- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2006

CHICAGO (AP) — Encyclopaedia Britannica has completed an exhaustive research article on an unlikely new topic — questions about its accuracy. The publisher’s verdict: It was wronged.

Firing back at an article in the science journal Nature that likened its accuracy to that of Wikipedia, the Internet site that lets anyone contribute, Britannica said in a 20-page statement last week that “almost everything about the journal’s investigation … was wrong and misleading.”

The venerable encyclopedia publisher, which has enjoyed an almost unassailed reputation for reliability since the 18th century, called Nature’s research invalid, its study poorly carried out and its findings “so error-laden that it was completely without merit.”

“The entire undertaking — from the study’s methodology to the misleading way Nature ‘spun’ the story — was misconceived,” Britannica said.

Nature, in a statement on its Web site, stood by the article despite Britannica’s accusations of misrepresentation, sloppiness and indifference to scholarly standards.

“We reject those accusations and are our confident our comparison was fair,” the statement said.


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