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Academic opinions of Wikipedia and Open Access publishing

Lu Xiao (Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Nicole Askin (Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 29 April 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine academics’ awareness of and attitudes towards Wikipedia and Open Access journals for academic publishing to better understand the perceived benefits and challenges of these models.


Bases for analysis include comparison of the models, enumeration of their advantages and disadvantages, and investigation of Wikipedia's web structure in terms of potential for academic publishing. A web survey was administered via department-based invitations and listservs.


The survey results show that: Wikipedia has perceived advantages and challenges in comparison to the Open Access model; the academic researchers’ increased familiarity is associated with increased comfort with these models; and the academic researchers’ attitudes towards these models are associated with their familiarity, academic environment, and professional status.

Research limitations/implications

The major limitation of the study is sample size. The result of a power analysis with GPower shows that authors could only detect big effects in this study at statistical power 0.95. The authors call for larger sample studies that look further into this topic.


This study contributes to the increasing interest in adjusting methods of creating and disseminating academic knowledge by providing empirical evidence of the academics’ experiences and attitudes towards the Open Access and Wikipedia publishing models. This paper provides a resource for researchers interested in scholarly communication and academic publishing, for research librarians, and for the academic community in general.



The authors thank Tatiana Vashchilko, Kinful Lartebea Aryee and Lindsay Baker for their assistance with the project. The authors thank the researchers who participated in the survey as respondents. This study is supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research and an internal research grant at the corresponding author's faculty.


Xiao, L. and Askin, N. (2014), "Academic opinions of Wikipedia and Open Access publishing", Online Information Review, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 332-347.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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