There are a number of reasons for the national psychology societies to support the development and management of the site.
The site meets the international agenda of the societies:
Firstly by acting as a conduit for cross tradition and cross language communication of concepts and ideas. This should help us move toward a more international psychology rather than one with an anglophone bias.
Secondly through he possibility of translating the site into other languages we can communicate our science and practice to a wider audience.
This in turn will foster the growth and development of the discipline world wide.
The site addresses the information overload and knowledge management challenge that the burgeoning number of journals provides. By providing 'digested' up to date articles on all fields, all fully referenced and linked where possible to original sources, it can provide, particularly for non specialists, unprecedented access to the disciplines knowledge base.
The site also can act to heal the split between pure and applied fields of psychology. We can see from recent events in the States that tensions are developing that are difficult to contain. It seems that unmanageable amounts of information make it difficult for applied practitioners to keep updated on pure research and for basic researchers to keep up to date with clinical thinking. The Psychology Wiki could serve both communities, maintaining communication between them.
The site will also address another growing problem. It is likely that much progress is going to be made in the technical fields of behavioural genetics, neuroimaging etc in the next decade and so many of us do not have the knowledge base to properly comprehend such work. The Psychology Wiki can provide sound background education information written by psychologists for psychologists to bridge this knowledge gap.
The site can also facilitate the public education agenda of the societies.
In Wikipedia the quality of psychology articles is lower than other disciplines. Its important to put into the public domain accurate definitive articles from our discipline. Part of the scheme is to feed improved articles back into Wikipedia
Potentially the Psychology Wiki can provide scientists and professionals in psychology unparalled ability to feedback their findings both to to their peers and to the wider community who pay their salaries.
The development of the software opens up a tremendous opportunity but we will not make the best use of it without an institutional framework that will provide workers with the incentives and rewards to engage in the activity. This is why policies need to be introduced supporting the development and management of the collective databases, establishing such activity as an important role for us all.
The national societies can aid the development of the Psychology Wiki in a number of ways:
By developing policies that establish and recognise the value of contributing to these collaborative databases societies can legitimate such work. This is a relatively new technology, the use of which needs supporting institutionally. It is important to understand that the software archives each save, so that people can get academic credit for their contribution to the site and can print out a record of their efforts for CPD and CV purposes.
A particular important aspect of this is for learned societies to arrange for the release of copyright for articles in their journals.Within an international context and the importance of free access to information, it is no longer appropriate for societies to restrict access to this material
Through the acreditation of courses the societies can ensure that the skills necessary for contributing, maintaining and using these databases are taught adequately so that all students adequately prepared to meet the knowledge management challenges we all face.
Through the same mechanism they can encourage courses to publically link their curricula to the wiki content and to share their lecture materials etc so in time we can foster best educational practice both nationally and internationally.
Through their applied practioner sections the societies can encourage the sharing of professional tools and information so that again best practice can be shared world wide.
Through guidance on CPD requirements the societies can encourage people to both use the databases for their own education, but also to contribute the outcome of their studies to it.
The societies can also encourage their members with language skills to contribute to the translation of the material.
Throught their international sections societies can support the world wide effort required to make the most of the new technology, working with developing areas to produce the materials that they need, both academically and professionally.