Wikipedia has its place, but I do not allow students to cite it in an academic paper. It simply is not a credible source. However, I do use it myself as a starting point for personal research, particularly on technical or popular topics, and it often has links to more credible sources of information.
There are alternatives to Wikipedia that deserve more attention and participation:
- Scholarpedia is a “free peer reviewed encyclopedia written by scholars from all around the world.”
- Digital Universe is “an ever-growing array of commercial-free portals mapping the highest-quality Internet destinations, as recommended by experts recognized in their fields. These experts review public contributions, create context and attest to the reliability, integrity, and accuracy of the portals.”
- Citizendium is an effort to create “the world’s most trusted encyclopedia and knowledge base” where the “general public and experts collaborate, using their real names.”