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Press release 20/02/06

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The Psychology Wiki is open for contributionsEdit

Psychology Wiki

Based on the software that runs Wikipedia, The Psychology Wiki now has over 5000 pages with work underway on 3500 articles in all areas of psychology

What's a wiki? I hear you ask. It’s a new kind of web page that is editable by anyone with access to the Internet. I is so quick and easy to use the called it wiki after the Hawaiian for quick.

Wikipedia is the most widely known of the new knowledge bases constructed out of these pages. Thousands of ordinary people around the world have contributed to the encyclopaedia, and they now have over 800,000 pages and receive 300,0000 hits a day.

A recent study by Nature revealed that Wikipedia was more accurate that Encyclopaedia Britannica when judged by a sample of scientific articles. See: http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051212/full/438900a.html.

Surely, on this basis we, in the psychology community, can construct a complete knowledge base for the domain of psychology. So The Psychology Wiki was born with the aim of developing a collaborative site where, as a scientific and practitioner community, we can build a clear consolidated statement of knowledge, theory and practice in our subject area.

Imagine what it would mean to have articles written on every area in psychology, all fully referenced, available on the desktop. Not only that, but all significant references would be included and each reference would be linked externally either to a full copy, or at least the summaries available on Athens databases. Within the articles all the terms would be linked to explanatory pages. Lecture handouts, overheads and other academic support materials would accompany each area covered.

Once the database is up to date any newly published work can be added, articles updated etc so that it remains a current reflection of the field.

This enterprise could not be accomplished by even a large team of people but, by collectively editing to the highest standards, we can we can build a facility that will be of tremendous benefit to out profession in the years to come, saving a great deal of time and money.

Take the training of practitioners. Trainees will have free access to the widest of current research on any topic, and lecturers would be free from the basic routine of developing materials. But the implications run wider. Wikipedia has been translated into over 200 languages. By translating the site into a broad range of languages we are establishing an international base for the development of our science and opening fresh avenues for cultural exchange.

How can you help? Visit the site. Use the help and orientation sections to learn the simple instructions and start editing and contributing. The To Do section will give you some ideas or you can go to the community portal for further support. That's the bottom up approach.

The top down approach requires the professional bodies around the globe to sanction the prioritising of our wiki work. An important innovation is that once people have gone through the simple procedure of setting up an account, all their work is logged and can be printed out for CPD purposes. What is needed is the development of policies to foster the enterprise. This needs opinion formers, journal editors, special interest group members, and board members of societies etc to coordinate responses to the challenge. Some support materials are available in the site support section but of course the beauty of this is that as you develop your own you can put them up on the site for others to use.

Vision in these matters counts. I can see that in 10 years time we will have amassed over a 1,000,000 pages, being accessed by 250,000 psychologists around the globe. There are, no doubt, technical challenges etc to be faced but the software is clearly capable of the task. If we work together as members of our scientific community we can do this and reap the long-term reward for our efforts.

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