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What does AcaWiki offer?

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.

What does AcaWiki offer to graduate students?

AcaWiki offers a place for students to organize summaries of seminal papers for their qualifying exams, discuss papers with others students, and collaboratively work on summaries and literature reviews to enhance their learning.

What does AcaWiki offer to teachers?

In many graduate schools, professors assign their students to review and summarize academic papers. By having your students post these summaries on AcaWiki they have a greater incentive to write better summaries, and also comment on their classmates summaries. AcaWiki also enables organization of summaries into subjects, or a particular class, say, psychology_101_fall_2009 by tagging them.

What does AcaWiki offer to everyone?

With a critical mass of content AcaWiki can be resource for scholars and the public. For the public, AcaWiki is a window into the world of academic research. Newspapers and magazines often write about research but there are few resources for the public to follow up with.

For scholars, rather than read an entire academic paper, they now can first read the AcaWiki summary, then determine if they want to read the full paper. They also may have an easier time reading across disciplines because AcaWiki summaries are designed to be more accessible.

Can't I just go download an academic paper off the internet?

In some cases you actually can. Some scholars put up versions of their papers online on their personal home pages, or on sites like SSRN. However, many scholars either do not choose to do this, or more commonly, are not allowed to. The journals that publish these papers often have fairly restrictive copyright policies and limit access to universities that pay subscription fees.

Who contributes summaries to AcaWiki?

AcaWiki is building a community of scholars, graduate students, and bloggers to write summaries of papers that are of the most general interest to the public. Do you read peer-reviewed academic research? You can contribute a summary to Acawiki, or post a literature review.

What about non-peer-reviewed research?

In general, AcaWiki is a place to host summaries of peer-reviewed research. Peer review means that a research paper is assessed by qualified peers before being published.

What about non-peer reviewed research? This requires a bit of judgment. In some disciplines scholars are more likely to write books than publish papers in peer-reviewed journals. In other disciplines, conference proceedings and preprints (e.g. arXiv) are standard parts of the scholarly literature. In these cases, it would be appropriate to publish summaries of these books, conference proceedings, and preprints on AcaWiki.

What should I consider when posting?

Take a look at the posting guidelines. In general, AcaWiki is a reference, and to that end we are looking for fairly objective summaries. To include some room for editorial opinions, debate, and additional though we include a "theoretical and practical relevance" section, and a comments section. Also be very careful NOT TO COPY ANYTHING VERBATIM from an academic paper - this would be a clear copyright violation. Make sure your summaries are written in your own words. Finally, consider before posting that you are licensing your summary to the world under a Creative Commons Attribution license. More on the license below.

What about copyright?


Copying an academic article verbatim would be illegal. For that reason, we do not allow any direct copying or "cutting and pasting" text from academic articles on AcaWiki. However, ideas are not covered under copyright. Thus, it's perfectly legal to write an article about an academic paper. Think about the New York Times science section is always writing news stories about academic research. They can do this because there is no copyright in ideas, thus allowing them to freely write about new academic discoveries. We do the same thing on AcaWiki by writing summaries of academic paper for public consumption.

Creative Commons

When you contribute a summary to AcaWiki, you are agreeing to license your contribution under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Creative Commons has become a standard way for people to say "some rights reserved" on the internet. The licenses have been adopted by prominent artists, companies, and government agencies. Wikipedia uses Creative Commons licenses. With an Attribution license you keep copyright of what you post here, but allow others to use as long as they give Attribution. In general, Attribution is made to the original author but because AcaWiki entries may have many contributors, we only require that attribution be made by linking back to AcaWiki, where individual contributors can be tracked.

Also read the copyright page.

How do I enter and edit wiki entries?

There's a good tutorial on the how to edit page.

Who is running this project?

AcaWiki is run by AcaWiki Inc., a 501(c)(3) non profit corporation incorporated in California, U.S.A. The project is grateful to have a seed grant from the Hewlett Foundation to get off the ground. AcaWiki was founded by Neeru Paharia. A small group of volunteers is working on the project, including Jodi Schneider, Mako Hill, and others.

What stage is the project in now?

AcaWiki has just launched! We're welcoming summaries of academic research. We would also love your feedback so we can improve the site.

Why are you doing this?

We believe that if cutting-edge academic research can more easily filter into education, business, and society in general, that we all benefit.

How can I get in touch with you?

There are lots of ways to get in touch, or you can email We'd love to hear your feedback!

Do you have an infrequently asked questions page?

Yes, yes, we do: AcaWiki:Infrequently Asked Questions