Sarah Ellison in the Wall Street Journal:
The venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica is launching an unusual public war to defend itself against a scientific article that argued it’s scarcely better than a free-for-all Web upstart.
On Dec. 15, the scientific journal Nature ran a two-page “special report” titled “Internet encyclopedias go head to head.” It compared the accuracy of science entries for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Founded in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britannica is painstakingly compiled by a collection of scholars and other experts around the world. Wikipedia came to life in California five years ago under a “user-generated” model: That is, anyone who wants to can contribute, or change, an entry.
The Nature report, published in the journal’s news section, said there was not much difference between the two. For every four errors in Wikipedia, Britannica had three. “Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries,” the study concluded.