(2003) states in “Reference Books? Give me Wikipedia,” by using Wikipedia students “learn that they have a gateway to knowledge unprecedented in the history of man, and that this opens up access to sources of information that they might never have glimpsed as they struggled with poorly equipped libraries unhelpful staff and unimaginative lecturers, then they will realise that, far from blunting curiosity, it (wikipedia) sharpens it.”
Wikipedia is a reliable source of information because of the
active commitment of its editors to maintain quality of the content available on
the site. The 4.2 million entries that can be freely accessed on wikipedia were
not, contrary to a common misconception arising from the seemingly ‘open
access’ to wikipdia, entries are not written or edited by its millions of users.
In fact, most of the entries are edited by a small group of active and committed
editors (Swartz, 2006) who
scrutinize and monitor the content with their watchful eyes. In "Who Writes Wikipedia?" Swartz (2006) quotes
Having said that, it is also worth pointing out that the widespread accessibility of wikipedia and the possibility it carries to allow anybody regardless of his/her status and academic qualifications to become one of the active and committed editors/experts expands the traditional form of “peer-reviewing” done by a closely-knit circle of experts nominated by other experts to do the job. This new opportunity for knowledge sharing and knowledge scrutinizing afforded by wikipedia constitutes a major shift in allowing many who otherwise would not have access to “peer-reviewing” to become the watchful editors of online knowledge.