Wikipedia talk:No original research/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 5


Okay, so say I disagree with an article because it discussing some minor viewpoint that has never been refuted because the viewpoint only generated one or two papers that were ignored by the scholarly community. The original idea that is junk has source material. Refuting the idea will require original research because nobody else has done it. How should this be done? I can post a link to say a Kuro5hin discussion. Is that adaquate? Would it be better to create an article in Meta and then link to that? Jrincayc 18:11, 16 Jan 2004 (UTC)

No, I don't think an article you've created in Meta would be an acceptable source. If there is no original material refuting something, then we can't report that, in my opinion. Angela. 00:41, Jan 21, 2004 (UTC)

Reddi: I'm not really clear on the information you put here, but as far as I can tell #2 at least implies it's OK to outright lie in articles. - Hephaestos 03:32, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The information is from the links in the article. [please read the links before you rv] ... the other points are from List of alternative, speculative and disputed theories ...
Sincerely, JDR
I have read them. I see nothing in them that would imply asserting claims which contradict experimentally established results (emphasis mine) is not grounds for exclusion. I apologize however for screwing up and reverting too much earlier, I only question the last edit with the list at the end. - Hephaestos 03:42, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)
There are articles, I would guess, that assert claims which contradict experimentally established results ... that in of itself is why some theories are "disputed" it would seem. This does not mean that it's "ok" to lie ... but to note exactly that (ie., whatever the toipic is, that it does contradict the experiments currently know) ... Sincerely, JDR
Ah. I think I understand now; let me know if you disagree with my next edit. - Hephaestos 03:52, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It looks good to me ... hopefully others will comment. JDR 03:56, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Excellent. Thanks! - Hephaestos 04:00, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

In a discussion elsewhere on wikipedia ([[Talk:V%E4nern]], I wrote the following. Some of it may be worthwhile in salvaging into the article, but I wouldn't presume adding it myself without some support. Martijn faassen 22:06, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I come to wikipedia (or any encyclopedia) not to read the original views of an individual but to survey the consensus views (possibly several competing ones) on the state of the world (science, history, culture, etc). This way I see the outline of the landscape, and learn some interesting details mostly undisputed, and see some connections, and see what the important theories and debates are. Wikipedia tries to be careful in presenting different points of view; it is helped in this as so many people can contribute. If at the same time I can run into singular original views unexpectedly, this will reduce the value of the wikipedia as an overview of the world and ideas at large. I cannot trust it in this function anymore.

Being an overview and a summary, it cannot present the new ideas of a single individual, no matter how true, because this would be misleading as a summary. An idea shared by many should be presented, an idea shared by a significant minority should be presented, but if all the original ideas of singular individuals are to be presented, the forest would be invisible for the trees. Present these completely original ideas in other channels. If it then becomes well-known and debated, it can enter wikipedia.

I am in some difficilty here, for what seems to be discussed is original research in new ideas and theories. Where does original historial writing come in? As an example, I have made a special study of early encyclopaedias and have a number of them on my shelves. I wish to write a piece about Rees's Cyclopaedia and have information about the contributors, printing history and content. I have published about this in relation to the work of the technical writer John Farey, jr (1791-1851). I have also written about Farey for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, The biographical dictionary of Civil engineers, as well as a number of journal articles on aspects of his life and work. He was the son of John Farey, jr the gologist and discoverer of Farey Numbers, who is mentioned in Wikipedia and deserves a proper page.

I am the only writer on Farey Jr, since the original DNB and I have had no feed-back from anyone. Does this mean I should not include him in Wikipedia? Likewise Rees's Cyclopaedia has never been written up, yet is an important source for Regency endeavour, in particular on the technology and sciences of the time. It is widely quoted by modern writers on the history of technology and industrial archaeology.

The problem in the UK is that technical history (the history of the useful arts) is not studied in higher education. A recent paper stated that we have 1 professor of the history of technology, compared with about 80 in the States. Such journals as there are produced in very small print runs,often <500, and as there is very little academic demand few libraries subscribe to them. I am not suggesting journal articles, but Wikipedia would be an ideal way of disseminating encyelopaedia style writings, especially as they can be linked to other pages of relevance. Apwoolrich 14:04, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't think there is a problem here. If you write an article on Rees's Cyclopaedia, then it's about a clearly-defined thing. The facts can be verified by anyone else with access to a copy. I'd say go ahead. -- Tarquin 21:59, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Where to draw the line?

Where and when does a research topic stop being novel research of a few proposers and start being the kind of received wisdom Jimbo is talking about? I guess the line is rather vague, and I think the following kinds of points constitute cumulative evidence for acceptability:

  • Original ideas are stable and are used in other research;
  • Claims have met with and overcome scholarly challenges;
  • Existence of one or more textbooks, or standard introductory texts;
  • Many researchers beyond the original proponents apply the ideas;
  • Several discussions on mailing lists;
  • Several articles in field are widely cited.

I'm guessing the above sort of criteria will be widely accepted, but the last three criteria are quantitative, and I am not sure what kinds of numbers to attach to them. Somewhat well-defined rules of thumb would be valuable, since the acceptability of quite a lot of material turns on them. I'll suggest that we should be seeing at least 7 citations apart from the core propoents, at least 12 articles principally devoted to the topic, and twenty or so general comments on mailing lists. How does this sound? Should I post this to the main page? ---- Charles Stewart 00:02, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

From Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not:

10. Primary research such as proposing theories and solutions, original ideas, defining terms, coining words, etc. If you have done primary research on a topic, publish your results in normal peer-reviewed journals. Wikipedia will report about your work once it becomes part of accepted human knowledge. But of course you don't have to get all of your information on entries from peer-reviewed journals. See Wikipedia:No original research.

This suggests that the line is drawn in a much less exclusive manner than I suggested above -- once a piece of research has passed the test of peer review, it is considered established knowledge, and so fair game for Wikipedia to document. This gels with the first paragraph of this article:

Wikipedia is not a primary source. Specific factual content is not the question. Wikipedia is a secondary source (one that analyzes, assimilates, evaluates, interprets, and/or synthesizes primary sources) or tertiary source (one that generalizes existing research or secondary sources of a specific subject under consideration). A Wikipedia entry is a report, not an essay. Please cite sources.

I've edited the main page accordingly. BTW we need to document tertiary source ---- Charles Stewart 03:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Books and movies

There are a number of wikipedia articles regarding books and movies. While obviously you can't write "critics rave" without citing someone, I am wondering about the plot synopsis that is often included. If you see a movie and give a summary of events, or read a book and give a summary of the topics covered, does that count as original research? --Uncle Bungle 14:03, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I would argue that a plot summary does not fall under what this policy is addressing. A plot summary is a recounting of facts with a minimum of interpretation, which can easily be verfied by any interested party: no original research would apply to the interpretation of a book or movie. As an example, one does not have to argue that the Iliad is about a portion of the siege of Troy,; anyone can read a translation of the book & verify that fact; but to say that the Iliad reflects Homer's psychology & tells us this or that about him is original research & should not be included. One is a matter of observation, the other interpretation, & all interpretations ought to be the work of a published source, properly cited. -- llywrch 22:50, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Wikisource is not the place for original research

Someone had included the statement that "Wikisource is" the place for original research. This is not true. When someone tries to do that at Wikisource, I suggest that they go to Wikibooks, and their material is eventually deleted. One of the continuing pre-requisites for material on Wikisource is that it has been previously published. (The only kind of material that regularly fails in that criterion is computer "source code", and if it were entirely my call I would soon get rid of that.) We do accept the reprinting of material that was itself original material, but will still ask for evidence of previous publication when that is not obvious. Eclecticology 20:32, 2004 Dec 3 (UTC)


I think this is a little confused because discussion of the draft rewrite is going on in two different places. I am going to move a bunch of this to the talk page for the rewrite. Then I'm going to archive a bunch. Maurreen 04:38, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Publications in peer-reviewed journals

I do not think that publication in peer-reviewed journals or other peer-reviewed publications is a sufficient or necessary step for research work to be admissible in Wikipedia:

  • The quality of review of peer-reviewed publications varies greatly between disciplines and between publications. In the current publish or perish athmosphere, getting a paper accepted (possibly in a minor journal) is often just a case of patience.
  • Furthermore, some fields of human endeavour do not really have peer-reviewed publications.

A better criterion, albeit more vague, would be that the theory in question should have sufficient acceptation from the scientific or technical community, or at least sufficient notoriety. David.Monniaux 12:15, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree with this criteria. "per reviewed journal" is provided only as an example. Slrubenstein