Wikipedia is a website which offers users the choice to edit, format and publish articles about any topic that may be included in an encyclopaedia.
As there is no restriction concerning the type of qualifications or bias of any given author, the articles are considered to be less credible and not suitable for academic work(Fogg, Marshall et al. 2001). For instance, a company such as Nike or Coca Cola may decide to pay an employee to edit their Wikipedia page to reflect a biased opinion of their organisation. Furthermore, an individual may decide to deface the contents of the page of a celebrity against whom they bear a grudge.
Moreover, there is no recognised peer review process for the content published. This makes the content less likely to be useable as a trustworthy source for any academic work(Fogg, Marshall et al. 2001). There is also no requirement for the inclusion of references for any article. This makes them harder to independently verify, hence less dependable as valid sources.
In addition to this, some of the information contained in Wikipedia is hard to verify independently. This makes it less likely that any information published on the site will be open to verification once it used in academic work. Some academic works rely on the premise that if an experiment is conducted under the same conditions, the results should concur. The lack of a scientific method in many publications on Wikipedia also makes the site less credible as a source of information.
Fogg, B., et al. (2001). What makes Web sites credible?: a report on a large quantitative study. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM.
Fogg, B., et al. (2003). How do users evaluate the credibility of Web sites?: a study with over 2,500 participants. Proceedings of the 2003 conference on Designing for user experiences, ACM.