[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Research Showcase] July 15, 2020: Medical Knowledge on Wikipedia
The next Research Showcase will be live-streamed on Wednesday, July 15, at
9:30 AM PDT/16:30 UTC.
Wikipedia is one of the most important online resources for health
information. This has been especially highlighted during the Covid-19
pandemic: since the beginning of the year more than 5000 articles related
to Covid-19 have been created receiving more than 400M pageviews.
Therefore, for this month’s showcase our two invited speakers will help us
get a better understanding of the state of medical knowledge in Wikipedia.
In the first talk, Denise Smith will give an overview on how Wikipedia's
health content is used by different audiences (public, students, or
practitioners). In the second talk, Giovanni Colavizza will present results
on how editors on Wikipedia find, select, and integrate scientific
information on Covid-19 into Wikipedia articles.
Wikipedia for health information - Situating Wikipedia as a health
By Denise Smith (McMaster University, Health Sciences Library & Western
University, Faculty of Information & Media Studies)
Wikipedia is the most frequently accessed web site for health information,
but the various ways users engage with Wikipedia’s health content has not
been thoroughly investigated or reported. This talk will summarize the
findings of a comprehensive literature review published in February. It
explores all the contexts in which Wikipedia’s health content is used that
have been reported in academic literature. The talk will focus on the
findings reported in this paper, the potential impact of this study in
health and medical librarianship, the practice of medicine, and medical or
By Giovanni Colavizza (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Wikipedia is one of the main sources of free knowledge on the Web. During
the first few months of the pandemic, over 4,500 new Wikipedia pages on
COVID-19 have been created and have accumulated close to 250M pageviews by
early April 2020.1 At the same time, an unprecedented amount of scientific
articles on COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic have been published online.
Wikipedia’s contents are based on reliable sources, primarily scientific
literature. Given its public function, it is crucial for Wikipedia to rely
on representative and reliable scientific results, especially so in a time
of crisis. We assess the coverage of COVID-19-related research in Wikipedia
via citations. We find that Wikipedia editors are integrating new research
at an unprecedented fast pace. While doing so, they are able to provide a
largely representative coverage of COVID-19-related research. We show that
all the main topics discussed in this literature are proportionally
represented from Wikipedia, after accounting for article-level effects. We
further use regression analyses to model citations from Wikipedia and show
that, despite the pressure to keep up with novel results, Wikipedia editors
rely on literature which is highly cited, widely shared on social media,
and has been peer-reviewed.