Dr. Yolanda Small

Dr. Yolanda Small audio

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I've always been this skeptic of Wiki because it's the first source for my students and in the chemistry community, we try to drive home that they're these peer-review journals that you should go to as your first source even if it's too dense at the beginning. They review articles within that peer review community that should like generalize it enough so that you have something like easily swallow able and then you go deeper and all of those are actually hidden behind the word you use for the first time-I didn't like think about it pay wall because those articles we don't have access to nature and science which are the biggest in the science community as York. So I have to go through my Brookhaven connection or some other source to get to a nature article and that's if that's the premier in our field, then our students will never be able to just reach for it. And so then- of course they Google, Wiki comes up first their like I'm good and so you can't-it's hard to like figure out how to incorporate an editor version of Wiki because they can't even see like all the American Chemical Society journals are also- York has access to it, but it's a paid subscription. So once they stop being York students, if they're not in another academic environment, they don't have access to the paid subscription. And so it's probably a cultural shift in science that we maybe have to like cut out the subscription to the journals that are peer-reviewed that we all respect so that everybody can access it then try to delve deeper. And so it's everything a student here at York has ever written, they start citing Wiki and they think of me as mean. I'm like “No, No I'm not grading this” and I go down to like two of the stack of thirty left or I'm only gonna look at these because they actually used real journal articles and the Wiki stuff. Yeah, some of its correct, but I don't have time to peer-review all the articles so I don't know if you know what's wrong and what's not and so I'm always on the shelf. I always say do not cite Wiki. Even if you look at it for general information, go down at the bottom and every science article I see, they go down at the bottom it's not a journal that I would have cited because it's the generally accessible ones-something free. And they don't have access to that behind the firewall of science where you have to go there to get to the work of our peers. So it's probably bigger than this conversation like how to get science to merge with the general populace and there are a ton of…what do they call it these days? These open access books now that we're trying to incorporate into our classes, where a bunch of scientists have gotten together and said “Okay, we're not paying the publishers anymore but we're going to make these buttons”. Perhaps that brings it out to the forefront that science knowledge should be publicly accessible if we clean that we're behind globally in teaching science but then, okay our students can't really get to the information if it's paid for and you know. So it's a bigger conversation but that's where I've been sitting. Like on this skeptical shelf like never use Wiki. You can probably privately use it but you still have to go journal X, journal Y and journal Z, which I know has been peer-reviewed and then you can talk about that particular topic with any level of credibility. So that's where I am.