The reliability of a source in Wikipedia articles depends on context. Academic and peer-reviewed publications as well as textbooks are usually the most reliable sources in Wikipedia. At the same time not all scholarly materials can meet reliability criteria: some works may be outdated or be in competition with other research in the field, or even controversial within other theories. Another popular source of Wikipedia information are well-established press agencies. News reporting from such sources is generally considered to be reliable for statements of fact. However, we need to take precautions when reporting breaking-news as they can contain serious inaccuracies.
Despite the fact that Wikipedia articles must present a neutral point of view, referenced sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. However, websites whose content is largely user-generated is generally unacceptable. Such sites may include: personal or group blogs, content farms, forums, social media (e.g., Facebook, Reddit, Twitter), IMDb, most wikis (including Wikipedia) and others. Additionally, some sources can be deprecated or blacklisted on Wikipedia.
Given the fact that there are more than 1.5 billion websites on the World Wide Web, it is a challenging task to assess the reliability of all of them. Additionally, the reliability is a subjective concept related to information quality and each source can be differently assessed depending on topic and language community of Wikipedia. It should also be taken into account that reputation of the newspaper or website can change over time and periodic re-assessment may be necessary.
- Lewoniewski W., Węcel K., Abramowicz W. (2020). Modeling Popularity and Reliability of Sources in Multilingual Wikipedias, Information 2020, 11(5), 263. DOI: 10.3390/info11050263