In order to better compete with Wikipedia, one of the top ten most visited sites in the world, the Encyclopedia Britannica is to open its online version up to edits from the public.

The new user-generated content, rolling out now on the encyclopedia's website,, will also let approved users add their own "creative input" to sit alongside authorised articles.

Changes proposed to the 241-year-old encyclopaedia will have to be vetted and approved by staff before going live, but could make it to the print edition.

Britannica's president, Jorge Cauz, said: "What we are trying to do is shifting ... to a much more proactive role for the user and reader where the reader is not only going to learn from reading the article but by modifying the article and - importantly - by maybe creating his own content or her own content".