AcaWiki: a wiki that encourages academics to write their stuff for the general public

October 8th, 2009 by jose

AcaWiki is a new wiki aimed at academics. They are asking for summaries of academic research. This could be an excellent exercise for students (i.e., don’t hand me your paper: post it to acaWiki, and let me know when I can look at it).

From reading the FAQ, It’s not clear to me that they are selling it right to the academic community:

What does AcaWiki offer to academic researchers?

AcaWiki offers a web 2.0 way of interacting with the public to increase impact. Research often languishes in academic journals, perhaps read only a few times by infrequent visitors. AcaWiki allows scholars to increase the impact of their research by enabling them to share summaries, long abstracts and literature reviews of their peer-reviewed work online. AcaWiki also encourages discussion by providing a talk page for each research paper.

Hmm, meh. While these are interesting reasons, I doubt academics will rush to fill in summaries. Discussion is covered by reference management sites such as citeUlike. And, of course, to make this work for academics, contributions to acaWiki must be well-evaluated by hiring committees… which is not going to happen any time soon. When faced when the decision of adding one more line to their CV or dedicating a similar stretch of time doing summaries of their articles for acaWiki, what would most academics do?

I still think this could fill a nice niche for student homework. Instead of leaving their work hidden in the HD of their T.A., posting it to acaWiki could be of use to the community. I often have to reread a paper because I’ve forgot most about it, and a good, crowd-refined summary would definitely help.

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3 Responses to “AcaWiki: a wiki that encourages academics to write their stuff for the general public”

  1. JennaMcWilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    I agree that acaWiki offers a faint whiff of extra work with little payoff. Besides, smaller research projects within the academic community already do the work of gathering and annotating relevant works for each other. What we don’t need is yet another wiki for posting this work; what we do need is a way to aggregate and group the work for our smaller communities, maybe housed within a larger community. But AcaWiki doesn’t seem to offer that.

    Here’s one project that I recently found out about: a very young project called “Culturing” ( Its tagline is:”An open space for brainstorming, informal discussion, ongoing informal research and feedback, and aggregation of relevant social media. Anyone can comment here without registration, and there is room for practically anything. We distill from volume. We grow from organic collection and discussion. Informal, incomplete, non-finished ideas, comments, contributions are the building blocks…”

    There’s no organizing, formatting, or grouping necessary; all of that work is done through smart tagging. It’s probably too early to tell if this is the kind of thing academics need/want, but it’s an interesting start.

  2. My Link is EducatedNo Gravatar Says:

    just glad when many sites developed for education. Just to bring better internet content for student and kids. Nice info guys..

  3. EricaNo Gravatar Says:

    I think your point about student reviews is well positioned. How many of us want to spread our research to the general public, really? (Of course there are the many naughty students may want to use our work to plagiarize in papers, not to mention these literature reviews, but that is a different matter.) Besides, we already have SSRN to publicize work to one another – which is the thing that really counts for the ol’ career.

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