This study is aimed to study how wiki resources were cited in academic works. Online resources and Wikipedia were not recommended to be cited due to the unstable accessibility. However, in recent studies it shows that there are more and more citations from web resources and Wikipedia. The reason why and how the authors cited these resources as references were unknown. Take TaiwanBaseballWiki for example. It is a wiki page with baseball-related knowledge of Taiwan and it has collected mass data and accumulated more than 400 million page views. The focus of a previous study was on different user groups and this study is aimed to study how the authors cited TaiwanBaseballWiki and how the cited pages have changed.
This study investigated how academic works citing TaiwanBaseballWiki and the changes in the cited pages. A total of 460 references cited from TaiwanBaseballWiki used in theses, journal articles, conference papers and books were gathered for analysis. This study is focusing on reference accuracy and completeness, citation locations, citation topics, the changes of cited pages, the types of changes, and the trend in edits.
The results of the study revealed that:
(1) Six kinds of information which are the name of the page author, the page title, the site name, the access date, the date of the latest update, and the URL should be included in reference and 84.03% of the 460 references had at least three of them. We considered that the page title and the URL should be necessary. Only 28 (6.09%) references had all the information. 152 (35.19%) of the 460 references were lack of 2 kinds of the information at the same time, among which the combination of missing site names and missing dates of last update was the most. Two kinds of information that the authors couldn’t handle well were the names of the page authors and the names of the cited sites. 19.51% citations misused recent author names of the pages or other related organizations names for page author names; 37.64% citations misused the names of other sites also built by wiki or other official website names of related organizations. The correct page author name should have been “TwBsBall contributors”; and the correct site name should have been “TaiwanBaseballWiki” or “Wiki Baseball”.
(2) Most of the citations were used in the following sections: the research results, the literature review and the introduction. Some boundaries of IMRaD structure were not clear. Each reference could mainly relate to 1 or 2 citations in the content, and while some of them had no corresponding citations, the possible reason for which was that the authors might hold different attitude toward wiki resources. Some of the authors would write the citations improperly.
(3) Citation topics were mainly used in figures, events, TaiwanBaseballWiki related information, organizations, history, games, and teams. The research subject would affect the locations of citations. Theses and dissertations of disciplines of teacher training and education science, personal services, and journalism and information were cited the most, a total of 62.96% citations.
(4) The cited pages in TaiwanBaseballWiki are usually cited 1 or 2 times. Most of them are in good condition, and the contents of them are more complete, such as the memorabilia or the history. The homepage has been cited 109 times and the possible reason was that author trickily cited the site instead of the page used.
(5) Most of the titles of cited pages remained unchanged and the change in the page content was less than 25%. However, it might increase as time goes by. Some changes were made due to wording or layout issues, such as the changes in the HTML codes.
(6) The six categories cited the most were figures, games, organizations, terminology, teams, and events, in which there are usually information of multiple people, multiple years, topics attracting much attention from the society or those worthwhile researching at that time. The trend in edits of cited pages might be related to the category of the page. Nonetheless, popularity might be the major factor behind the increasing edits from contributors and it may be more obvious than the trend.
The suggestions based on the findings of this study are as followed:
(1) Researchers should be responsible for writing reference and citations correctly and completely. Do not hold different attitudes towards various citation resources. If your reference and citations are incorrect, the researchers in the future could not retrieve the literature they need, nor will they obtain the correct data, which might violate the academic ethics.
(2) Citation style guides or manuals should provide instruction on how to cite wiki resources, especially for the specific features of wiki. For now, only Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association provided a specific instruction on how to cite Wikipedia as an online reference.
(3) TaiwanBaseballWiki should improve the information provided, reduce the chance of confusing authors, such as recent authors of the page, and the edits should be contributed to “TwBsBall contributors”. Besides, wiki provides the special function called “cite this page” but it seems that author don’t know it. TaiwanBaseballWiki should promote this function more.