I think that Wikipedia should be allowed as a source because I hear most teachers say "never use Wikipedia because you won't ever know if its changed" or "Never use Wikipedia because people can edit the page and people would believe that George Washington never fought ninjas in the year of 298 because he was wished on by a dragon". NO!
My biggest point is on the chances that the page was edited with bad information that is totally 100% wrong, what are the odd chances that it would be the page you are on right now? If you use common sense and it sounds like it makes sense then yes allow it as a resource. If you are old enough and because the question says "academic research papers" then you should be old enough know what sounds like the truth and what is total nonsense.
Yes, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. Despite this, the information found on Wikipedia is still reliable in most cases. This is because everything that is edited gets checked. If something incorrect does make its way onto a Wikipedia page, it is usually taken down quickly by either other people or whoever does the checks.
Wikipedia should not be used as a source when researching controversial topics though, as there tend to be more opinions due to emotions associated with such issues.
I hate the urban myth that "anyone can edit anything on wikipedia" because it's just so wrong on so many levels.
1. You can edit a page without an account, but without an account it's harder. You see, there are official people who make wikipedia pages, and when someone anonymously edits a page, it has to be checked.
2. When someone has an account, guess what? It still has to be checked.
3. If whoever edits a page or makes a page doesn't cite their sources, there's a warning at the top of the page.
4. If a page is incomplete, there's a warning at the top of the page.
5. If false information is submitted, it's taken down really quickly.
And even if anyone can technically edit it, let's look at what other sources you would be able to find. Oh right, none, because nobody actually makes pages for these facts that aren't wikipedia because everyone except for the people in school boards knows wikipedia is way more reliable than some nerds blog.