Wikipedia Supply References: Standards for Citations


Image of seasaw balance scale with two letter W's.Image of seasaw balance scale with two letter W's.

Notability is a very powerful criterion for a Wikipedia article, good references to assist statements within the Wikipedia article are an in depth second in significance.

This text will emphasize the significance of recognizing dependable sources for Wikipedia, highlighting that dependable sources are essential for making certain the accuracy and trustworthiness of Wikipedia articles. Dependable sources are sometimes characterised by their dedication to rigorous fact-checking and adherence to editorial requirements, they usually embrace scholarly sources, main information organizations, and sure digital sources with documented skilled oversight.

Understanding the distinction between dependable and unreliable sources is a fundamental software for Wikipedia contributors to create articles that can stand the take a look at of time (i.e. not get deleted or rolled again). Scholarly sources, like peer-reviewed journals and educational publications, are deemed most dependable. In the meantime, major sources ought to be used cautiously, whereas secondary sources are most well-liked for his or her analytical depth (There’s a part under concerning the variations). We are going to cowl unreliable sources like tabloids, content material farms, and biased on-line publications unsuitable for Wikipedia as a result of their lack of editorial rigor and factual inaccuracies.

The reliability of a supply is predicated on its skill to assist the data as offered in an article properly [1]. Beneath, we’ll element the standards for dependable sources, together with examples of good and dangerous references. Good references have a tendency to stay, whereas dangerous ones are usually eliminated together with the assertion it was supporting on the Wikipedia web page. At all times use good references.

TLDR: Fundamental Tips for Wikipedia References

  • References ought to be by a 3rd social gathering, not the article’s topic.
  • The reference ought to be all concerning the topic. Not only a passing point out. Ideally, the topic’s identify is within the headline.
  • The publication on which the reference is positioned ought to, ideally, have its personal Wikipedia article.
  • If the reference is an article, it ought to be written by a employees author, not a contributor.
  • The writer being referenced shouldn’t be on the untrusted checklist right here.
  • Business publications are usually not as robust as extra well-known publications. Instance: Crypto business publications have a tendency not be as trusted because the New York Instances.
  • The reference ought to, ideally, be in the identical language because the Wikipedia article.

Bounce to a Part


Figuring out what’s a dependable supply on Wikipedia, and what’s not, is vital for each Wikipedia editors and readers in search of verified and reliable info. Dependable sources on Wikipedia are revealed sources identified for his or her dedication to fact-checking and accuracy, which is necessary for verifying content material [1].

What’s thought of a dependable Wikipedia supply can range broadly, from educational and peer-reviewed publications to main information organizations. Some main information organizations that aren’t thought of dependable would possibly shock you. This distinction between dependable and unreliable sources turns into the premise for correct citations and builds the scaffolding for a well-developed Wikipedia article [1][3].

Traits of Dependable Sources for Wikipedia

Contextual Reliability

Dependable sources on Wikipedia are important for any materials that’s challenged or more likely to be challenged [1]. The reliability of a supply is context-dependent, which implies that every supply have to be evaluated to find out whether it is appropriate for the particular assertion being made within the Wikipedia article [1].

Scholarly Sources are the Most Dependable

Scholarship sources similar to educational and peer-reviewed publications, scholarly monographs, and textbooks are usually essentially the most dependable sources out there [1]. These sources bear rigorous peer evaluate and are sometimes the cornerstone for factual accuracy and detailed evaluation in Wikipedia articles [1].

Most Information Retailers are Dependable

Information reporting from well-established information retailers is often thought of dependable for statements of reality [1]. These retailers have established editorial requirements and sturdy fact-checking processes, making them reliable sources for present occasions and factual reporting [1]. However watch out; publishers like Fox Information have each good and dangerous reputations on Wikipedia, relying on what a part of the group an article is utilizing as a supply.

Utilizing Books as Supply Materials for Wikipedia References

Books will be good references for offering in-depth info and supporting articles.

On-line and Offline Books

  • On-line Books: Books which might be revealed on-line of their entirety can function good references for Wikipedia articles. However, it’s necessary to notice that whereas on-line availability will be handy, it’s not fully crucial if the e book will be checked out at a library or bought.
  • Offline Books: Books that aren’t out there on-line however will be accessed by way of libraries or bought are additionally appropriate for Wikipedia references. It’s important to make sure that the e book is credible and related to the subject being referenced.

Biographies and Medical Data

For biographies of dwelling individuals (BLP), Wikipedia depends closely on dependable secondary sources. Contentious materials about dwelling people that’s unsourced or poorly sourced is commonly eliminated instantly[1].

Within the realm of biomedical info, the perfect sources embrace normal or systematic evaluations in respected medical journals, widely known customary textbooks, or medical pointers from respected knowledgeable our bodies [1].

Accuracy and Use of Biased Sources

An instance of a biased Wikipedia supply we are sometimes confronted with is an individual’s personal web site within the case of a dwelling individual, or the company web site of a enterprise. The accuracy of quoted materials, particularly from dwelling individuals, is handled with what we name heightened sensitivity [1]. The identical will be mentioned for business sources. Business sources like a crypto-related publication writing a few crypto firm will fairly often invite scrutiny. At Fame X don’t suggest utilizing business publications for sure industries in any respect.

Specialised Content material Areas

Totally different topic areas on Wikipedia require sources which might be acceptable to the sector. Listed below are some examples:

  • Historic Articles: Use revealed scholarly sources from educational presses [1].
  • Bodily Sciences and Medication: Depend on peer-reviewed scientific publications and group consensus [1].
  • Legislation Articles: Cite authorized texts and knowledgeable opinions inside the jurisdiction [1].
  • Enterprise and Commerce: Consult with independently audited accounts and notes [1].

A observe on statistical knowledge as a Wikipedia reference

Statistical knowledge, usually thought of a major supply, ought to be used cautiously and provided that sourced from respected establishments the place the info has been appropriately interpreted [7]. Equally, in historic articles and specialised fields like legislation and drugs, the emphasis is on utilizing secondary sources that present a layer of interpretation and evaluation over major knowledge [7].

Main, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources for Wikipedia

Main Sources on Wikipedia

Main sources present firsthand info or unique knowledge.

They embrace unique paperwork, inventive works, interviews, speeches, artifacts, surveys, and historic information [6][10]. These sources are sometimes difficult to make use of appropriately in Wikipedia articles as a result of their direct nature and the necessity for cautious interpretation and contextualization [1].

Main Supply Materials Examples for Wikipedia References

  • Authentic Paperwork
    • Unedited letters, diaries, manuscripts, and different first-hand accounts.
  • Speeches and Interviews
    • Transcripts or recordings of speeches, interviews, and oral histories.
  • An Group’s Personal Web site
    • A enterprise’s personal web site will be thought of a major supply.

Secondary Sources on Wikipedia

Secondary sources analyze, interpret, or touch upon the data supplied by major sources.

They supply context, background, or perspective and are sometimes seen in kinds similar to scholarly articles, biographies, historic research, evaluations, and textbooks [10][11]. These sources are essential for including depth and scholarly evaluation to Wikipedia entries.

Tertiary Sources on Wikipedia

Tertiary sources consolidate, summarize, or index major and secondary sources.

They purpose to offer an summary or normal information on a subject, making them accessible however not detailed. Widespread examples embrace encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, reality books, guidebooks, and manuals [10][11]. Wikipedia itself is categorized as a tertiary supply as a result of its nature as a consolidated and summarized platform of knowledge. Nevertheless, it’s not thought of a dependable educational supply as a result of its open-editing format [10].

Evaluating the Reliability of Totally different Varieties of Sources

The reliability of major, secondary, and tertiary sources on Wikipedia is decided by many components: the subject-matter experience of whoever produced it, the readability of the underlying unique sources, the independence from the topic being mentioned, and their normal regard as dependable by others within the discipline [10]. When utilizing these sources, Wikipedia editors have gotten to think about their appropriateness based mostly on the content material’s complexity and the supply of higher sources. For example, whereas tertiary sources may be helpful for easy information or normal overviews, they aren’t thought of appropriate for controversial materials or in-depth evaluation [10].

Sensible Functions in Wikipedia

In Wikipedia, using these sources must be balanced. Main sources ought to be used sparingly, particularly for controversial or detailed discussions. Secondary sources are most well-liked as they supply crucial evaluation and interpretation, enhancing the credibility and depth of the articles. Tertiary sources, whereas helpful for broad overviews, shouldn’t be relied upon for detailed claims or present info as a result of potential points with comprehensiveness and timeliness [10].

Contributors vs Workers Writers

Whereas a giant publication like could also be a stable writer on which to discover a appropriate reference, who wrote the piece is necessary as properly. Workers writers are way more trusted than contributors. At all times select a employees author over a contributor when creating or citing references for Wikipedia articles.

Examples of Good Wikipedia Reference Sources

On the planet of Wikipedia enhancing, understanding which forms of hyperlinks present essentially the most dependable info is vital. For e-commerce associated subjects, it’s usually extra helpful to reference direct e-commerce hyperlinks relatively than hyperlinks from aggregators. This strategy ensures that the data is sourced straight from the first supplier, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of the content material on Wikipedia [1].

Tutorial Journals and Books

  • Instance: Citations from peer-reviewed educational journals similar to Nature, Science, or The Journal of Neuroscience are thought of extremely dependable on Wikipedia.
  • Why It’s Good: Tutorial journals and books are sometimes peer-reviewed and comprise in-depth analysis carried out by specialists within the discipline.

Information Retailers

  • Instance: References from respected information organizations like The New York Instances, BBC, or The Guardian are usually accepted on Wikipedia.
  • Why it’s Good: Information retailers usually have editorial oversight and fact-checking processes that make sure the accuracy of their reporting.

Authorities and Official Web sites

  • Instance: Citations from authorities web sites, similar to these ending in .gov (e.g., or official organizations just like the World Well being Group, are thought of dependable sources.
  • Why it’s Good: Official web sites usually present knowledge, statistics, and knowledge backed by authorities or authoritative entities.

Scholarly Publications

  • Instance: References from scholarly publications are usually thought of acceptable on Wikipedia.
  • Why it’s Good: Scholarly publications are sometimes written by specialists of their respective fields and bear peer evaluate.

Books by Respected Publishers

  • Instance: Citations from books revealed by well-known and respected publishers like Oxford College Press, Cambridge College Press, or Harvard College Press are thought of dependable sources.
  • Why it’s Good: Books from established publishers usually bear rigorous editorial and fact-checking processes.

Avoiding Self-Printed Sources

  • Instance: References from private blogs, self-published books, or non-peer-reviewed web sites ought to be averted on Wikipedia.
  • Why It’s Necessary: Self-published sources might lack editorial oversight and will comprise biased or unverified info.

When including references to Wikipedia, it’s important to prioritize accuracy, verifiability, and reliability with a view to preserve the integrity of the content material.

Examples of Unhealthy Wikipedia Reference Sources

State-Managed Media

State-associated or state-controlled information organizations in international locations with low press freedom might function propaganda retailers relatively than unbiased info sources. These sources ought to be approached with warning when contemplating their use in Wikipedia citations [9].

Press Releases

Press releases are thought of self-published and are usually not usually acceptable as high quality Wikipedia references. Whereas we do see press releases, we don’t counsel utilizing them.

Tabloid Journalism

Publications similar to The Solar, Each day Mirror, Each day Mail, and the Each day Specific are identified for his or her sensational journalism. These sources are susceptible to sensationalism and occasional inaccuracies, making them much less dependable for factual Wikipedia citations [9].

Self-Printed Sources

Self-published sources, except authored by a longtime knowledgeable on the subject material, are usually not acceptable on Wikipedia [1]. This contains books, blogs, web sites, press releases, and different types of media the place the creator has not undergone editorial scrutiny from different specialists within the discipline. At Fame X, we suggest utilizing books that aren’t self-published, if books have to be used as a supply to assist a press release on Wikipedia.

State-Managed Media

State-associated or state-controlled information organizations could also be used to find out the official positions of their sponsoring governments however ought to be handled with warning as they might additionally function propaganda retailers [9]. Examples of state media embrace China International Tv Community which was deprecated for publishing. non-factual info.

Unreliable On-line Encyclopedias and Consumer-Generated Content material

On-line encyclopedias that merely choose and rewrite sure Wikipedia articles, similar to New World Encyclopedia, and user-generated websites like h2g2, are usually not thought of dependable as a result of their lack of formal editorial management [9]. Equally, business websites like, which lack clear editorial oversight, and content material farms that pay writers to supply articles based mostly on standard search phrases are thought of unreliable for the aim of Wikipedia sourcing [9].

On-line Enterprise Information Sources

PR Newswire and VerticalNews are examples of platforms that ought to be thought of major sources except verified for impartial authorship and editorial evaluate. Their direct nature usually lacks the mandatory scrutiny for Wikipedia requirements [9].

Conspiracist Web sites

Websites like Infowars are infamous for selling conspiracy theories and misinformation. These sources are unreliable for Wikipedia as they compromise factual integrity and objectivity [9].

Biased On-line Publications has a documented historical past of publishing distorted information and outright falsehoods, notably about political adversaries. Such sources undermine the credibility required for Wikipedia references [9].

Monetary and Funding Opinion Websites

Opinion-driven platforms similar to Looking for Alpha,, and The Motley Idiot are influenced by exterior pursuits and market speculations, making them unreliable for factual reporting in Wikipedia articles [9].

Content material Farms and platforms owned by Demand Media are identified for his or her lack of rigorous editorial oversight. The content material produced is commonly not sufficiently verified to be used in Wikipedia [9].

Satirical and Parody Sources

The Onion, The Each day Currant, and related websites publish content material that’s deliberately fictitious and satirical. These sources are unsuitable for factual quotation as a result of their parody nature [9].

Predatory and Biased Scholarly Publications

Journals just like the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons and others listed have reputations for bias or lack of rigorous peer evaluate. They don’t meet the excessive requirements required for Wikipedia citations [9].

Wikipedia Mirrors and Round Referencing

Utilizing Wikipedia as a supply inside Wikipedia, or citing mirrors that merely copy Wikipedia content material, results in round referencing and doesn’t present new, verifiable info [9].

Miscellaneous Non-Dependable On-line Sources

Platforms like h2g2, BBC Music, and supply content material that varies considerably in reliability and sometimes lacks correct editorial oversight, making them questionable sources for Wikipedia [9].

Self-Printed and Self-importance Press

Books revealed by way of providers like iUniverse and lack formal editorial processes and are usually not acceptable for credible Wikipedia citations [9].

Listing Scams and Fan Websites

‘Who’s Who’ directories usually contain promoting fraudulent memberships, and fansites, whereas typically containing helpful historic scans, usually don’t meet the reliability requirements required for Wikipedia [9].

Private Communications

Data from private communications is taken into account unique analysis and isn’t permitted in Wikipedia as it could possibly’t be independently verified [9].


What defines a dependable supply on Wikipedia?
A dependable supply on Wikipedia is often a good secondary supply, similar to paperwork or recordings that debate info initially offered elsewhere. Additionally, revered tertiary sources like introductory college textbooks, almanacs, and encyclopedias can be utilized for quotation functions.

How are you going to decide the reliability of a Wikipedia article?
A Wikipedia article is taken into account dependable if the data offered is supported by citations from dependable sources. To make sure reliability, confirm that the cited sources truly assist the content material of the article. Wikipedia content material ought to be used straight solely when the subject of the article is Wikipedia itself.

Are the citations present in Wikipedia articles thought of dependable?
Citations inside Wikipedia are usually not deemed dependable for formal educational writing. Many instructional establishments, together with colleges and universities, don’t settle for Wikipedia as a major supply. Some have outright banned its use, whereas others might permit it solely as a way to direct readers to exterior sources.

Is it acceptable to make use of Wikipedia as a reputable supply for analysis?
Wikipedia is usually not acknowledged as a reputable supply for analysis in educational settings. Insurance policies at quite a few faculties, universities, and secondary colleges, each private and non-private, usually prohibit college students from utilizing Wikipedia as a reference for analysis papers, essays, or related assignments as a result of its open enhancing nature, which permits anybody to make modifications at any time.


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