Wind power research in Wikipedia. Does Wikipedia demonstrate direct influence of research publications and can it be used as adequate source in research evaluation?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper is a result of the WOW project (Wind power On Wikipedia) which forms part of the SAPIENS (Scientometric Analyses of the Productivity and Impact of Eco-economy of Spain) project (Sanz-Casado et al. in Scientometrics 95(1):197–224, 2013). WOW is designed to observe the relationship between scholarly publications and societal impact or visibility through the mentions of scholarly papers (journal articles, books and conference proceedings papers) in the Wikipedia, English version. We determine (1) the share of scientific papers from a specific set defined by Wind Power research in Web of Science (WoS) 2006–2015 that are included in Wikipedia entries, named data set A; (2) the distribution of scientific papers in Wikipedia entries on Wind Power, named data set B, captured via the three categories for the topic Wind Power in the Wikipedia Portal: Wind Power, Wind turbines and Wind farms; (3) the distributions of document types in the two wiki entry data sets’ reference lists. In parallel the paper aims at designing and test indicators that measure societal impact and R&D properties of the Wikipedia, such as, a wiki reference focus measure; and a density measure of those types in wiki entries. The study is based on Web mining techniques and a developed software that extracts a range of different types of Wikipedia references from the data sets A and B. Findings show that in data set A 25.4% of the wiki references are academic, with a density of 17.62 academic records detected per wiki entry. However, only 0.62% of the original WoS records on Wind Power are also found as wiki references, implying that the direct societal impact through the Wikipedia is extremely small for Wind Power research. In the second Wikipedia set on Wind Power (data set B), the presence of scientific papers is even more insignificant (10.6%; density: 3.08; WoS paper percentage: 0.26%). Notwithstanding, the Wikipedia can be used as a tool informing about the transfer from scholarly publications to popular and non-peer reviewed publications, such as Web pages (news, blogs), popular magazines (science/technology) and research reports. Non-scholarly wiki reference types stand for 74.6% of the wiki references (data set A) and almost 90% in data set B. Interestingly, the few WoS articles in wiki entries on Wind Power present on average 34.3 citations received during the same period (2006–2015) as WoS Wind Power publications not mentioned in wiki entries only receives on average 5.9 citations. Owing to the scarcity of Wind Power research papers in the Wikipedia, it cannot be applied as a direct source in evaluation of Wind Power research. This is in line with other recent studies regarding other subject areas. However, our analysis presents and discusses six supplementary indirect indicators for research evaluation, based on publication types found in the wiki entry reference lists: share of (WoS) records; density; and reference focus, plus popular science knowledge export, non-scholarly knowledge export and academic knowledge export. The same indicators are direct measures of the Wikipedia reference properties.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number112
Pages (from-to)1471-1488
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Research Evaluation, Wikipedia, Web of Science, Wind power, Scientometrics, Indicators

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ID: 201166898