Project Summary

Background: The world uses Wikipedia to learn about every subject, and medical content is no exception. Medical content is accessed on Wikipedia more than the websites of the National Institutes of Health, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, the National Health Service, the World Health Organization, and UpToDate. Wikipedia's wide readership, instant availability, and source verifiability makes it one of the most powerful vehicles for reaching patients, practitioners, and caregivers with PCORI-funded research.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: Wiki Education is the only organization that has demonstrated an ability to improve medical and science content on Wikipedia in a systematic and scalable way. They empower scientists, medical professionals, and medical profession students to improve the quality and quantity of health information available on Wikipedia through two core programs: (1) Wikipedia Student Program, and (2) Wiki Scientists Program. In the Wikipedia Student Program, Wiki Education supports college and university faculty who assign their students to improve Wikipedia articles as a class assignment. In the Wiki Scientists Program, Wiki Education collaborates with partner organizations to offer virtual, synchronous Wikipedia editing courses to their members.

Objectives: The project team proposes using PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews to improve the quality of medical information available on Wikipedia, especially in domains historically underrepresented on Wikipedia. This includes topics such as mental and maternal health, among others.

Activities: To achieve the above aim, Wiki Education will train medical students in at least ten graduate-level classes to edit Wikipedia as a class assignment through their Wikipedia Student Program. The project team will also partner with subject matter expert organizations to run at least four Wiki Scientists courses to train medical experts on how to edit Wikipedia. Wiki Education will both empower their existing network of medical faculty and partner organizations to use PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews for sources and recruit new participants for both programs.

Projected Outcomes and Outputs:

  • Short-term outcomes during the project period include:
    • Generate interest in teaching with Wikipedia from at least 15 new medical school faculty members
    • Create “Guide to citing PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews on Wikipedia” handout, which will be used by both program participants and other Wikipedia editors during and after the funding period
    • Support at least 10 medical school classes as they edit Wikipedia, citing PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews as sources
    • Create recruitment video to attract more Wiki Scientist partner organizations in the medical community to add PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews as citations to relevant Wikipedia articles
    • Run at least four Wiki Scientist courses, training medical professionals to edit Wikipedia while citing PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews
  • Medium-term outcomes (0-2 years post-project period) include:
    • Ongoing Wikipedia reader access to this information in perpetuity, since it will be included in the articles and cited. The project team anticipates Wikipedia articles edited through this project will receive more than 3 million page views each calendar year.
    • Ongoing instructor engagement teaching with Wikipedia term after term, including using Systematic Reviews as sources
    • Ongoing partner engagement with the Wiki Scientist program, with partners opting to sponsor additional courses after the conclusion of the PCORI-funded project period
  • Long-term outcomes (3+ years post-project period) include:
    • Ongoing Wikipedia reader access to this information in perpetuity, since it will be included in the articles and cited. The project team anticipates Wikipedia articles edited through this project will receive more than 3 million page views each calendar year.
    • Ongoing instructor engagement teaching with Wikipedia term after term, including using Systematic Reviews as sources
    • Ongoing partner engagement with the Wiki Scientist program, with partners opting to sponsor additional courses after the conclusion of the PCORI-funded project period

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Wiki Education has perfected programmatic work to engage subject matter experts to improve Wikipedia content over the last 12 years. They are a trusted partner for university instructors, academic associations, and the medical editing community on Wikipedia. Throughout this project, the team will engage their existing network, including associations like the Society of Family Planning and Association for Psychological Science, as well as recruiting new participants. The project team will also collaborate with the University of California San Francisco's Amin Azzam, MD, to champion Wikipedia editing as a class assignment among medical school faculty.

The project team is confident their experience will lead to active participation in both programs throughout this project that will facilitate the maximum amount of medical content creation on Wikipedia from PCORI-funded research by medical experts. In the age of disinformation and misinformation, Wikipedia has shone as a beacon of fact-based, neutral information. Even YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites use it for their consumer-facing fact-checking links. The public trusts Wikipedia to provide them accurate information, and with this project, the project team can make sure the relevant medical articles have information from and links to PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews.

Project Collaborators: Medical academic associations, medical school faculty and students, Wikipedia community

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Project Information

LiAnna Davis, MA
Wiki Education Foundation
$250,000

Key Dates

24 months
2022

Tags

Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: February 2, 2023