Wikipedia:Notability (science)/Irrelevant arguments

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The following are examples of comments that do not aid in the determination of notability regarding scientific topics, and therefore should be considered irrelevant in and of themselves. However, it is emphasized that the use of these arguments does not indicate that a topic is non-notable.

Bad arguments for notability[edit]

  • Revolutionary idea: The trouble with this argument is that it always includes an implied "if it is accepted by the scientific community". If a proposal has or gains the potential to revolutionize its research field, it will quickly come to meet the standards given above for importance within the scientific community. Otherwise it must be remembered that Wikipedia is not a crystal ball.
  • Seminal discovery: Being "seminal" means that the discovery is of importance to science, and therefore should meet at least one of the general criteria given above. Otherwise, it is not the job of Wikipedia editors to rule on whether a topic or finding is seminal or not. Wikipedia is not a research journal.
  • Topic is interesting/entertaining for the reader: Articles of interest or of high entertainment value can be written about anything. That does not mean the subject is notable nor necessarily belongs in an encyclopedia.
  • Constant criticism by the scientific community: The issue when this argument is made is not the criticism itself but rather the venue in which it occurs. Many proposals are regularly brought up on open internet forums (such as USENET) and in open scientific meetings. In such cases, it is natural that they will meet with constant criticism and yet not have an influence on science or culture. However, the criticism can make the topic notable if it regularly occurs in peer-reviewed journals (in which case the topic becomes well cited), or in the press (in which case topic becomes extensively covered by the press).
  • The topic is being suppressed by the scientific community: The gist of this argument is that the topic should be included in Wikipedia because misconduct by scientific authorities prevents it from achieving the stated notability guidelines. However, Wikipedia is not a place to right great wrongs, or correct any alleged systemic bias within academia or scientific institutions. In the absence of independent commentary and review of a topic, Wikipedia simply cannot write about it fairly and accurately.
  • The topic is as plausible as competing notable theories: In some disciplines, the prevailing scientific theories may be disputed; or in the case of topics of a more speculative nature, competing notable theories may be advocated. Such a lack of certainty should not be construed to grant notability to any competing idea for which notability cannot otherwise be demonstrated, even if these other ideas are plausible or not ruled-out by research. The only relevant concern for Wikipedia, when determining whether the topic should be included or not, is its level of coverage in reliable sources.

Bad arguments against notability[edit]

Likewise, the following arguments are largely irrelevant to the topic of notability, and should not be construed to deny a topic notability:

  • The topic is pseudoscience, has been shown to be false, or is absurd. Many theories widely regarded as pseudoscience are nonetheless notable. Other forms of pseudoscience are not notable. WP:NPOV requires that scientific topics which are notable but which are disputed or disparaged by the scientific community be covered fairly, noting the dispute and the support for each side. Notability is entirely a function of a topic's coverage in reliable sources, and not a function of a topic's perceived worth among scientists. Wikipedia deals with legitimate scientific controversies by addressing them, not by excluding one side of the debate. However, this only applies when a legitimate scientific controversy can be shown to exist; ideas which are ignored by all but their proponents are likely not notable.