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Important notice for students: This website contains links to the Wikipedia free online encyclopedia. Student and scholars, however, need to approach Wikipedia with caution and use it appropriately. Wikipedia is built on the theory that the community is smarter than any one of us alone. Anyone can write, revise, or edit a Wikipedia encyclopedia article and articles are anonymous. Therefore there is no way to judge the credibility, authority, and reliability of a Wikipedia article, unless the reader already knows something about the subject. A recent study by Nature magazine which compared the quality of science article entries between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica found that
the difference in accuracy was not particularly great
, but on subjects where facts are subject to interpretation (eg. politics, historical background), the information can be inaccurate, one-sided, or sometimes even maliciously misleading. Our advice is that student researchers should not hesitate to use Wikipedia to get an overview of a topic; however, its use for a formal research paper where factual accuracy is essential is not recommended.