Unlike your year six school project about the Sphinx, each fact entered in Wikipedia by site editors has to be linked back to a reference.
Wikimedia Foundation recently conducted a study to find out what the top ten most cited sources were, and discovered that an academic paper, published in 2007 by three Melburne University researchers, is far and away the most cited paper on Wikipedia, with a whopping 2.8 million references. To put that into perspective, the closest work has only been referenced 21,000 times.
The study was done in April, but the researchers weren’t even aware of this fact until Wired contacted them a few days ago.
“Those numbers blew me away,” says one of the authors of the paper, Brian Finlayson. “None of us had any idea about this. We didn’t know Wikipedia collected this information or anything about it.”
Their paper contains an updated version of German climatologist Rudolf Geiger’s own ’50s update of climatologist Wladimir Köppen‘s 1884 climate map.
“There’s nothing scientifically new in it, we simply used Köppen’s classification and added new data to it and then drew a world map,” says Finlayson. “The reason it’s so widely cited is because it’s useful, and I think that’s the important point about it, it’s not that we suddenly dropped into the system this brand new thing that had never been done before.”
Modest Aussies. Own it, dudes!
The map is below, for your citing pleasure.