Wikipedia as a source of scientific
          information




                   Tim Vickers
          Washington Universi...
Scientific literacy is low

• 60% believe they have not eaten GM foods.
• 54% heard "nothing at all" about nanotechnology....
Wikipedia: a prominent information source
• 4th most-accessed website
• Search engines
• Wikipedia has high visibility
  •...
H1N1 influenza
                                                                          Swine influenza article access
• ...
Up-to-date: “2009 swine flu outbreak”
• Created April 25th.
• One day later, article contained:
   • 22,000 words and 44 r...
Coverage in depth
• About 18,000 medicine articles and 19,000 cell biology articles
    • Range from 2-acetolactate mutase...
Articles form a web of information
• Blue links to another article, defines terms, gives background.
Articles form a web of information
                               Swine influenza

                 Virus                 ...
Articles for a diverse audience
• Detailed background or            Introduction to genetics
  technical terms discussed i...
Articles vary in size and quality
• Majority of articles are short, but important topics discussed
  in more depth.       ...
Summary
• High visibility
• Rapidly updated
• Interlinked articles
   • Background
   • Nested structure
• Articles genera...
Acknowledgments

Wikimedia Foundation

Michael Laurent

National Institutes of Health
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

2009 NIH Talk on Wikipedia

1,099 views
1,023 views

Published on

Talk presented at the 2009 NIH Wikipedia Academy on the importance of Wikipedia as a source of health information

Published in: Education, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,099
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
12
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
8
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

2009 NIH Talk on Wikipedia

  1. 1. Wikipedia as a source of scientific information Tim Vickers Washington University, St Louis Michael Laurent Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2. Scientific literacy is low • 60% believe they have not eaten GM foods. • 54% heard "nothing at all" about nanotechnology. • 70% either "not very clear" or "not clear at all" on difference between reproductive and therapeutic cloning. • 9% can say what a stem cell is National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 • Funding dependent on public support • Issues hard to discuss without background • Evolution • Animal testing • Viruses and antibiotics • Internet and TV sources of science information
  3. 3. Wikipedia: a prominent information source • 4th most-accessed website • Search engines • Wikipedia has high visibility • 3,600 keywords, in first 10 results in 80% of cases • Free access. • Over 270 languages Laurent MR, Vickers TJ. “Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter?” J. Am. Med. Inform. Assoc. (2009)
  4. 4. H1N1 influenza Swine influenza article access • WHO announcement 1400000 about H1N1 S-OIV on 24th 1200000 April. 1.3 million per day Article requests per day 1000000 • Traffic spiked on 29th April, 800000 levelled off at 30,000 per 600000 day. 400000 • By end of May total of 6.3 200000 million readers. 0 • In June 2009 vitiligo was April May most-accessed medicine article, with 74,000 hits per day.
  5. 5. Up-to-date: “2009 swine flu outbreak” • Created April 25th. • One day later, article contained: • 22,000 words and 44 references • Mostly news articles • Rapidly updated: • Dawood et. al. “Emergence of a novel swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus in humans.” NEJM on-line May 7. • Cited in article on same day. 2009 H1N1 S-OIV • Articles as summaries of the literature. • Puts current research into context.
  6. 6. Coverage in depth • About 18,000 medicine articles and 19,000 cell biology articles • Range from 2-acetolactate mutase, adipokines to asprin • Articles on every enzyme, most human genes, ncRNAs • Approx 60-70% of diseases have articles (ICD-10 codes) • News media main alternative to internet • Difficult to treat science in depth • What does H1N1 mean? What is a pandemic? What are “flu-like symptoms”?
  7. 7. Articles form a web of information • Blue links to another article, defines terms, gives background.
  8. 8. Articles form a web of information Swine influenza Virus 2009 flu pandemic RNA virus Influenza Influenza pandemic RNA Influenza vaccine 1918 flu pandemic Immune system Vaccine Paul Ehrlich Vaccination policy Influenza treatment Amantadine Antiviral drug
  9. 9. Articles for a diverse audience • Detailed background or Introduction to genetics technical terms discussed in sub-articles. DNA • Each article part of a nested hierarchy, general to technical content. DNA structure • Readers find level they can understand. • Includes even technical and DNA supercoil specialist topics. Linking number
  10. 10. Articles vary in size and quality • Majority of articles are short, but important topics discussed in more depth. Quality versus importance of Molecular and cell biology articles • "Influenza“, good, 7,900 words. • "M2 protein“, poor, 385 words. • Studies assessing accuracy • Giles “Internet encyclopaedias go head to head” Nature, 2005 • Devgan et al “Wiki-Surgery? Internal validity of Wikipedia as a medical and surgical reference” J Am Coll Surg, 2007 (35 articles) • Clansom et al “Scope, Completeness, and Accuracy of Drug Information in Wikipedia.” Ann Pharmacother, 2008 (80 questions)
  11. 11. Summary • High visibility • Rapidly updated • Interlinked articles • Background • Nested structure • Articles generally accurate, but many short or incomplete • Expert contributors needed
  12. 12. Acknowledgments Wikimedia Foundation Michael Laurent National Institutes of Health

×