Wikipedia:WikiProject Economics/Reliable sources and weight

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To discuss the reliability of particular sources, or their weight in articles, see the talk page of Wikiproject Economics.

Economics Wikiproject members should keep in mind the core Wikipedia content policies. These policies should be familiar to all editors. Advice is given here on aspects not fully covered in those policies that commonly affect economics articles.

Reliable sources[edit]

When editing, as mandated by Verifiability and No original research, we should attribute economic theories and viewpoints presented to reliable, published sources. We should strive to use reliable sources, which according to Sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers. Also according to Sources, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources when available.

Searching for sources[edit]

  • The Handbooks in Economics series often provides a reliable overview of a field, and a useful guide for finding reliable sources.
  • The Journal of Economic Literature contains broad literature reviews of areas of research in economics, and can provide guide towards areas that may be too specific to be contained in the Handbooks in Economics series.
  • The Journal of Economic Perspectives typically has readability-focused discussions of many economics-related topics.
  • IDEAS is a bibliographic database maintained by the Research Papers in Economics project. IDEAS focuses on economics articles, most of which can be downloaded in full text.
  • Google Scholar covers most scholarly sources, and can be useful for finding academic articles and books on a topic.
  • Google Books lets readers peek at a few sentences in many books even when full access is not granted, and can help editors find reliable sources quickly, either by looking at the book's references or by citing the book itself.
  • Google News can be useful when covering newer events, or when the topic in question has not been adequately treated in the academic literature.

Weight[edit]

The policy neutral point of view is a fundamental Wikimedia principle. All significant economic theories and viewpoints should be presented fairly, and in proportion to their prominence in reliable sources.

Heterodox views and views from other fields, such as history and political economy, should not be excluded. However, per Undue weight, theories and viewpoints held by a minority should not receive as much attention as the majority view, and views held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. Articles on minority economic theories and viewpoints should also make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant, and must not rewrite content strictly from the perspective of the minority view. Additionally, as recommended by Giving "equal validity", minority views should not have their centrality to the discipline misrepresented, and majority and minority views should always be described as such.

At times, the importance of theories in actual practice may not be adequately reflected by their prominence in peer reviewed studies. Other reliable sources such as university published books, reputable journals and well-respected newspapers and magazines (e.g. the New York Times and Science) should also be used in assessing the relative weight to be given to different viewpoints.

Summarize academic consensus[edit]

The fact that a statement is published in a reliable source does not make it true. Be especially careful of material in a publication that is not peer-reviewed by both opponents as well as proponents of a view. Neutrality and no original research policies demand that we present the prevailing scientific consensus. Recent authoritative survey articles in major academic journals are the best place to find out the consensus view of economists in the profession. Recently edited university-level textbooks, articles in the Handbooks in Economics series, and entries in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (accessible at New Palgrave Online) are also valuable in determining academic consensus.

Although significant-minority views are welcome in Wikipedia, such views must be presented in the context of their acceptance by experts in the field. The views of tiny minorities need not be reported except in articles devoted to those views. (See also Wikipedia:Fringe.)

However, when no majority views exist, or when the consensus in the academic literature is unclear, make readers aware of any uncertainty or controversy. A well-referenced article will point to specific journal articles or specific theories proposed by specific researchers or groups of researchers. Alternative views should be presented with weights roughly proportionate with the acceptance of those views by the scientific community.

See also[edit]