider a couple of questions outside the realm of rights and permissions:
- With so many outlets for processed, synthesized information, does the value of a single, coherent, unified report of original research findings go up, go down, or stay the same?
- Does it make anyone uncomfortable that the authors of original research would be inserting their own findings into a larger reference work?