CZ:Citizendium Press Releases/Sept192008

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For immediate release

Wiki Encyclopedia Invites Biologists to a Weeklong Open House

International Cyberspace — September 19 — Biology Week, an online "open house" for biologists, biology students, and anyone else interested, begins September 22 on Citizendium (, the next-generation wiki encyclopedia started by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger.

During the week, biologists and anyone interested in the topic are invited test out the Citizendium system. Editors and authors from the project's Biology Workgroup will be on hand to meet and greet new people on the wiki. "I strongly believe that the Citizendium system will be appealing to many scientists and scholars," said Sanger. "Many of them just need to give it a try. Biology Week is an excuse for biologists to try out the system together."

Biology is one of the more active areas in the Citizendium, with nearly 1,000 articles in progress. Unlike the Encyclopedia of Life, the project is a wiki and benefits from strong collaboration; for an example of the success of the system, biologists might want to see the article "Life" (

Dr. Gareth Leng, Professor of Experimental Physiology at the University of Edinburgh, and Citizendium author and editor, described the project: "Our role will not be to tell readers what opinions they should hold, but to give them the means to decide, rationally, for themselves. The role of experts is critical—not to impose opinions, but to support accuracy in reporting and citing information."

The Citizendium, or "citizens' compendium," uses the same software as Wikipedia. It is a successful public-expert hybrid project to produce a general reference resource. The community encourages general public participation, but makes a low-key, guiding role for experts. It also requires real names and asks contributors to sign a "social contract."

As a result, the project is vandalism-free and, despite its youth (its public launch was just 18 months ago), has steadily added over 8,000 articles, many of them of fine quality.



Prof. Supten Sarbadhikari (Biology Week coordinator)

Founding Chair of Biomedical Informatics
PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research
Coimbatore, India

Dr. Daniel Mietchen (Biology Week coordinator)

Structural Brain Mapping Group
Department of Psychiatry
University of Jena

Dr. Larry Sanger

Editor-in-Chief, Citizendium; co-founder of Wikipedia
Executive Director, WatchKnow (to launch soon)