WikiJournal of Science/About/Why this journal was created

The "zeroth" mockup issue of this journal is dominated by my own articles. But...

  • I did not create this journal so I could write and contribute articles to it.[2]
  • I don't even want to be editor of a journal.[3]
WikiJournal of Science
Technical data

This journal was created so that Wikipedia and its sister projects could play a greater role in college education. The problem is that Wikipedia articles are rarely optimized for this purpose, and neither Wikipedia nor its sisters seem configured to solve the problem.

The problem of uneven levels in Wikipedia articles edit


Wikipedia's Relative velocity begins at the level of a high school or first-year college course with a figure describing how a person walking at 10 kilometers per hour on the top of a train travelling at 40 kilometers per hour. An hour later, the man is 50 kilometers from where he began, and travelling at a speed of 50 kilometers with respect to Earth:


Halfway through the article, the level has jumped to that of a graduate-level course covering special relativity:


In order to make this article useful for teaching an introductory physics course, we need to chop this article in half, upgrade this figure and perhaps add some standardized multiple-choice questions for students to study and master before they attend any lecture on this topic.[4][5]

Another example involving Hooke's law edit

An introductory section of Wikipedia: Hooke's law displays the following three equations on three different lines:

 ...and...  ...and...  

Do all three equations need to be here?

My opinion is that we only need to express the equation once, but that is only my opinion as an experienced teacher of physics, who is not necessarily a good teacher. Instead of endlessly debating questions like this on Wikipedia talk pages, I propose that a guild of Wikiversity Journals be allowed to present the material in different ways. Eventually page download counts could resolve this question scientifically. Thanks to the efforts of the editor of Wikiversity Journal of Medicine , it is very easy to create journals like this.

Incidentally, this same article on Hooke's Law proceeds to develop this tensor equation,


In other words, the Wikipedia article spans physics from the level of high school to perhaps second year graduate school in one article. This lack of focus, plus concerns about the dynamic editing of such pages, make it unlikely that Wikipedia:Hooke's law would ever be adopted as part of the primary "textbook" in a college course.

A guild of small journals to provide the wikis with an egalitarian organizational structure edit

Medieval guilds were formed as confraternities that often depended on grants of letters patent by a monarch or other authority to manage their affairs.[6]

Wikibooks and Wikipedia have mechanisms for assessing the maturity of new articles recognizing those that are outstanding or essential. Analogous efforts are currently underway through Wikiversity:Portals. Such organization efforts are highly beneficial, and can easily coexist alongside this proposed decentralized effort to highlight quality articles using wiki-journals. While there can be only one Portal:Physics, there can be many Wikiversity Journals. These journals could informally organize and help each other as a guild that lies outside the main hierarchy of the Wikiversity organization of teaching resources.

While a journal could never tell a Wikiversity administrator what to do, the administrators are permitted to decide for themselves which journals seem more reliable, and highlight resources that have pages published in those journals. This structure is elitist because the better journals will publish only the best articles, but also egalitarian because any user is at liberty to start a journal that will stand or fall according to the journal's ability to maintain its own reputation.

Why this journal publishes Wikipedia articles edit

It has been suggested that instead of using journals to "peek" into the sister-wikis, the CC-by-SA license can be used to copy/paste pages into Wikiversity for further editing. But the importation of Wikipedia prose into Wikiversity is not always easy. Wikipedia has templates and information boxes that are incompatible with the other wikis. Also, all the redlinks need to be fixed.

In most cases it will probably be more suitable to import the article into Wikiversity where the journal can more effectively render the article. But the flexibility to edit and re-post articles as Wikipedia permalinks might occasionally prove useful.

Username bylines to encourage individual effort edit

Another role that the journals could play would be to incentivize contributions. While we have many Wikipedia editors willing to work almost anonymously, they have the pride of working on history's greatest encyclopedia. Apparently the pursuit of education doesn't attract such large numbers. By offering username bylines to individual authors we might facilitate and promote the educational careers of young scholars at or near college graduation. While this journal does not accept research articles, we hope to maintain high standards as we review the submitted articles.

Acknowledgements edit

I thought I was alone on this project when I started to create this journal less than a month ago (on or about January 1, 2016). I not only have company, but those who preceded me did most of the work by creating templates that required very little fine tuning to create this cross-wiki journal.

See also edit

Footnotes and references edit

  1. Rebuttal essays may be placed at Talk:WikiJournal of Science/Past issues/Editorials.
  2. I already have 21 refereed publications
  3. If you are qualified to edit this journal, contact user:Guy vandegrift. I would prefer to be developing Quizbank
  4. This idea of using the internet to have students learn the material before coming to class is called "flipping the classroom". Among other things it can greatly reduce the cost of a college education. Instead of "lecturing" material, and then laboriously grading homework, or attempting to invent new test questions, instead have a large bank of questions already on Wikiversity for students to study and master on their own. Only teach those who can't learn from the internet.
  5. A few such quiz questions have already been constructed at Q:Smith Train
  6. w:Special:Permalink/696017712