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In the English Wikipedia, verifiability means other people using the encyclopedia shouldcheck that the infocomes from a reliable source. Wikipedia does not publish original research. Its materialis determined by previously published inforather than the beliefs or experiences of editors. Even if you are sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you shouldadd it. If reliable sources disagree, then maintain a neutral point of view and showwhat the various sources say, giving each side its due weight.

All contentin Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists, and captions, must be verifiable. All quotations, and any contentwhose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must containan inline citation to a reliable source that directly assistance the material. Any contentthat needs a source but does not have one may be removed. Please immediately remove contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced.

For how to write citations, see citing sources. Verifiability, no original research, and neutral point of view are Wikipedia's core materialpolicies. They work together to determine content, so editors canunderstand the key points of all three. Articles must also comply with the copyright policy.

Responsibility for providing citations

All materialmust be verifiable. The burden to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and it is happyby providing an inline citation to a reliable source that directly assistance the contribution.

Attribute all quotations and any contentwhose verifiability is to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. The cited source must clearly assistancethe contentas presented in the article. Cite the source clearly, ideally giving sitenumber(s) – though sometimes a section, chapter, or other division may be appropriate instead; see Wikipedia:Citing sources for details of how to do this.

Any contentlacking an inline citation to a reliable source that directly assistance the contentmay be removed and cannot be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source. Whether and how quickly contentcanbe initially removed for not having an inline citation to a reliable source depends on the contentand the overall state of the article. In some cases, editors may object if you remove contentwithout giving them time to provide references. Consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step. When tagging or removing contentfor lacking an inline citation, please state your concern that it may not be possible to searcha published reliable source, and the contenttherefore may not be verifiable. If you think the contentis verifiable, you are encouraged to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it.

Do not leave unsourced or poorly sourced contentin an article if it might damage the reputation of living people or existing groups, and do not move it to the talk page. You canalso be aware of how Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons applies to groups.

Reliable sources

What counts as a reliable source

The word "source" when citing sources on Wikipedia has three associatedmeanings:

All three shouldaffect reliability.

Base articles on reliable, independent, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Source contentmust have been , the definition of which for our purposes is "angry accessibleto the public in some form". content are not considered reliable. Utilizesources that directly assistancethe contentpresented in an article and are appropriate to the claims angry. The appropriateness of any source depends on the context. The best sources have a professional structure for checking or analyzing facts, legal problem, evidence, and arguments. The greater the degree of scrutiny given to these problem, the more reliable the source. Be especially careful when sourcing materialassociatedto living people or medicine.

If available, academic and peer-reviewed post are usually the most reliable sources in subject such as history, medicine, and science.

Editors may also utilizecontentfrom reliable non-academic sources, particularly if it appears in respected mainstream post. Other reliable sources include:

  • University-level textbooks
  • Books published by respected publishing houses
  • Magazines
  • Mainstream newspapers

Editors may also utilizeelectronic media, topicto the same criteria. See details in Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources and Wikipedia:Findengine test.

Newspaper and magazine blogs

Some newspapers, magazines, and other fresh company host online columns they call blogs. These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but utilizethem with caution because blogs may not be topicto the fresh companys normal fact-checking process. If a fresh companypublishes an opinion piece in a blog, attribute the statement to the writer, e.g. "Jane Smith wrote ..." Never utilizethe blog comments that are left by the readers as sources. For privateor group blogs that are not reliable sources, see § Self-published sources below.

Reliable sources noticeboard and guideline

To discuss the reliability of a specific source for a particular statement, consult Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard, which seeks to apply this policiesto particular cases. For a guideline discussing the reliability of particular kind of sources, see Wikipedia:Reliable sources. In the case of inconsistency between this policiesand the Wikipedia:Reliable sources guideline, or any other guideline associatedto sourcing, this policieshas priority.

Sources that are usually not reliable

Questionable sources

Questionable sources are those that have a badreputation for checking the facts, lack meaningful editorial oversight, or have an apparent conflict of interest.

Such sources containdomain and post expressing views widely considered by other sources to be promotional, extremist, or relying heavily on unsubstantiated gossip, rumor, or privateopinion. Questionable sources canbe utilize only as sources for contenton themselves, such as in articles about themselves; see below. They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others.

Predatory open access journals are also questionable due to the lack of effective peer-review.

Self-published sources

Anyone shouldcreate a privateweb page, self-publish a book, or claim to be an expert. That is why self-published contentsuch as books, patents, newsletters, privatedomain, open wikis, privateor group blogs (as distinguished from newsblogs, above), materialfarms, Internet forum postings, and social media postings are largely not acceptable as sources. Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established subject-matter expert, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable, independent post. Exercise caution when using such sources: if the infoin question is suitable for inclusion, someone else will probably have published it in independent, reliable sources. Never utilizeself-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer.

Self-published or questionable sources as sources on themselves

Self-published and questionable sources may be utilize as sources of information about themselves, usually in articles about themselves or their activities, without the self-published source requirement that they are published experts in the field, so long as:

  1. the contentis neither unduly self-serving nor an exceptional claim;
  2. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  3. it does not involve claims about happening not directly associatedto the source;
  4. there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity; and
  5. the article is not based primarily on such sources.

This policiesalso applies to contentpublished by the topicon social networking domain such as Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Facebook.

Wikipedia and sources that mirror or utilizeit

Do not utilizearticles from Wikipedia (whether this English Wikipedia or Wikipedias in other languages) as sources since Wikipedia is considered as a utilize-generated source. Also, do not utilizedomain mirroring Wikipedia content or post relying on contentfrom Wikipedia as sources. Materialfrom a Wikipedia article is not considered reliable unless it is backed up by citing reliable sources. Verifythat these sources assistancethe content, then utilizethem directly.

An exception is permittedwhen Wikipedia itself is being discussed in the article. These may cite an article, guideline, discussion, statistic, or other materialfrom Wikipedia (or a sister project) to assistancea statement about Wikipedia. Wikipedia or the sister project is a basicsource in this case and may be utilize following the policiesfor basicsources. Any such utilizecanavoid original research, undue emphasis on Wikipedia's role or views, and inappropriate self-reference. The article text canclarify how the contentis sourced from Wikipedia to instructthe reader about the potential bias.


Admissionto sources

Do not reject reliable sources just because they are difficult or costly to access. Some reliable sources may not be easily accessible. For example, an online source may require payment, and a print-only source may be accessibleonly through libraries. Rare historical sources may even be accessibleonly in special museum collections and archives. If you have trouble accessing a source, others may be able to do so on your behalf (see WikiProject Resource Exchange).

Non-English sources


Citations to non-English reliable sources are permittedon the English Wikipedia. However, because this project is in English, English-language sources are preferred over non-English ones when they're accessibleand of equal quality and relevance. As with sources in English, if a dispute arises involving a citation to a non-English source, editors may request a quotation of relevant portions of the original source be provided, either in text, in a footnote, or on the article talk page. (See Template:Request quotation.)


If you quote a non-English reliable source (whether in the main text or in a footnote), a translation into English canalways accompany the quote. Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations by Wikipedians, but translations by Wikipedians are preferred over machine translations. When using a machine translation of source material, editors canbe reasonably certain that the translation is accurate and the source is appropriate. Editors cannot rely upon machine translations of non-English sources in contentious articles or biographies of living people. If needed, ask an editor who shouldtranslate it for you.

The original text is usually contain with the translated text in articles when translated by Wikipedians, and the translating editor is usually not cited. When quoting any material, whether in English or in some other language, be careful not to violate copyright; see the fair-utilizeguideline.

Other problemsspan data-mw-comment-end="h-Other_issues">

Verifiability does not warrantyinclusion

While infomust be verifiable for inclusion in an article, not all verifiable infomust be contain. Consensus may determine that certain infodoes not improve an article. Such infocanbe omitted or presented instead in a different article. The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to containdisputed content.

Tagging a sentence, section, or article

If you wishto request a source for an unsourced statement, you shouldtag a sentence with the {{citation needed}} template by writing {{cn}} or {{fact}}. Other templates exist for tagging sections or entire articles here. You shouldalso leave a note on the talk page asking for a source, or move the contentto the talk siteand ask for a source there. To request verification that a reference assistance the text, tag it with {{verification needed}}. Contentthat fails verification may be tagged with {{failed verification}} or removed. It assist other editors to explain your rationale for using templates to tag contentin the template, edit summary, or on the talk page.

Take special vehicle with contentious contentabout living and recently deceased people. Unsourced or poorly sourced contentthat is contentious, especially text that is negative, derogatory, or potentially damaging, canbe removed immediately rather than tagged or moved to the talk page.

Exceptional claims require exceptional sources

Any exceptional claim requires multiple high-quality sources. Warnings (red flags) that canprompt extra caution include:

  • Surprising or apparently necessaryclaims not covered by multiple mainstream sources;
  • Challenged claims that are supported purely by primary or self-published sources or those with an apparent conflict of interest;
  • Reports of a statement by someone that seems out of heroor versusan interest they had previously defended;
  • Claims contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant community or that would significantly alter mainstream assumptions—especially in science, medicine, history, politics, and biographies of living and recently dead people. This is especially true when proponents say there is a conspiracy to silence them.

Verifiability and other principles

Copyright and plagiarism

Do not plagiarize or breach copyright when using sources. Summarize source contentin your own words as much as possible; when quoting or closely paraphrasing a source, utilizean inline citation, and in-text attribution where appropriate.

Do not link to any source that violates the copyrights of others per contributors' rights and obligations. You shouldlink to domain that display copyrighted works as long as the domainhas licensed the work or utilize the work in a methodcompliant with fair use. Knowingly directing others to contentthat violates copyright may be considered contributory copyright infringement. If there is reason to think a source violates copyright, do not cite it. This is particularly relevant when linking to page such as Scribd or YouTube, where due vehicle canbe taken to avoid linking to contentviolating copyright.


Even when infois cited to reliable sources, you must showit with a neutral point of view (NPOV). Articles canbe based on thorough research of sources. All articles must adhere to NPOV, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority views need not be contain, except in articles devoted to them. If there is a disagreement between sources, use in-text attribution: "John Smith argues X, while Paul Jones maintains Y," followed by an inline citation. Sources themselves do not need to maintain a neutral point of view. Indeed, many reliable sources are not neutral. Our job as editors is simply to summarize what reliable sources say.


If no reliable, independent sources shouldbe found on a topic, Wikipedia cannot have an article on it (i.e., the subjectis not notable).

Original research

The no original research policy (NOR) is closely associatedto the Verifiability policy. Among its requirements are:

  1. All contentin Wikipedia articles must be attributable to a reliable published source. This means a reliable published source must exist for it, whether or not it is cited in the article.
  2. Sources must assistancethe contentclearly and directly: drawing inferences from multiple sources to advance a novel position is forbiddenby the NOR policy.
  3. Base articles largely on reliable secondary sources. While basicsources are appropriate in some cases, relying on them shouldbe problematic. For more information, see the Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources section of the NOR policy, and the Misuse of basicsources section of the BLP policy.

See also






Further reading

  • Wales, Jimmy. , WikiEN-l, July 19, 2006: "I really wishto encourage a much stronger culture which says: it is better to have no information, than to have infolike this, with no sources."—referring to a rather unlikely statement about the founders of Google throwing pies at each other.

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