Britannica Comes Out Swinging at Nature

As any good intellect does when challenged by something they don’t like, long time encyclopedia giant Encyclopedia Britannicahas quietly posted a twenty page rebuttal (PDF) on its corporate site which shreds a December 2005 study conducted bythe science journal Nature. In this study, Nature claimed their research comparing Britannica and volunteer run online encyclopedia Wikipedia had found “that Wikipedia comes close to Britannicain terms of the accuracy of its science entries” and that “the difference in accuracy was not particularly great”.   In Encyclopedia Britannica’s rebuttal, the venerable encyclopedia states that“almost everything about the journal’s investigation, from the criteria for identifying inaccuracies, to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading”. Theyfeel that dozens of inaccuracies found and attributed to the encyclopedia were not inaccuracies at all and, in some cases, the examples cited by Nature were not even within the actual pages of the”core” encyclopedia.   Brittancia, in defending themselves, said they do not wish to imply they are error-free. In the cases in which the encyclopedia felt there were genuine inaccuracies, theywere corrected. As an overall study however, Brittancia felt the Nature piece “was without value” and called on the science journal to “issue a full and public retraction of the article”.  Nature, for their part, published an addenium to their December article (DOC) in which they detail how the data wascollected. Wikipedia also published a list of the errors found during the Nature review processand showed how, by late Janaury of 2006, they had all been corrected.   [story via Slashdot]