ICSM Wikipedia Easter Edit - What is it about?

Wikipedia has developed into a global resource. It is now the 7th most visited website worldwide and we know that approximately 80% of the public will look up some medical information online, and wikipedia is the most popular health-content website in the world (Bulletin World Health Organisation, 2013). In addition, healthcare professionals in developing countries need to access accurate, up to date information and use Wikipedia to save lives. As such, it has the ability to revolutionise healthcare (Barry, 2013). This highlights the importance of making sure that Wikipedia health-related topics are current and accurate. Internet access is also an important factor in developing countries, and there has been a rapid increase in mobile-broadband subscriptions from 472 million in 2011 to 1.16 billion in 2013 (International Telecommunication Union, 2013). Wikipedia Zero has been setup by Wikimedia Foundation to enable free mobile access to Wikipedia content in developing countries (Wikipedia Zero, 2013). As a result Wikipedia will become an even more important resource of medical information in the future, again stressing the importance of medical material being current, evidence-based, and of high quality.

In order to keep health-related topics on Wikipedia up to date, it is necessary to have a sustainable editorial model. WikiProject Medicine has been set up with the aim of enhancing the quality of health-related content on Wikipedia.

What is Imperial College trying to do?

We are looking at how Imperial College School of Medicine can work with the WikiProject Medicine to improve the content of basic sciences and healthcare related Wikipedia pages.

The project will involve students working together in small groups with academics, librarians and technologists to edit and provide up to date content for a selected topic in Wikipedia, likely to be in cardiology and respiratory. It is modelled in part on a similar project run in University of California where students aim to improve Wikipedia pages gradings (WikiProject 2013). This Imperial project will be mainly focussed on topics covered in the first two years of medical school. The project will run slightly differently from the UCLA project in that it will be run as a ‘hackathon’. A hackathon is a model developed in the technology industry which brings together different groups of people such as technologists, developers, industry experts to create a piece of software over a short period of time, typically 24-48 hours. This model has been applied to Wikipedia in the past with success, particularly at the Wikipedia Conferences. The concept is that students, academics, librarians and technologists work together over two days to create a well informed, well referenced resource that will be publicly available. Improving the grading to the page would be a bonus.

Students involved will gain skills in writing, editing, evaluating evidence, and teamwork.

This project is funded by a grant from the Academy of Medical Sciences (INSPIRE grant).

ICSM Wikipedia Easter Project Flyer [PDF]

When is this taking place?

This two-day project will take place on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th of April 2016. Both days will be full days and will be based at the St Mary’s Campus. It is free to take part in this project. Participants must commit to both days. Food and goodies provided. A certificate of attendance will be issued at the end of the second day. 

If you are up for the challenge, please contact c.morton@imperial.ac.uk


Barry, M. (2013). Internet access is a vital healthcare tool. The Great Debate. Reuters.com. 13th September http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/09/13/internet-access-is-a-vital-healthcare-tool/Accessed 5 June 2014.

International Telecommunication Union (2013). ICT Facts & Figures. The World in 2013. http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2013-e.pdf Accessed 5 June 2014.

Wikipedia Zero (2013). http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero Accessed 5 June 2014.

WikiProject Medicine/UCSF Elective (2013). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Medicine/UCSF_Elective_2013 Accessed 5 June 2014.