Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Whereas many such projects seek to encourage input from everyone, others are adding in a layer of filter and publication. For example, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a Wikipedia-type approach, but with an additional layer of editing, so that ‘all entries and substantive updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they are made public’ ( In this way they hope to combine the power of user-generated content with the reliability of a scholarly reference work.
The demonstrable advantage of such open approaches to data gathering for specific projects is leading to this being an increasingly popular methodology. The problem for such projects is in gaining sufficient contributions, and knowing how to promote this and generate appropriate levels of interest will become a relevant research skill.

I'm dubious that this approach can work. User-generated content is either open or it's not. Individual curation efforts are a different thing.

Google+ discussion here


  1. I don't know - it kind of works in this example (and I was trying to illustrate how people were taking different flavours of openness as a methodology). But I think my reaction was similar to yours - it looks rather like a cautious academic approach to the whole thing 'we're going to adopt the wikipedia approach - but we don't want _anyone_ writing stuff'.
    But who knows, it may work in an academic context precisely because they feel more comfortable with this halfway house rather than the wild west web.

  2. You may be right, but if that;s the model in this case, it's neither an open or a crowdsourced approach if you effectively have to a member of the academic clique to participate.

  3. Yeah it's open-lite or rather open-heavy.
    In my defense (which is of course what I'm really concerned about) I think it does represent an example of how 'respected' researchers and institutions are taking elements of the open approach and constructing projects in ways that are different to what they would have done, say, 10 years ago