Indicators that rank countries according socioeconomic measurements are important tools for regional development and political reform. Those currently in widespread use are sometimes criticized for a lack of reproducibility or the inability to compare values over time, necessitating simple, fast and systematic measures. Here, we applied the ‘guilt by association’ principle often used in biological networks to the information network within the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to create an indicator quantifying the degree to which pages linked to a country are disputed by contributors. The indicator correlates with metrics of governance, political or economic stability about as well as they correlate with each other, and though faster and simpler, it is remarkably stable over time despite constant changes in the underlying disputes. For some countries, changes over a four year period appear to correlate with world events related to conflicts or economic problems.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 22-June-2011
Author(s): Apic G., Betts M., Russell R.