From HandWiki

What is the difference between HandWiki and Wikipedia?

Current Wikipedia Wikipedia is not a public encyclopedia in the classical sense (i.e. "a work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or treats comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge" according to Merriam-Webster definition). Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia in this sense since it does not attempt to cover all existing subjects. It summaries topics that are already extensively covered by reliable external sources. Such external sources should be independent and "solely" dedicated to such topics. If there are many external sources mentioning a topic, but they are not dedicated to this topic, such a topic cannot be covered by Wikipedia.

Wikipedia articles are written by anonymous authors without established knowledge on subjects and verifiable credentials, therefore, they heavily rely on external references that are considered by them as "reliable" to confirm facts. As the result, the article acceptance process in Wikipedia is opaque, i.e. a reflection of personal beliefs of non-experts on quality of these external sources (Are they "reliable"? Are they fully dedicated to the subject? Are they truly independent?), rather than a reflection of expert opinion on such topics.

Unlike Wikipedia, HandWiki can be used for new and original content. Authors can add their names directly at the bottom of each article using Author template. HandWiki also has a very different Dispute resolution model that takes into account distinct opinions. This model does not involve editors with administrative rights to create final versions of the articles.

Finally, Wikipedia is not fully public resource for editing articles. Many Wikipedia articles are semi-protected from editing. You can edit such articles in HandWiki.

Difference between HandWiki and other encyclopedias?

HandWiki is dedicated to scientific knowledge (formal, natural and social sciences), with the emphasis on computing. Other encyclopedias, typically, have a more challenging task to talk about "everything". HandWiki is designed keeping researches in mind. For example, HandWiki articles and separate formulae can be exported to the LaTeX format and citations can be imported from BibTeX databases, which are widely used in academia. Programmers can write articles with links to documentation APIs (for Java and Python classes). All HandWiki articles are organized in special namespaces, a useful feature for searching specialized terms. HandWiki also allows easy export and import to/from Wikipedia since it uses MediaWiki markup. Finally, Everipedia is a commercial company, while HandWiki is not.

Difference in governance policies between HandWiki and Wikipedia

All registered editors in HandWiki are treated equally, with respect and dignity. No users will receive administrative privileges to modify, remove or protect articles from editing by others. If an article does not meet the HandWiki standard ("at least one relevant external source"), it will be removed by an AI boat, or technical personnel. This is in sharp contrast to Wikipedia where anonymous power editors and administrators make final decisions about how many reliable sources should be included in order to keep a Wikipedia article, while contributing users do not have such rights.

Some HandWiki articles may not have a neutral point of view since the initial motivation to write such articles had self-promotional goals. Self-promotion of published research work by professionals can only be encouraged. Self-promotion is a good motivation to start contributing to wiki content of the Internet. HandWiki relies on professionalism of editors with scholarly background. Eventually, edits by many users should improve ill-balanced statements, make articles more neutral and align with the encyclopedic standard. See also this question.

Technical differences between HandWiki and Wikipedia

HandWiki and Wikipedia use the same MediaWiki platform for their content. However, HandWiki has the following modifications:

  • HandWiki organizes articles independently in topical portals ("namespaces") and categories, while Wikipedia organizes articles in categories only. This mitigates the problem of similar article titles for different topics, and removes Wikipedia's disambiguation . As the result, navigation in HandWiki is significantly simpler (and faster) than in Wikipedia.
  • Improved search engine (faster speed plus navigation in different namespaces).
  • Obtain explanations of any word after selecting it with the mouth (+left button click).
  • Typing a word in the search window automatically suggests topics (see the top search bar).
  • Wiki editor suggests articles when start typing internal links.
  • LaTeX friendly. One can cite articles using uploaded BibTeX files or after importing citations from ArXiv.org.
  • To encourage content sharing, HandWiki articles can be exported to ZWI files with LaTeX and HTML article versions (together with all images).
  • Articles can be submitted to Encyclosphere (see the top-right button "ZWI export").
  • Code highlighting and equation parsing are done by JavaScript.
  • Uses MathJax that allows exporting equations and chemical formulas to the MathML and LaTeX format (see Help).
  • Integration with documentation of several programming languages (see here).
  • External URL links to define words are allowed.

HandWiki supports Wikipedia templates, but only those which are best maintained (and used for more than 5 articles). Finally, HandWiki has a smaller number of missing internal links than Wikipedia (they are automatically corrected by bots).

Is it easier to add articles to HandWiki than to Wikipedia?

HandWiki's requirements for accepting articles are significantly simpler than for Wikipedia. HandWiki can contain articles about scholarly topics that exist, not only the topics extensively covered by other sources as in the case of Wikipedia. The correctness of HandWiki articles is verified by editors with expertise in these topics. HandWiki accepts all articles with at least one external verifiable reference (see HandWiki Article Acceptance Policy). However, HandWiki registration requires a minimum professional credential. Read about HandWiki for more information.

As the result of this article acceptance policy, HandWiki contains a significant number of articles on various topics that are not in Wikipedia. In particular, HandWiki contains tens of thousands of scholarly articles submitted to Wikipedia, which were later permanently removed by the Wikipedia editors who could not found their extensive coverage by multiple independent sources. For example, a term, phenomenon or a definition introduced in an established peer-reviewed journal can be summarized in HandWiki, but not in Wikipedia if multiple independent articles with extensive descriptions of such topics cannot be found in the Internet.

HandWiki is better suited for new and original content created by professionals. Since HandWiki editors are researchers with verified credentials, HandWiki's "article notability" concept only requires at least one external reference. HandWiki can also be used for books, manuals etc. where many articles should be grouped under a single namespace to create tables of contents.

Is HandWiki larger than Wikipedia?

For 20,000 common categories related to research topics, the number of HandWiki articles is about 10% larger than the number of articles in English Wikipedia. In addition to Wikipedia research articles (modified by the users with credentials), HandWiki includes original articles and articles that are permanently removed (since 2017) from the current Wikipedia due to the notability restriction. For some topics, the number of non-Wikipedia articles is of the order of tens of thousands. See HandWiki statistics. Also see the next question.

What is the number of original Handwiki articles?

HandWiki has about 60,000 articles that are not in the current Wikipedia (February 2024). About 70% of such articles are deleted articles from Wikipedia posted before 2021.

How does HandWiki compare with other Mediawiki projects

According to Wikimedia.org [1], HandWiki is the #3 world's largest wiki among general-purpose MediWiki websites. HandWiki is the largest specialized encyclopedias for all major research topics, such as mathematics, astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, medicine and technology.

Is HandWiki included in Encyclosphere?

HandWiki was included into the Encyclosphere project in 2021. Since that time many articles from HandWiki were included in to the network.

Who can add and edit HandWiki articles?

HandWiki can be edited by registered users with verified professional credentials. One can login or request the HandWiki account here. We know that a minimum professional credential could be a very high bar for many traditional Wikipedia editors, but this is a small price to pay to avoid spam since we do not have a staff for checking the posted articles, plus HandWiki is more permissive for adding scholarly content than Wikipedia.

Editing HandWiki articles without registration

If you cannot (or do not want) to register on HandWiki, you can still add and correct HandWiki articles. Use HandWiki sandbox. If you want to make changes to the existing articles, copy the wikicode (top-right link called "View Source") and paste it to a new draft with the same title in the SandBox. These draft articles will be relocated to HandWiki by registered users.

Can I add a backlink inside a HandWiki article?

If you think there is an external link which is relevant to the content of the article, you can add such a link to this article either as a citation or as a link inside the section called "See also" at the bottom of each article. This is possible even if you are not a professional researcher (and your sole goal is to add a backlink). Note that such URL link may not stay permanently, i.e. it can be changed by other users if they determine that the link is irrelevant to the topic of the article. We should also remind that contextually irrelevant links will be removed by automated bots analyzing the content of the URL links.

If you think that you can improve an article by adding an external "backlink", you should obtain the account to become a permanent user of HandWiki. You can create the account even if you are not professional researcher as explained here.

Can I add an advertising to HandWiki?

If you are interested in creating advertising campaign, look at sponsorship opportunities. HandWiki allows to add an image with Ads at the bottom of articles. Typically, Ads target audience for specific HandWiki topics. The funds from advertising campaigns are directed towards maintenance cost of HandWiki.

Can I update a HandWiki article from Wikipedia?

Yes, you can. Copy and paste the URL to Wikipedia article using the article import tool. The corresponding HandWiki article will be updated. Note that it will have the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, and its source will point to Wikipedia. If you a sole contributor to this Wikipedia article, you may re-write it using HandWiki without attribution to Wikipedia.

Can HandWiki team help with editing articles?

No. The HandWiki team only provides a technical support of hardware, software and solves problems with registration. HandWiki runs in a fully automated mode. Only registered users can edit articles, and they are treated equally. If you cannot edit an article, ask your friend with professional credentials to register and edit it.

Where should I post an article about a website?

All articles about websites should go under the specific HandWiki topics. For example, if a website is about software programs, it goes to the namespace "Software". If a website is about biology-related subjects, such websites should go to the namespace "Biology".

I see an article that looks inaccurate (or wrong)

HandWiki does not have editors who verify correctness of all posted articles since it relies on the verifiable research credentials of its authors.

If you think that an article is misleading, your can make the required corrections and object it in the "Discussion" page. Another option is to move this article to the Unsolved namespace.

In addition, Handwiki provisions a special mechanism to display alternative opinions, integrate them in the body of the articles, and protect from editing by other editors. See HandWiki Policies.

We think that "inclusionism" (see Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia) is a more sustainable concept for wiki resources than having an anonymous superuser or administrator who decides what article should be accepted, and what article should be rejected. False theories happen. Even Einstein made his share of errors, and was wrong on many occasions. Science is not made by individuals. But false theories are going to die eventually through a joint effort. HandWiki is all about this joint effort.

Is HandWiki reliable source of information?

HandWiki is designed to summarize the facts and external secondary sources (such as peer-reviewed articles, books, etc). The reliability of HandWiki articles is not guaranteed. However, as a resource written by professionals with research credentials, its reliability could be higher than for Wikipedia [2]. In addition, the policy of HandWiki is "All Voices Should be Heard", i.e. a professional who disagrees with an article can always insert a block of text where his opinion cannot be removed by other users. This makes HandWiki to be distinct from other similar public wikis.

Can HandWiki administrators remove an article?

Only if this article is 100% spam, and does not have any external citation that supports its content. Unlike Wikipedia, we do not require 4-5 high-quality external reviews solely dedicated to the subject. "High-quality" is a matter of definition and, by nature, is subjective. "Solely dedicated review" is a very strong criterion for many scholarly terms and software programs.

May my contribution get lost in HandWiki?

HandWiki has a regular backup. We will do everything possible to restore HandWiki in the case of technical problems. However, it is the responsibility of the contributing authors to keep regular backup of their contribution in the form of Wikicode files or ZWI files (see top-right menu). See also General disclaimer.

Can I bring an article to HandWiki from Wikipedia or another wiki?

Yes, you can bring any article from other resources and edit it on HandWiki. However, you should comply with the license of the imported article. In the case of Wikipedia, you should add a link to the original Wikipedia article and clearly state that this article was imported. See Wikipedia:Copyrights. To import a Wikipedia article, use the article creation wizard.

Can I re-post HandWiki articles to other online resources?

Absolutely. The articles do not belong to HandWiki. They belong to you. You are welcome to re-post the article to Wikipedia or other websites.

Can I post non-Wiki articles?

If you have an article, book, manual or tutorial in a non-Wiki format, such as LaTeX, HTML, etc., you can convert it to the MediaWiki format using the PanDoc program.

How many people contribute to HandWiki?

HandWiki has a significantly smaller number of authors than in English Wikipedia. During registration, HandWiki authors pass a minimum requirement for professional identity. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, even without registration. Typically, a computer with an IP address is sufficient to edit Wikipedia.

Can I download backup (dump) with all HandWiki articles?

Currently, downloads of backup (or dump) files with HandWiki articles are not allowed. HandWiki contains many articles and other material (books, tutorials) protected by the licenses which are not consistent with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA). In future, it will be possible to separate such material from the public-domain articles in the dump files.

May I add my biography to HandWiki?

Indeed, HandWiki contains the namespace "Biography:" with biographies of prominent researchers. The goal of such biographies is to support the content of encyclopedic articles. If there are articles that directly reference your name or your work, you should add your biography under the namespace "Biography:". However, this biography must contain internal links to the HandWiki articles where your work is easy to identify (i.e. it should contain a reference on articles in peer-reviewed journals and where your contribution is clearly stated). The reason for this is that the automatic scripts used by HandWiki may remove biographies that do not link any internal article with your name in references. Also, your biography should have the category listed in HandWiki:Biography otherwise it will be difficult to find it.

Which topics should not be covered in Handwiki?

Handwiki covers topics related to science, finance, humanities and computing, with the exception of entertainment topics, such as movies and music. Links that reference such topics can point to external articles from Wikipedia, Everipedia and Citizendium. Topics related to books can be included if they are related to the science, computing and technology topics. Some topics related to religion can be covered in the existing namespaces, such as Philosophy, Social or Unknown.

Can HandWiki be used for blogs and sponsored/guest posts ?

Yes, HandWiki has a special mechanism to add blogs and sponsored/guest posts. Such articles are included in HandWiki blogs. They are permanent articles which cannot be changed after the publication. You need to contact handwiki@jwork.org to ask about how to publish such articles.

External link insertion

Even if you are not registered user, you still can insert external links to HandWiki articles. Use the Suggestion tracker to send a suggestion. Your suggestion will be reviewed.

I see a bot changing HandWiki articles

This is correct. We are working on AI bots that make editorial changes in HandWiki articles. Typically, such bots make changes inside the imported articles and do not change articles created by humans directly on HandWiki (unless they determine obvious grammatical mistakes, missing links, etc., in which case the required changes will be made). If you notice that an AI bot has modified your article, please contact handwiki[AT]jwork.org to fix this "rebel".

Why HandWiki?

HandWiki teamed up with Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia), Knowledge Standards Foundation (KSF) and Encyclosphere in order to decentralize encyclopedic content of the Internet. In academia and many research fields, there are many journals with different editorial and article-acceptance policies. Why this is not the case for encyclopedic wiki content of the Internet? HandWiki is trying to solve the problem of the monopoly of Wikipedia and encyclopedic information in general.

Author: Dr. S.V.Chekanov (Founder of HandWiki) chekanov (contribution) (talk)


  1. List of largest wikis. Wikimedia.org (retrieved August 1, 2021)
  2. Wikipedia is not a reliable source? [1], (retrieved July 2021)