Evolution of wikipedia’s medical content: past, present and future

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Shafee, Thomas
Masukume, Gwinyai
Kipersztok, Lisa
Das, Diptanshu
Häggström, Mikael
Heilman, James
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As one of the most commonly read online sources of medical information, Wikipedia is an influential public health platform. Its medical content, community, collaborations and challenges have been evolving since its creation in 2001, and engagement by the medical community is vital for ensuring its accuracy and completeness. Both the encyclopaedia’s internal metrics as well as external assessments of its quality indicate that its articles are highly variable, but improving. Although content can be edited by anyone, medical articles are primarily written by a core group of medical professionals. Diverse collaborative ventures have enhanced medical article quality and reach, and opportunities for partnerships are more available than ever. Nevertheless, Wikipedia’s medical content and community still face significant challenges, and a socioecological model is used to structure specific recommendations. We propose that the medical community should prioritise the accuracy of biomedical information in the world’s most consulted encyclopaedia.
Wikipedia , Medical information
Shafee, T., Masukume, G., Kipersztok, L., Das, D., Häggström, M. and Heilman, J. (2017) 'Evolution of wikipedia’s medical content: past, present and future', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, pp. 1-8. doi: 10.1136/jech-2016-208601