Study: Wikipedia Accurate But Poorly Written

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Take that, Wikihaters. A new study says Wikipedia is as accurate a source for cancer information as a professionally reviewed resource — assuming you can wade through the lousy prose.

Cancer researchers from Thomas Jefferson University compared the accuracy of oncology information on the popular open-source encyclopedia with that on the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query (or PDQ), a professional database that is peer-reviewed and edited. Both were fact-checked against textbooks to see whether cancer patients can trust the information they’re getting online.

The results? Wikipedia fared no worse than the professional website; only 2% of the information on either was out of line with the textbooks. However, Wikipedia’s information was written at a higher level of complexity than the PDQ. “PDQ’s readability is doubtless due to the site’s professional editing, whereas Wikipedia’s lack of readability may reflect its varied origins and haphazard editing,” said Dr. Yaacov Lawrence, one of the study’s researchers and an assistant professor of radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson.

Full story via Live Science.