Authors in Scholarpedia are either assigned by the Editor-in-Chief, invited by Curators, or elected by public vote.
- Assignment of authors plays an important role at the beginning of the project during the invitation-only period. It ensures that prominent senior scientists have the priority to write about their research (see, e.g., Scholarpedia:Authors).
- Election of authors plays a major role after the invitation-only period. It ensures fairness in assigning articles to the corresponding experts in each field.
Articles with ongoing election can be accessed via the ‘Election of authors’ link. Scholarpedia maintains the list of all elected authors.
Initiation of Election
Election of authors can be initiated by Curators or by Scholars with Scholar Index of 1 or greater. If you have this privilege, follow these steps:
- If the article does not exist, type its name in the search window, press 'Go' button, then follow the green link.
- If the article exists, press ‘initiate election of authors’ link at the top of the article window.
- Nominate at least two candidates (see below).
Nomination of Candidates
Only Scholars, i.e., users with non-zero Scholar Index, can nominate authors.
To nominate a candidate, press ‘add candidate’ button and provide the following information:
- Full name of your candidate, e.g., Joe Smith. Please, be careful not to make any misprints. The name can be changed only by the Editor-in-Chief.
- Affiliation of the candidate.
- Email, which will be used to contact the candidate at the end of the election. Scholarpedia uses an image instead of the @ sign to hide the email from web bots.
- Brief note describing the qualifications of the candidate. Put longer notes into the ‘discussion’ page of the article.
Press ‘Nominate’ button. Change the article category, if necessary, to allow easy search.
Self-nominations are encouraged. Do not nominate the same person (including yourself) to more than 2 articles, since even if the person is elected, Scholarpedia would not allow him/her to reserve more than 2 articles. (One can write many articles in Scholarpedia, but he/she can only have 2 unfinished articles at any given time).
Scholarpedia keeps the history of nominations and modifications, which can be accessed by pressing the ‘history of nominations’ button.
Voting in Scholarpedia is anonymous and available to everyone. A user can vote for at most 3 candidates (per article). Scholarpedia collects all votes and assigns them to voter’s ID (if the voter is registered) and/or to the voter’s IP address (if not registered). The votes can be re-cast if new candidates are nominated and the polls are still open. (‘Election of authors’ page lists all articles with ongoing election, and it uses different fonts to mark articles with new candidates).
Duration of Election
Election of authors for each article continues for 3 months or until 100 votes are cast, whatever comes last, but no longer than 1 year. If less than 100 votes are cast by the end of the year, Editor-in-Chief at his own discretion decides the future of the article.
Counting the Votes
When the polls are closed, the vote of each user is multiplied by his/her Scholar Index. Thus, only voters with non-zero Scholar Index affect the outcome of each election. The higher the Scholar Index, the more contribution this user has made, hence the more important the voice of this person is in deciding the future of Scholarpedia.
Choosing the Author
At the end of the election, all candidates are ranked (ordered) according to the weighted sum of votes they receive. The rank is not made public. The future author is chosen by the soft-max procedure: the choice is random with the probability proportional to the weighted sum of votes. Thus, candidates with the most votes have the highest chance to be elected. Due to the probabilistic nature of this procedure, election of one author does not necessarily imply that any (or even all) of the other candidates got less votes.
The elected author is contacted and asked to write the article. If he/she rejects the offer or does not reply within a reasonable period of time, the next candidate is contacted.
When an elected candidate accepts the challenge to author an article, Scholar Indices of registered users voted for the candidate are rewarded, thereby strengthening their voice in the future elections. The scholar who initiated the election and the scholar who suggested the candidate are also rewarded, and upon their permission, their names may be associated with the history of the article.