It felt a bit like: What the plebs are producing is just not good enough for the Ivory Tower. And I was wondering, why they don't come down and fix what is not up to their scientific standard.
Then it clicked. There is a simple solution: The Wikipedia Paper. Every student that takes a class has to create or improve a Wikipedia page to the topic of the class. It shouldn't be the only deliverable, but an important one.
The Wikimedia organization could help the professors with tools, that highlight the changes that a certain user has done on a page. You only pass, when the professor is satisfied with the scientific validity of the page. One could even mark the pages that went through this vetting process differently.
Instead of creating papers that end up in a drawer, you would create pages that you even feel ownership of and would make sure that they stay current and don't get vandalized. You could even link to them on you LinkedIn profile.
It would make an enormous difference to the quality of Wikipedia year over year. One can think of wiki-how and other pages that could be improved using the same model.
A quick search shows, that there are projects happening at Schools and University already where Wikipedia improvement is included in the curriculum.
I especially like the 10th graders that improve the Wikipedia entry of their hometown and the translation course that is using real German Wikipedia pages and translates them into English and vice versa. It is much more interesting and motivating for the students too.
I just hope this grows to a whole movement so much that one day students will demand from there professors: "Please give us a project where we can improve the knowledge base of the world?"