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Are self-published books considered a reliable source?

asked 2017-06-05 11:52:15 -0500

Can I use books published via CreateSpace, Lulu, or similar self-publishing outlets as a reliable source if they look well researched? What about books written by people who have earned a degree in the book's subject area?

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answered 2017-06-05 12:02:00 -0500

updated 2017-07-21 15:19:33 -0500

Typically self-published books are not considered to be a reliable source on Wikipedia because they almost never undergo the type of editorial oversight Wikipedia requires for its sourcing. A self-published book may look very impressive and its author may have an equally impressive set of qualifications (and an excellent publishing history), but a source needs to be have some sort of vetting process (typically a very thorough editorial staff hired by a reputable publisher) to be considered reliable.

There can be exceptions, but they are fairly rare. For example, occasionally a self-published book will be routinely and heavily cited in academic papers and texts that highlight the book as an authoritative source on a particular topic. In this situation the book could be used as a reliable source because the citations and mentions in this scenario serve a similar purpose as the editorial staff at a reputable publisher. Again, this is a pretty rare scenario because most self-published books do not get this type of attention.

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Asked: 2017-06-05 11:52:15 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 21 '17