Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Is WikiLeaks Good or Bad for Scholarship?

Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts, has written a Chronicle of Higher Education column entitled "Why WikiLeaks is Bad for Scholars" which argues that the massive unauthorized release of classified documents will hurt future scholars because the U.S. government will seek tighter control of information as a reaction to this scandal.

As an information professional, I can't help but think that any release of information can't be entirely bad for scholars because, whether it was authorized or not, these cables provide yet another source for researchers to study so that they can get a clearer picture of what was happening diplomatically. While the U.S. government may try to impose tighter control on its information in the future, many such attempts in the past have failed and the information eventually gets out anyway. Just look at how WikiLeaks has been able to move its site around over the last few days to still be able to get its message out.

Basically in this information age, scholars really don't have to worry about having too little information for their research. It's information overload and the credibility of sources of information that really should be the bigger concerns.