Wikipedia talk:Notability (academics)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Miscellany for deletion This miscellaneous page was nominated for deletion on 7 February 2006. The result of the discussion was keep. An archived record of this discussion can be found here.
WikiProject Policy and Guidelines    (Inactive)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Policy and Guidelines, a project which is currently considered to be inactive.
 
Emblem-important.svg See WP:PROPOSAL for Wikipedia's procedural policy on the creation of new guidelines and policies. See how to contribute to Wikipedia guidance for recommendations regarding the creation and updating of policy and guideline pages.

This discussion was begun at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Nicholas J. Hopper, where the early history of the discussion can be found.


See Wikipedia:Notability (academics)/Precedents for a collection of related AfD debates and related information from the early and pre- history of this guideline (2005-2006) and Wikipedia:WikiProject_Deletion_sorting/Academics_and_educators/archive for a list of all sorted deletions regarding academics since 2007.


Suggestion to avoid CV-like pages[edit]

I've been thinking about the concerns expressed by editors who support the proposal directly above, that pages that pass this guideline often end up looking like CVs. It seems to me that such pages can in fact be notable, but that they are unencyclopedic if they have no content related to Criterion #1 of this guideline – not so much an issue of WP:N as of WP:NOT. Therefore, I suggest that an additional bullet point be added at the end of the specific criterion notes for Criterion #1, something along these lines:

  • Although page notability may be established by using the other criteria that follow, the Wikipedia community considers pages to be unencyclopedic if they resemble curricula vitae, and lack content that describes the nature and the impact of the scholar's work. Such pages, even when notable, may be tagged with Template:Like resume, and should be expanded to include the kind of content that satisfies Criterion #1.

--Tryptofish (talk) 23:07, 2 September 2017 (UTC)

To some extent, I agree. In particular, these articles should generally not include a complete list of the subject's publications. But (1) that's a content issue, not a notability issue, and as such off-topic here, and (2) far too many editors use the excuse of "it looks like a cv" in deletion nominations for perfectly adequate articles or stubs that merely state the subject's education and employment, both of which are perfectly valid things to include in such articles. I think adding any such language would encourage too much abuse of this type. —David Eppstein (talk) 23:40, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
Good points. Would it help to add a sentence like: However, the fact that a page currently looks that way is not a valid reason for page deletion.? --Tryptofish (talk) 23:52, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. I don't see any need for such moves. The articles that a few people are complaining about are WP:Stubs, and guidelines already provide plenty of precedents for dealing with such, like Category:Academic biography stubs. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:21, 3 September 2017 (UTC).
  • Since your proposal deals with content rather than Wikipedia's standards for having an article, I think it is better placed in Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not or some other suitable location. Personally, I think English Wikipedia's basic criteria for the notability of persons should expand on the meaning of "significant coverage": the independent, non-promotional, non-routine, reliable secondary coverage of the subject should be sufficiently detailed that a reasonably complete overview of the person's life can be written. A reasonably complete overview includes major life events, accomplishments, and other significant influences spanning most of the person's lifetime. isaacl (talk) 03:06, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
    • The people whose life events are best documented are known as celebrities, and yours is a very celebrity-centric view of notability. For creative professionals, it is through their work, not their love affairs or appearances, that they become notable. So it is through independent note of their work (for instance, citations or awards), rather than through tabloid profiles, that we should judge them to be notable. Otherwise we would be left with only biographies of celebrities, and become little more than a tabloid ourselves. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:50, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
      • To me, life events includes awards received, and increasing real-world notability of released work products. Basically enough secondary coverage is needed to flesh out a biographical sketch that goes beyond a bare list of work output. This includes professional influences, collaborations, career path analyses, and other important aspects of any professional's life. isaacl (talk) 14:02, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
By your standard of coverage of the subject ... sufficiently detailed that a reasonably complete overview of the person's life can be written we'd have no articles on Fibonacci, Shakespeare, Spartacus, John Harvard, most of the popes, or almost any of the pharaohs. EEng 17:57, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, it's a starting point for discussion, not a set-in-stone proposal. As a first approximation, we could start with expanding the criteria for persons born after 1900, for example. The problem is that English Wikipedia continues to try to set up hard-and-fast rules to substitute for editorial judgment, because the community clings to its "straw poll followed by trying to convince others to change their vote" form of decision-making. As mentioned by Clay Shirky in his talk "A Group is its Own Worst Enemy", eventually it becomes far more cumbersome to try to cover every possible situation with a rule rather than having a hierarchical decision-making structure that can adapt guiding principles appropriately for individual cases. (For instance, an editorial board could make decisions on having an article based on impact of accomplishments or role in society, rather than trying to infer this from the quality of secondary coverage.) But as of yet those who participate in these types of discussions on English Wikipedia either continue to believe the present straw poll mechanism is better, or they are unwilling to cede their veto power to a hierarchy. isaacl (talk) 19:53, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
If you're aiming to change the editorial governance structure of Wikipedia, you're far from in the right place. And if you believe that the sort of rule you propose would eliminate opinion from deletion discussions, leaving us only a mechanical calculation for whether someone does or does not pass, you're dreaming. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:03, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
In fact, I said the opposite: people try to put rules in place hoping that a mechanical calculation will work, but it inevitably doesn't, as shown time and time again in online social communities. In recognition of the current system in place, I made a suggestion to try to shift more emphasis towards ensuring there is adequate secondary coverage to create a biography with the level of information appropriate for an encyclopedia. But I fully realize it won't be a magic bullet to end discussion on the matter. isaacl (talk) 20:09, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
  • In any case, it's clear to me that there is not a consensus to make such a revision here. Discussing it was worth a try. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:35, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
    • I don't think there's much disagreement with what you wrote; the questions are if it's a better fit for other pages, and do these pages already adequately cover this area? isaacl (talk) 01:52, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
      • That's very reasonable, thanks! --Tryptofish (talk) 20:23, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Isaacl, It is not usually a good idea to bring up the same issue on multiple pages, trying to shop around for some place where people might agree with you. There is no harm at all in raising the question in the appropriate place (which in this case is right here), but not it re-litigating it--here or elsewhere. Consensus can change, but when I am faced with disapproval on a proposal of mine that I think important, I wait several years before I re-start the discussion. By that time, there is a better chance that consensus might actually have changed. DGG ( talk ) 05:18, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. Personally I find unless a discussion on a specific topic is started on one page and notifications placed on appropriate pages, it's kind of luck of the draw if anyone sees a thread that may be of interest, and so it can be helpful to kick around ideas, particularly when they are still in a formative stage, in different places. I appreciate though that some may feel differently. isaacl (talk) 06:21, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, but it needs a rewrite. There's no such thing as "page notability"; subjects have notability, and even within that context, notability only applies to article subjects (e.g., it doesn't constrain what can be the subject of a section or included in a comprehensive list). So, the wording is all wonky, even if the main theme (articles that are just CVs are WP:NOT failures) is spot-on.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:34, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I'm facepalming myself about the "page notability" thing – you are of course right. But based upon the discussion here, I'm not going to do any revising at this time, and I'm not going to pursue it at any other talk page. Insofar as it goes, it was a useful discussion: editors look negatively upon CV-like pages, and such pages ought to be fixed if the subject is notable. Use Template:Like resume whenever needed! --Tryptofish (talk) 19:32, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Thumbs up  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:53, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I had a related argument recently with an editor who had seen plenty of other cv-like academic biographies here, thought that they were how it should be done, and wanted to strip out all of the non-cv-like content from another article to make it more like the cv-like ones. It would be helpful to have some text to point to to say "no, don't do that". But the notability guideline is the wrong place for it. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:08, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
    • WP:MOSBIO, maybe? XOR'easter (talk) 17:41, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
      • I think that addressing it at MOSBIO is a very good idea! If anyone decides to pursue that, please ping me. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:34, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP. The purpose of this page is to advise about notability. Stylistic advice is not appropriate. Andrew D. (talk) 07:36, 23 January 2018 (UTC)

Beginnings of an idea[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant material elsewhere.

I've been ruminating on the subject of the big RfC up there (and had been thinking about the gist of it earlier – all the way back to 2007).

Please see User:SMcCandlish/Notability and Deletion policy#2017 update – we still have some problems.

It's the germ a notability reform proposal, and I'd like to run it by the crowd at this page first, since it's closely tied to the issues in the RfC. The is page is an {{essay}} but really more of a notebook that I add to every few years when inspiration (or frustration) hits me in a flash.

The teaser: In GNG, we're already redefining for notability purposes what "reliable sourcing" means (without any effect on what it means in sourcing actual article content; notability is an internal determination, i.e. a form of permissible original research just like assessing publisher/author reputability in deciding whether a source is reliable). Let's just take it a step further to account for level of influence of the subject, and whether the "reliable" sourcing is too close to the subject by nature rather than in specifics. Details at the link; I wouldn't go further with this until after some input.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  02:37, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for starting this discussion. I agree that So, it's not much of a stretch to add another layer; e.g. for academics, in-depth coverage need not be required, but frequent citation would be is a reasonable step towards reflecting the actual intent of this SNG (with fleshing out: the nature of citation matters, and varies by discipline, and it doesn't mean that there shouldn't be some "in-depth coverage" of the appropriate type; maybe "popular press" or "popular media" coverage is more to the point than "in-depth"). I'm not won over to the broader idea of getting rid of SNGs and replacing them with revision of GNG, but I'm open to persuasion. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:05, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
This is similar to the conversation we are having at WT:CORP and which DGG (and to a much lesser extent, me) have been pointing out for a while: the GNG is horrible at telling us whether someone is actually important. My longterm vision of notability reform is scrapping the GNG from WP:N and transfering it to WP:V as the General Verifiability Guideline, as that is what it actually tests. Subjects would then need to meet the GVG and the relevant notability guideline, and where lacking, achieve local consensus in an AfD for inclusion. Whatever the steps forwards, I think there is an emerging reform movement for notability that is arguing for GNG-plus. It is much more fair and would reflect what the de facto practice is in many cases already. I think I've described WP:CORP as basically being a list of arguments to argue that the GNG doesn't say what it clearly says and not get laughed out of an AfD. PROF isn't angled in that direction, but I do think it could use some reform, because there are complaints that it brings up the problem of not being able to verify BLPs in some cases. Anyway, that's my ranting, but I just wanted to say this idea is a step in the right direction. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:18, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
I sympathize with the analysis of the problem there, though it is imo seriously overstated, but as discussed here at various points in the past, citations are a slippery and unreliable criterion. A "good" number of citations varies drastically between fields and sub-fields, and a Nature piece a while back showed that the highest citation factors of all go to people, often essentially lab technicians, who publish protocols for lab procedures for a new technique. And they probably aren't notable. Maybe someone has the link for that. Johnbod (talk) 20:54, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
The issue of the number of citations in different fields is well known to and dealt with by people who operate on Prof AfDs, but less known to those who don't. I see a more pressing problem in WP:Prof#1 being the number of authors on a paper. Clearly a citation to a 1-author paper carries more weight per author than a citation to a 50-author paper. This is now treated on an ad hoc basis but could be improved. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:12, 17 December 2017 (UTC).
If we convert GNG to GVG, it will be necessary to change the wording. Verifiability is of course always necessary, but it does not have all the source restrictions in the current GNG. The rule there is just a reliable source i, but for verifying routine facts about a person or organization the publication does not have to be independent--nor, of course, substantial.
We will then, of course, have to have standards for the inclusion of each type of article on which we can agree, which will not be all that easy. I think it's worth doing, and I think the best way is to go field by field, and the obvious way to start is with the SNGs--they should be converted into being the notability guidelines for their subjects, not just and extension or limitation on the GNG. To start with one relative uncontroversial example, we could establish that for people notable as academic faculty or researchers only the WP:PROF guideline applies, and the GNG is not an option unless there's also notability in some othr manner. For a somewhat more controversial step, we could do exactly the same with the SNG for athletes,and conclude once and for all the discussion of whether it extends of limits or "presumes" in some undefined manner the GNG in that field. I'd go on with areas where there are very well establish SNGs: CREATIVE , or MUSIC, or POLITICIAN, before tackling the somewhat more difficult ORG. --though probably we should deal with some current problems by establish a special one for some particular classes of ORG. I think the most critically needed first step is commercial organizations established in 2000 or later. DGG ( talk ) 23:03, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Agreed that formally changing PROF to be exclusionary would be an important step down this road, and I strongly support it. I think we already de facto apply it this way at most AfDs, and I will always !vote it as exclusionary personally, but moving to that as a formal standard would provide an example for other notability guidelines and move in the direction of a broader reform of the notability system that everyone seems to talk about but no one has wanted to take on. Perhaps doing this guideline-by-guideline is the best approach as a larger undertaking would likely be too much to handle at once. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:29, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
I'd like to see the SNGs used to help address other systemic issues facing Wikipedia. The GNG leaves considerable wiggle room in terms of how much coverage is enough and what sources are considered reliable; the better SNGs, like WP:PROF, simply reduce this ambiguity by giving concrete and objective criteria. But we can and, in my opinion, should raise or lower the bar depending on the context. For example, we should demand a higher standard of sourcing for topics that are frequent targets for spammers, like companies and corporate biographies. Conversely, we could be more inclusive in fields that are less prone to self-promotion and/or where Wikipedia has a known systemic bias. – Joe (talk) 23:42, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

To clarify, I didn't really mean getting rid of SNGs, but rather fixing GNG so none of the SNGs are put in the continually controversial position of trying to be GNG alternatives; the handful that are would rejoin the fold as advice on how to apply GNG topically, and as predictive assessments of what sorts of subjects within the topic area are likely to be found notable or not, which is what all of the SNGs are except a couple that I know of trying the "un-GNG" route. But that's rather different from this make-GNG-into-GVG-and-the-SNGs-into-independent-guidelines idea. Not sure how I feel about that. I'm always highly suspicious of topical decentralization, because it gives undue power to wikiprojects to tell other editors what they are "allowed" to do in topics the wikiprojects feel proprietary about. I suppose there's less risk or effect when it comes to notability than for style, article naming, etc., which is why I'm neutral on this idea.

One thing not covered in the loose formulation of this idea above is the flip side of the "it's too hard to get WP to keep an article about an academic" problem: it's way too easy to keep one about some B-movie actor or a singer who charted once, because there will always be a thick stack of "in-depth" coverage in entertainment-industry rags. The gist of my argument at the other page is that being an actor with some bit-part credits in actual feature films or TV shows, or being a band more than your local bar patrons have heard of, indicates nothing but competence in one's field, which does not equate to encyclopedic notability. We have thousands and thousands of non-encyclopedic stubs on all these "five minutes of fame" nobodies; any time IMDb or Discogs has a better article on someone that we do, we have a page we should delete.

I get a fuzzy sense that making the GNG the GVG and having different, topical notability criteria could maybe address that, but a "consistency nut" like me, when it comes to how a massive project like WP can be self-managing, rebels against the idea that decentralizing this is going to work. If anything, we should still have a WP:N page that lays out the basics on a broad-topic-area-by-broad-topic-area basis, with the SNGs being elaborations. That's what my instinct tells me. But, I came here to open a discussion not dominate it. Me having initial qualms doesn't mean they can't be assuaged. Anyway, I updated my page on this stuff with a mention of the GVG idea. PS: If anyone's wondering why I'm "suddenly" chiming in on this stuff, see the page I pointed to in the first post; I was deeply involved in WP:N back in the day, and have just left it alone for several years.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:29, 7 January 2018 (UTC)

Fulbright Scholars?[edit]

Does a Fulbright Scholarship tick the box for criterion 2 please? (I err on the side of "No" given that around 8,000 are awarded every year, but I want to double-check.) Zigzig20s (talk) 20:48, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

My opinion is no. It will add to notability but is not sufficient on its own. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:32, 18 January 2018 (UTC).
I agree. It is not enough by itself. —David Eppstein (talk) 21:43, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
That is my view too. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:06, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
Same here. I doubt that future journalism/ scholarship about each subject can be assumed based on the scholarship alone. You'd have a bunch of entries with almost none passing ANYBIO. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:17, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
No. Johnbod (talk) 08:50, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Related discussion[edit]

See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Women in Red#Systemic bias in notability. Despite the location, the "bias" in question is much more about notability of academics vs sportspeople than it is women vs men. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:21, 21 January 2018 (UTC)

Request for comment on an AfD[edit]

I was hoping those who watch this page could help with an AfD discussion for a professor at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Massimo Negrotti. So far, there has been no discussion, outside of the subject of the article himself. Angryapathy (talk) 17:03, 31 January 2018 (UTC)

Peter Hillmen[edit]

Hi, I'm interested in writing an article above the above academic, responsible for a breakthrough treatment for Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I've written about some of the results here: [[1]]. Do you think this academic is notable? I wouldn't want to write the article only for it to be deleted. Thanks! DrVogel (talk) 11:03, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. A major factor is how his citation record compares with similar. See WP:Prof. Xxanthippe (talk) 11:26, 6 February 2018 (UTC).
He is a full professor at a major UK university. He has several thousand citations. An article about him will not be deleted due to notability concerns. Rentier (talk) 11:33, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Hi Xxanthippe and Rentier, thank you very much for your kind (and incredibly fast!) replies DrVogel (talk) 23:04, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

RS Question[edit]

Knowledgeable souls invited to comment at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#European Journal of American Studies. Thanks. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:31, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

National Academies of Sciences of other countries[edit]

Should members of an Academy of Sciences of another country (not US) be eligible for Criterion 3? If so, which countries would be included and which would not (and why)? Gelbukh (talk) 04:28, 21 February 2018 (UTC)

A difficult question to answer with precision. It will have to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Xxanthippe (talk) 08:35, 21 February 2018 (UTC).

Recent revert[edit]

I saw this revert: [2], and I do not understand the rationale for it. Perhaps I'm missing something, but the reverted edit really just made Criterion 4 consistent with the existing language for Criterion 1. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:26, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

Maybe I was reading too much into the change, but it seemed like the sort of substantive change that would require discussion to me rather than a minor and uncontroversial change. As currently (and not very frequently) used, criterion #4 is for contributions like writing a widely-used textbook. The modified version of criterion #4 would, as I see it, convert that criterion into something much more closely resembling GNG, where we can only accept someone as having a broad impact on education if we can find published testimonials of their impact. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:30, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
I think it's a sensible addition. In practice, how would we know that a textbook is "widely used" unless we have a source that says so? – Joe (talk) 19:32, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Thanks, that makes sense. On the other hand, I agree with the original edit insofar as we don't want to source it to something like the person's CV or university webpage. Is there a middle ground that would work? --Tryptofish (talk) 19:34, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
The typical argument I would imagine using for #4 is to run a search for university course syllabi and show that many of them from many different universities use a text as required reading. That's not adequate sourcing for saying in the article itself that the text is widely used, but it can still justify stating the existence of the text in the article and using its wide use as an argument for keeping in an AfD. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:36, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
A web search of syllabi sounds like original research conducted by an editor, which isn't a sound basis for an article.
If there are no independent sources at all, then how are we to write a neutral article? Neutral about a BLP doesn't just mean tone; it also means not writing solely what the BLP and their publicity department want us to write. If there actually are no other sources, then I do not think that an NPOV-compliant article is possible. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:00, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Having sufficient content for an article and having sufficient significance for an article are two different things, even for subjects for whom we use GNG instead of PROF. (Or else, why do you think we don't count local newspaper stories as being good for GNG, even though they clearly provide properly-sourced content for an article?) "Original research" is something we should avoid doing as a way of providing content, but is completely normal and even encouraged (by WP:BEFORE) as a way of assessing significance. So the article content in such a case could be simply that the subject wrote a textbook on X (easily sourced, sometimes even with significant amounts of detail on the textbook from reviews). The significance assessment is whether that textbook was a significant accomplishment (one that is used at hundreds of universities, say) or something non-notable (used only locally). It is not problematic from the point of view of WP:NOR because it doesn't need to go into the article, but it can still provide ammunition in either direction at an AfD. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:11, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
We do count local newspapers for GNG, although CORP (and CORP alone) requires that there be at least one source that isn't the subject's hometown or small neighborhood newspaper. The local newspapers still do count, because one non-local newspaper plus one or more articles in your neighborhood newspaper is an indication of notability, where as a single non-local source by itself is not.
The basic purpose of the notability guideline is to figure out what subjects we can write policy-compliant articles about. Let us grant, arguendo, that writing a popular textbook is what's meant by "affecting a substantial number of academic institutions", rather than doing something that causes institutions to change their policies or practices. And let us grant, arguendo, that if a textbook is popular, this means that we need an article on its authors and editors, rather than on the textbook itself. You are basically proposing that if you search "site:.edu syllabus "Campbell Biology"", and if some sufficiently high number of hits is returned – and even if no independent source can be found about some or all of the five editors named on the cover of the most recent edition – then we will still be able to write BLPs about all five of those editors (and however many editors there were for each of the previous and future editions) that comply with all of the content policies. Those policies include:
  1. WP:NOT, which says that you must be able to cite independent sources for all subjects, and
  2. WP:V, which says that all articles must be based upon third-party sources.
How do you think that these policies will be complied with, in a case for which your best efforts (which I know to be not inconsiderable) have found exactly zero third-party sources about the BLP? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:42, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Re: "The basic purpose of the notability guideline is to figure out what subjects we can write policy-compliant articles about.": I know that's what we *say* it is for, but I don't believe that it is actually used that way, nor that it has been for years. How it is actually used is as a stand-in for significance, not depth of sourcing. We should stop being hypocritical about that and, in cases like this one where we have other more accurate ways of assessing significance, use them instead, not try to shoehorn GNG-based significance tests into places where they don't belong. —David Eppstein (talk) 06:34, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
I'm interpreting this reply as "I admit that it is impossible to write a policy-compliant article in that situation, but I don't think the community cares about that, in practice." If my understanding of your position (a valid one, though not one that I happen to share) is dramatically wrong, then please tell me how you would write a policy-compliant article for a subject for which no independent sources can be found. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:54, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I am interested in the answer as well. In practice, the articles about GNG-failing academics are based on primary sources such as research articles by the subject, university websites and databases such as Google Scholar or WorldCat. Examples: Douglas Ulmer, Parisa Mehrkhodavandi, Henriette Harich-Schwarzbauer, and my own creation, Korbinian Strimmer. I think the prevalent line of thinking is that these sources, though primary, can be presumed reliable. I was initially opposed to this and (unsuccessfully) nominated a few articles about obscure academics for deletion. However, seeing that the sourcing standards are low across the board, I decided to go with the flow. I think that the community decided to set the notability standards low enough to create a big class of articles that cannot be written according to WP:V and WP:NOT but also cannot be deleted. One non-academic example is Francesca Fusco, based largely on primary sources. The AfD argument "The amount of articles she's in as an expert is pretty staggering" is isometric to keeping academics based on citations alone. Rentier (talk) 17:45, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I think notability is separate from verifiability, that our articles should have both, and that what have been discussing here so far is only (one form of) notability. From that point of view, of the articles you list, Henriette Harich-Schwarzbauer is in far better shape than Parisa Mehrkhodavandi: Harich-Schwarzbauer's article is largely based on sources that are reliable enough for the factual information they are used for, while Mehrkhodavandi's is largely based only on Mehrkhodavandi's own publications, and has no sources at all for the education and career milestones it details. I wouldn't argue for deletion of either one (they are both notable) but Mehrkhodavandi needs a major rewrite (it is not verifiable in its current form) while Harich-Schwarzbauer's article is acceptable if mediocre in sourcing quality. —David Eppstein (talk) 18:04, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I think the addition is CREEP, either you convince the AfD participants with this argument for notability or you do not, using reason and whatever evidence supports that reason, but there is no need to further delimit evidence. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:33, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I do not see it as instruction creep, and I'm pretty well convinced now that the change was a good one, and the revert should be undone. What all the back-and-forth about a textbook has missed is that, if a textbook really is widely used, there will be independent book reviews of it. We accept the requirement for independent sourcing for Criterion 1, and it's illogical to treat Criterion 4 differently unless there is a compelling reason to do so. I'm not seeing a compelling reason. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:38, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
    • The independent book reviews will generally say nothing about how widely used it is, because they are published at similar times to the book rather than later when its usage becomes more clear. Therefore they are useless for #4. This change makes #4 even more unlikely to be used than it already is. Saying that a contribution of this type will likely pass WP:AUTHOR instead is a cop-out. (Also, I don't know how much effort you've put into finding reviews of lower-level textbooks, but they aren't anywhere near as likely to exist as reviews for specialized monographs.) —David Eppstein (talk) 19:48, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure why you thought you needed to basically say the same thing you already said, but obviously we disagree - the revert should not be undone. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:18, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
      • Actually, I did not say earlier which way I thought we should go, but if you find me unbearably repetitive I'm not sure why you felt the need to comment on it. I realize that book reviews do not predict the number of sales, but they do comment on how significant and useful a textbook is. Anyway, this is a small issue, and not one I would want to fight about. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:42, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
        • I think book reviews will generally only be useful in this context when they are reviews of later editions. Those do, on occasion, say that the original edition of the book has become a standard text. XOR'easter (talk) 21:15, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
          • That's an excellent point. And if a textbook has become widely used over time, there will be later editions. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:18, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
            • Sure, but the book reviews are mostly irrelevant, because David isn't talking about writing Biology (textbook). David is instead saying that if that textbook is widely used, then you should use the fact that it's a notable book as a justification to write about Neil Campbell (scientist), Lisa A. Urry, and about 25 other editors over the years. We can find independent sources for some of those academics, without doubt (Campbell himself got an obit in The New York Times). But I'm equally convinced that we won't find SIGCOV in INDY sources for others in that long list. You might think of it as inherited notability: If an academic writes a textbook, and everyone reviews the book and ignores the author, then David's saying that the academic inherits notability from his textbook. The community's standard for non-academic authors is that when they write books, and everyone reviews the books and ignores the authors, then you get articles about the notable books but not about the ignored authors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:08, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
              • Well, if they're one in a line of 25 or so for the same textbook, and maybe not even credited on the cover, then I think the argument will not be very strong, and WP:BIO1E will surely be raised. I was thinking more of people like Michael Rosen (mathematician), about whom our article says he "is known for his textbooks" and whose textbook A Classical Introduction to Modern Number Theory appears to be standard as an undergraduate text [3] (note: link goes to an open forum and would not pass the proposed change to the criterion) despite being in a graduate textbook series. And yet, although I found six published reviews, none of them says anything about wide use [4] [5] [6] MR0661047 MR1070716 [7]. This author should pass #4 for this text, but wouldn't after the revision. Passing AUTHOR as a consolation prize isn't helpful, any more than having any other criterion become subsumed by GNG or AUTHOR would be helpful — what is the point of having a separate criterion when you need to pass an entire other notability guideline to pass that criterion? —David Eppstein (talk) 03:32, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
                • What's the point of having an article that outright fails NOT and WP:V? What's the point of having an article if every word in it is based on what the subject (and his employer and his publisher) has written?
                  Isn't there more to this criterion than just textbook authors? If not, then maybe it really should be deleted as being redundant to NAUTHOR. (Campbell's Biology had different editors for different editions.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:34, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
Even reading all of the above threads, I'm still not seeing any issues with the edit that was removed. If someone's work has made a significant impact in academia, that will be reflected in independent secondary sources. I'm not seeing a compelling reason above why the edit should have been removed, so I'm in favor of reinstating what seemed like an uncontroversial clarification from a policy standpoint. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:12, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it's a clarification. I think it's a fundamental change from an impact-based notability requirement to a source-based notability requirement. If you're going to do this you might as well remove #4 altogether. Or can you provide evidence of even a single article that would be notable only through #4 under the new version, and not through other notability criteria? —David Eppstein (talk) 20:08, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I also think that it is a change rather than a clarification. XOR'easter (talk) 21:07, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Change is unneeded instruction WP:Creep. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:15, 26 February 2018 (UTC).
Based on this recent string, it looks like we're getting increasing WP:CONSENSUS (though obviously not agreement from some editors) for restoring the edit. No actual creep has been established. If someone is trying to claim notability based on their personal assessment of impact, that's WP:OR among other policy issues mentioned above. That criteria 4 is a pretty clear assessment of WP:WEIGHT, and you need sources for that. The change is only clarifying what's already enforced by policy, so CREEP isn't really applicable for this particular change. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:37, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Both OR and WEIGHT refer to the content of articles and have nothing to do with the notability standards. And no, there is no consensus for restoring the change. Rentier (talk) 00:28, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
It's still a content factor being considered, namely the impact of the subject. Beyond that, WP:GNG already explicitly mentions no original research in determining notability, so no, it does not only apply to content. The spirit of OR is that we as editors refrain from making calls of this degree, but let sources spell it out for us. In terms of consensus, someone has to make an argument that sticks in terms of policy, etc. No particular issue has been brought up with the edit that does that. Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:38, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Re GNG: the whole point is that WP:PROF is a different notability guideline than GNG. So there is no reason to import concepts from GNG into it: if we were going to do that, what would be the reason to have a separate notability guideline? And I repeat: can you point to a single example of an academic for whom the new criterion would be useful by providing notability not provided in any other way? —David Eppstein (talk) 02:45, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Although I personally expressed support for the change, I'd like to say that I don't feel strongly about this, and it looks to me that there is not a consensus for making the change. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:34, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
The problem with handling this as "an impact-based notability requirement" is that we're saying that editors should decide, without a single WP:INDY reliable source to support them, whether that alleged impact happened. Just imagine if we did that for, say, journalists, romance novel writers, etc. I love the "impact-based" aspect, but I don't want some random editor, paid or otherwise, to be deciding all by himself whether the impact happened. I want an actual reliable source to say that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:34, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
That way lies academics getting articles because their subject is marketing and they got themselves into published "50 most promising" lists. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:56, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
"50 most promising" lists almost never provide WP:SIGCOV. Even when they do (which anyone who spends as much time at CORP as I have can tell you, they don't), I'd rather have "50 Most Promising Somethings" from a place with a reputation for fact-checking and editorial control than from a random Wikipedian, whose main qualification is that he figured out how to click the Edit button. Wikipedia editors are not reliable sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:53, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Scopus and Web of Science[edit]

I recently removed this edit by Egaudrain, and they posted on my talk page asking for clarification. I figured it would be better to mention this here instead.

Basically, we want to avoid adding personal thoughts too much to guidelines that approach WP:SOAPBOX territory, and the current addition wasn't something that could really be used in notability discussions. I'd argue that the paragraph needs some additional cleanup in that regard, but I also just noticed the state it was in too. While we normally don't need sourcing in guidelines as opposed to mainspace, some of the descriptions of different databases are approaching needing sources too. Basically, if it's something simple like Google Scholar doesn't list articles before X year, that's an ok caution for the guideline. We basically want to say these are the main databases in the field, and here are concrete cautions for each of them. Something like the previous edit though falls into less of a factual description and gets more into editorializing type thought.

As a more general comment outside this specific edit (this does fall into personal experience by discussions with other scientists), but a lot people consider Web of Science > Scopus > Google Scholar in terms of citation metric reliability because Google Scholar is more prone to citing non-peer-reviewed literature (and sometimes Scopus to a lesser extent). I haven't gone looking for formal sources on that one though, but that might be a concept worth looking into sometime in the future. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:51, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Our guideline already cites reliable sources according to which, for computer science, we should use GS and not use WoS: see the last bullet point. However the reasons for doing so are specific to CS publication patterns and have nothing to do with the commercial nature of the databases (Egaudrain's complaint). —David Eppstein (talk) 18:10, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, that indeed varies by discipline (I do see a fair number of computer science manuscripts posted on what other disciplines would call non-peer-reviewed gray literature). There's a bit more demarcation in other disciplines though, so computer science is a fair call out there. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:15, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I think it's appropriate for the guideline to draw attention to the limitations of various metrics, as it pretty much does now. That way, it helps avoid overly simplistic arguments in AfD, based on claiming that a particular metric makes something an open-and-closed case. But I, too, think that being commercial or privately owned isn't really worth using as a justification to be cautious. However, what really stands out to me as a problem is how the section starts out by saying that these services are expensive. So what? Being expensive has little or nothing to do with whether the metrics are useful or not useful for evaluating notability. We don't disqualify paywalled material for sourcing, so I see no reason to disqualify expensive services for editorial decisions. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:25, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
All three available databases (including the free GS) are commercial and non-transparent. This needs mention. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:28, 9 March 2018 (UTC).
Thanks for the clarification, Kingofaces43. My edit was indeed based on the tone of the rest of the description of the databases. There is a great deal of variations across fields and this is not limited to computer science being an exception. Web of Science decides what journal it accepts or not based on...? (The fact that the criteria are opaque is not an opinion.) I know at least one journal in the field of auditory sciences that was declined referencing in WoS on the basis that "there are already too many journals in that field". I'm not talking predatory journal, but a real, albeit small scope journal. In fact "auditory sciences" is not recognized as a field in itself in WoS... All this would be without consequence if people didn't try to follow these guidelines perhaps a bit too conservatively and used a bit more caution. I came to this reading an admittedly old discussion about the notability of an auditory researcher (Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Monita Chatterjee). In the arguments made, someone cited that the researcher in question had an h-index of 21 on Google Scholar, but someone argued back that GS was not reflecting the "true" RS citations (whatever RS is). That shows to me that some importance is given to these numbers while their relevance is highly field specific, and their trustworthiness debatable. So I would argue that perhaps editors should be cautious when they make decisions about fields they don't know, and the purpose of my attempted edit was to add a general word of caution about how much bibliometric resources should be trusted. All this being said, I totally agree that the section needs a bit of cleanup. Egaudrain (talk) 22:48, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Just commenting on "RS citations", normally "RS" is used on Wikipedia to refer to reliable sources, but that's for sourcing content. It's very odd to refer to publications that way when discussing the notability of the person who wrote them. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:30, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks! I should probably have googled it... If one wants to use h-index or number of citations as a notability criterion, then it makes sense to question whether the source providing these numbers is reliable. Since it seems that Google Scholar is not reliable for certain fields, and Web of Science is not reliable for others... perhaps we should have a more general statement that if bibliometrics are to be used, they should be provided through a reliable source for the field. Which, I guess, only someone from the field would know. And there wouldn't always be a nice reference to cite for it. I don't think anyone wants to list what source is considered reliable for what field, already because not everybody will agree on the definitions of these fields... -Egaudrain (talk) 00:27, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Michael Efroimsky[edit]

Does this scientist meet our notability requirements? I put a notability tag on yesterday and the subject removed it, saying that the NASA link he added was sufficient. I don't think it is but would prefer guidance to replacing it myself. Thanks. Doug Weller talk 06:21, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

The first thing to do in assessing the notability of scientists is look at the citation record in GS. This gives an h-index of 22. For a very highly cited field this is marginal, but probably over the bar. Xxanthippe (talk) 07:08, 22 March 2018 (UTC).
Ah, but you're forgetting that we multiply by 0.7 in the case of anyone dickish enough to come to WP to argue for their own notability. EEng 12:54, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Looking at the page without doing further research, it looks like marginal notability to me. For one thing, it should be tagged for connected contributor issues (where EEng would multiply by 0.7, I feel sorely tempted to multiply by 0.0 whenever I see this sort of thing). I'm less of an h-index fan than some other editors. According to the page, he has co-authored two works that might or might not be influential (the two cited sources). What I would do is look into the ways other experts have cited those works. If there are independent sources saying that the work has been significantly influential, I would regard that as establishing notability (and would want to see those sources cited on the page). On the other hand, if the citations are more routine and there does not appear to be independent assessment of importance, I would want to see the page deleted. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:22, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Just to "come to WP to argue for their own notability" is not so dickish sometimes. Our coverage is so incredibly erratic that the question often naturally arises - I've been asked that privately by a couple of super-notable people of the "wrong age" (now long retired) to have got articles "naturally". A perusal of Category:Lists of members of learned societies shows the problem clearly, where the lists are complete. I think it's important we all keep in mind how very poor WP is this respect. When I worked at the Royal Society List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 2012 was over 50% redlinks, as were the preceding years (of course all the redlinks were male, but that's another story). Now that's much better (no thanks to me - mainly User:Duncan.Hull). Obviously removing tags etc is bad, but to ask the question is entirely natural. I got a laugh at a conference by suggesting that dying was much the most reliable way to get a WP bio ..... Johnbod (talk) 13:00, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

Acting chancellor[edit]

I'm just curious if acting chancellor or vice-chancellor of a university are given an automatic free pass over WP:BIO ? --Saqib (talk) 09:54, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean about a free pass, but in my opinion having a temporary appointment, by itself, does not ordinarily establish passing WP:PROF. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:16, 21 April 2018 (UTC)
@Tryptofish: By free pass I meant to say if temporary appointed chancellors qualify for a WP article under WP:PROF. --Saqib (talk) 05:17, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
Only if they're otherwise notable (e.g. through GNG or a different PROF criterion) or the position becomes permanent. I wouldn't think that the temporary appointment would be good enough by itself for #C6. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:25, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
@David Eppstein and Tryptofish: OK on the basis of this discussion, I initiated an AfD on a acting vice-chancellor, however an editor @FloridaArmy: says the subject still meet PROF#5 because the professor held the office of vice-chancellor. So does it means an acting VC passes PROF#5? --Saqib (talk) 15:11, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
I agree with the others who have already weighed in above and I don't think that interim or acting status passes muster. For someone who is a vice-chancellor, president, or provost it should be a moot point for most people because they should meet other criteria as highly respected, senior scholars. But by itself an interim, acting, or otherwise temporary appointment doesn't pass muster for this criterion. If there is confusion on this point and widespread consensus then we should edit the policy to clear it up. ElKevbo (talk) 16:45, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
@ElKevbo: It would be better to make some changes to the policy to avoid confusion. I can see we've several BLPs on acting vice-chancellors. --Saqib (talk) 16:52, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
I am strongly opposed to making changed to a policy while there are several AfDs underway. Even if done with the best of intentions and the support of the vast majority of editors it still feels...slimy? It's far better for us to weigh in on the AfDs and use those processes as another way to see if there is consensus to make this change; we may be in the minority and the policy may need to be clarified to say the opposite what we think it should say. ElKevbo (talk) 18:13, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
I agree that we should not change the guideline right away. I took a quick look at the AfD and the bio page and, although I won't participate in the AfD after having taken part in this discussion here, I think that it is a poor test case for the issue of "acting" appointments. The subject is not someone in an acting position, but rather is someone who is "former" in multiple positions because of now being emeritus. (I have not looked at any measures of scholarly impact.) --Tryptofish (talk) 20:09, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
I also didn't think that the subject was in an acting role; in addition I thought subject passed GNG. Anyways, the article is deleted now.  M A A Z   T A L K  08:11, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

Editors here need to know about this[edit]

Draft:RfaProf. Frankly, I'm rather appalled to discover that the discussion there has been going on without a notification here. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:21, 29 April 2018 (UTC)

Well, at least most of us are spared the vast amount of talk page dissertations it has already generated (now including mine). Not that these seem to be altering the draft much. I think it is good to have preliminary discussions for such a major proposal. But clearly it will end up here, so people may like to board up their windows now, if not retreat to the storm cellar or hide in the bath. Johnbod (talk) 15:02, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
Appalled, really? If you want to talk there, there is a talk page. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:23, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
The point was not that I wanted to talk but thought that I couldn't. The point is that an effort to revise this guideline should include a notification at this guideline. It's the same thing as if editors created a page to discuss Alanscottwalker without notifying Alanscottwalker. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:36, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
Well, I don't know. I assume you are not saying it's required, but I don't see why whomever those people are can't talk about whatever they want to talk about, without a notification (you are correct about talking about a User, but talking about a guideline does not seem the same, at all): they may abandon it, they may refine it, they may later seek additional input, etc. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:57, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I'm saying that "Appalled, really?" was not helpful. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:02, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
Well, "appalled", seems serious over-reaction. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:06, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
(ec) But "rather appalled" was?? I see nothing but benefit in attempting to improve a long and significant proposal for change in the draft space, before bringing it here. Looking at the talk page, it hardly shows a cabal at work. Johnbod (talk) 17:07, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I also see I see nothing but benefit in attempting to improve a long and significant proposal for change in the draft space, before bringing it here. However, it is unfortunate that the existence of the draft was not notified on this talk page as it gives critics the opportunity to allege that the process was carried out in some way surreptitiously. Xxanthippe (talk) 08:23, 1 May 2018 (UTC).
OK, I'll accept that. I apologize. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:10, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I am also an editor who found it strange that this page, where the highest concentration of editors interested in WP:Prof is to be found, was not notified of the discussion of the draft. More informed input input could have occurred at an earlier stage. I think that Tryptofish has nothing to apologise for. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:49, 1 May 2018 (UTC).
There was never anything preventing the OP from giving a neutral notice, here, which is the custom with notices -- moreover, multiple long-time editors here have been giving input there, what's the point in criticizing them, they are not doing it in secret, it's on a public page. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:43, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
I speak only for myself and for me, it's both an etiquette issue and a game theory issue. Typically, we have venues where these discussions are supposed to happen; that's why we have watchlists. Further, holding this sort of conversation in a smaller forum is a method to develop a proposal. Creating consensus in a larger group is mathematically harder to achieve. I don't probably want a change so I'm hostile to a semi-private working group trying to move the ball while I'm playing defense. Chris Troutman (talk) 11:11, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Disagree about typicality of discussing proposals, they spring-up everywhere often on some talk page User or otherwise, and they regularly involve long spit-ball conversations between various users. It's a fine thing for people to be conversing and thinking about. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:40, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
I thank Xxanthippe for the kind words. As far as I'm concerned, it's no skin off my back to say I'm sorry and move on. I was right to indicate that editors here needed to be aware of that discussion, and it was a mistake on the part of those discussants not to put a notification here right away. But it's legitimate to say I should have worded it neutrally. I was genuinely troubled by the lack of notification, but I didn't need to say it here. Similarly, some other editors probably would have been wiser to let what I said go, instead of raising an issue about it, because there has now been too much talk here about how notification should have been made instead of about the merits of the possible changes – but it is what it is. Anyway, I think we should move on. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:28, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Others may think that creating this draft without an explicit notification here is a tactical mistake but it's by no means required. Editors are free to work together in smaller groups as they discuss ideas and create potential drafts of possible proposals. On the same token, other editors are free to chime in without being explicitly invited and to draw other editors' notice to the discussion. So while the initial note here was a little bit brusque I don't think that anyone has done anything wrong. Continue discussing and collaborating, here or there! ElKevbo (talk) 22:38, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

Sergiu P. Pașca[edit]

Notable? - Biruitorul Talk 01:18, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

I haven't given it a deep examination, but seeing that he is a junior faculty member, I'm guessing not. Unfortunately, we get a lot of not-yet-ready pages about promising young academics early in their careers. But other editors may disagree with me. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:33, 9 June 2018 (UTC)