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

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-11, 23:49 authored by Thomas Shafee, Gwinyai Masukume, Lisa Kipersztok, Diptanshu Das, Mikael Häggström, James Heilman
© The author(s) 2017. 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.


The work is not externally funded. The article processing fee was covered by a rapid grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation had no involvement in the study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, writing the report, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Wikimedia Foundation


Publication Date



Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health






8p. (p. 1122-1129)


British Medical Association



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