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The Social MEDia Course: Wikipedia in Medicine

Wikipedia from the medical perspective

Bertalan Mesko, MD

on 10 February 2015

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Transcript of The Social MEDia Course: Wikipedia in Medicine

From the Medical Perspective
Bertalan Mesko, MD, PhD
Medical Futurist
Brought to you by
We do need a knowledge base!
Who should create that?
Obviously, professionals!
But it costs money
A lot of money!
Such as Encyclopaedia Britannica
But in the era of the internet
power of masses
led the way
Let's combine a
Community site
Search engine
Media gallery
+ power of masses
What is it?
A free, collaborative, multilingual Internet
encyclopedia supported by
the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.
By 2015
4.7 million
English entries
When was it launched?
Started as a complementary project for
that was edited by experts.
Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia in 2001.
In 286 languages
2.7 billion monthly pageviews from the US
Over 19 million registered users
Over 600 million page edits since 2001
Data by Alexa.com
Global Top 10 Sites by Alexa.com
As of February, 2015
1. Google.com
2. Facebook.com
3. Youtube.com
4. Yahoo.com
5. Baidu.com
6. Wikipedia.org
7. Amazon.com
8. Twitter.com
9. Taobao
Main page of Wikipedia
New expressions
: A written article
Page history
: All the versions of an entry are stored and can be accessed
: An entry can be reverted to its previous version
: is an online identity used for purposes of deception
Who edits Wikipedia?
Hierarchy of editors
Jimmy Wales
grant and revoke any permission to or from any user on any wiki operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
giving admin and bot rights
page deletion, page protection, blocking and unblocking, access to modify fully protected pages and the Mediawiki interface.
Registered users
Can edit and create entries
Unregistered users
Can edit but not create entries
Why is Wikipedia great?
Anyone can edit
(as it happens)
No obligatory topics
Easy to edit
Open content
Users can request entries
Far the biggest encyclopaedia
Why is Wikipedia bad?
Anyone can edit
(as it happens)
No obligatory topics
(important topics are not covered)
Open content
(not always reliable)
Far the biggest encyclopaedia
(not always)
An example for vandalism
Tool against vandalism
A Windows app
(you can deal with dozens of wrong edits and users in 1-2 minutes a day)
Entries can change fast
Basic rules
Be bold
(Go and make the edit)
Neutral entries,
no copy-paste,
no hoax!
Only notable entries
Only reliable sources!
Controversies and scandals
mark the weak points
hoax article
about John Seigenthaler, an American journalist, kept uncorrected for 4 months
A respected admin called Essjay
lied about his credentials
A heated debate whether details about the Rorschach test of psychiatry
should be accessible
Edits in an entry
about a drug from a pharma company
Good collaborative efforts
Guidelines for submissions state that you must submit a Wikipedia article on your research on RNA families before the journal will publish your scholarly article.
Guidelines for Participating in Wikipedia from National Iinstitute of Health were published.
Collaboration between Google.com and Wikipedia to review medical entries by professionals.
Comparing Wikipedia and Britannica

Encyclopædia Britannica

42 articles

3 major errors


42 entries

4 major errors
More and more journals and conferences cite Wikipedia
One potential solution for the reliability
MediaWiki extension for computing the trust, origin, and authorship of wiki text.
Hourly page requests on English Wikipedia for articles with "flu" or "influenza" in the title
Whether we like it or not, it is an important resource
53 percent of American adult Internet users turned to Wikipedia as of May 2010, up from 36 percent in February 2007.
Medical Projects in Wikipedia
Portal Medicine
Entry assessment project
WikiProject Medicine
One of the most visited medical pages
Entries ranked by quality and importance therefore group work can be focused
Ask questions, discuss issues, launch subprojects, co-ordinate team work
Featured Article

A Class

Good Article

B Class

C Class

Start Class

Quality stages
1. be well written

2. be factually accurate

3. use a neutral point of view

4. be stable

5. be referenced, and

6. where possible, contain images to illustrate it. The images should all be appropriately tagged.
Features Articles represent the TOP content of Wikipedia
(over 60 medical Features Articles)
How big is that?
Sister Projects of Wikipedia
Open-content textbooks
The free dictionary
Open Learning Community
Edited news
The free species directory
a database of freely
usable media files
The Free Library
Collection of quotations
Follow Wikipedia-related studies via Google Scholar
How to start?
"Getting started" page
on Wikipedia
WikiProject Medicine
Illustrated licensing tutorial for Wikimedia Commons
Thank you for the attention!
Take the test
See other topics
Send suggestions

to create an online encyclopaedia
1447 volumes
Content is removed
Color code for parts edited by respected or new users
Mostly people choose Wikipedia or get as a first result in search engines
Editors focus on a specific entry every week
Take-home messages
Everyone is using Wikipedia, get used to that.
Wikipedia needs medical contributors, feel free to join!
Participate in team work, meet new colleagues and work for a better knowledge base for patients and doctors.
Wikipedia is the best resource to start your research with as it gives you quite a clear picture of the topic, but should never be the last resource you check.
In 2009, Wikipedia switched from GFDL to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 3.0
Which by the way, stopped printing books and now is totally digitally available
March, 2012
Full transcript