by Panos Charitos. Published: 31 January 2014

Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website in the world and nowadays is a valuable starting point for most inquiries. It started in 2001 as a user-edited web encyclopedia where everyone could submit or review an article. Following a “wiki-“ logic, material uploaded in Wikipedia (articles, media etc) is edited in a collaborative way without any strict chain of editing authority.

Three are the main rules that one should follow in submitting an article to Wikipedia:

1) all articles should have a neutral point of view

2) all articles should be verifiable by a reliable source

3)all articles can’t contain any piece of original research that cannot be attributed: see http://bit.ly/emSba.

It is true that there are many who are sceptical about Wikipedia mainly due to the fact that articles are open for editing to everyone and hence are considered as unreliable or misleading. In a way articles are open to abuse, and in the past a number of incidents raised attention to this.

Nevertheless, Wikipedia constitutes one of the major sources of information and is widely embraced as a powerful learning and teaching resource. Its pages often rank very highly in search engine results and it can be easy for a random Internet user to get an introduction to a topic from a Wikipedia article before reaching a dedicated website. Moreover, material published in Wikipedia articles can be freely distributed and re-used in many websites and digital platforms. This warns that more attention should be placed in the quality of an article in order to ensure that the right message will be clearly communicated across a wider audience. In addition, more and more the need of academics is emphasized by the foundation in helping editors identify inaccuracies and cover more scholarly topics.

In the light of these remarks one should think of how topics like heavy-ion physics, the formation and study of the QGP and of course ALICE are presented. As many of you might already know, ALICE has its own dedicated page in Wikipedia: ALICE: A Large Ion Collider Experiment. The page was created in January 2008 and has a rather reach history of revisions. However, there is a lot of information still missing while one could add more material covering ALICE results and future upgrade plans.

In the next few weeks we will start working in updating the ALICE Wikipedia page. However, at its core Wikipedia is about collaborative work as well as about building an online community that will gradually grow and elaborate in dealing with various aspects of a certain entry. This is the approach one should follow in order to get a high-quality article that will accord with Wikipedia rules and attract more readers.

We hope that you will all see this as an opportunity and contribute in building a more up-to-date page for our experiment and about our Collaboration. Feel free to work on whatever additions or deletions seem right and remember to provide reference for further reading. Finally, please note that there are articles related to the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider and the Quark Gluon Plasma that you might also consider editing and help in further improving them.

This is not only an opportunity to introduce ALICE and the specificities of the experiment to the millions of Wikipedia users. It is also an invitation to introduce our field to the broader public by contributing to related articles, ensure that they are of high quality and finally any topics that might be missing in order to get the big picture of heavy-ion physics and the study of strong interactions.

Wikipedia as a tool can help us reach a large public across the world. It could help us in getting members of the public aware of what we are doing and get involved. At the same time it calls for more participation from scientists and experts. For the success of the Wikipedia project – and consequently of every wiki article- is largely depending on the level of expert participation and the increased diversity of participants.