Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and has a distinct style that may take some time getting used to.
It is important that articles use the best sources and content is given due weight. Different from scientific papers, Wikipedia medical and health content is preferably sourced to secondary sources over primary sources. Citing a review article is preferred over an original trial.
To get you started and to explain why this is important here are a number of guides and guidelines:
Each month we select a Medical Collaboration of the Month to focus our efforts on. Topics may either relate to medical basic sciences (such as anatomy or biochemistry), or clinical medicine (such as illnesses and surgical procedures). The project aims to improve medicine articles, and to give editors an opportunity to collaborate. Anyone can nominate an article, or vote on nominees at our project page. The collaboration of the month for August 2023 is Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease! Visit its talk page to help coordinate our efforts.
WikiProject Medicine was started in 2004 by Dr. Jacob de Wolff as WikiProject Clinical Medicine with the later branch WikiProject Preclinical Medicine. These merged and WikiProject Medicine has since been one of Wikipedia's most active WikiProjects. WP:MED as it is known aims to manage and help in curation of Wikipedia's medical articles. We write articles and discuss all manner of issues on our talk page: WT:MED.
Through the years we've built up a catalogue of sub-projects and task-forces which vary in their activity, you can find some of them at the task force page.
Wikipedia can be a great resource for getting to know a field — and it can give you an encyclopaedic overview of a subject, acting as a spring-board letting you dive deeper. It should however not be used as your only source when performing research, and you should never blindly trust Wikipedia. Over the years a lot of research has been amassed surrounding the reliability and biases of Wikipedia.
To see some of the studies that have been produced on the quality and scope of medical information on Wikipedia take a look at some of the research:
Academic studies of health information on Wikipedia
Marquez-Romero JM, Lee Á, Soto-Cabrera E, Hernández-Curiel BC, Prado-Aguilar CA (February 2022). "Content and Quality of Information about Stroke in Wikipedia across Multiple Languages". European Neurology. 85 (4): 308–312. doi:10.1159/000521938. PMID35134804. S2CID246677682.
Ju B, Jung Y, Bourgeois JP (2021). "Seeking Health Information in Wikipedia and Readers' Satisfaction". Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 58 (1): 744–746. doi:10.1002/pra2.548. ISSN2373-9231. S2CID238748548.
Tan L, Lai SM, Geres N, Innes NP, Radford JR, Revie G, et al. (July 2021). "Effectiveness of The Wikipedia Collaboration of Dental Schools' Training Programme: a new Paradigm for Teaching and Learning of Evidence-Based Dentistry". Community Dental Health. 39 (1): 22–26. doi:10.1922/CDH_00091Tan05. PMID34351712. S2CID236926978.
Mietchen D, Rasberry L, Morata T, Sadowski J, Novakovich J, Heilman J (2021-06-16). "Developing a scalable framework for partnerships between health agencies and the Wikimedia ecosystem". RIO - Research Ideas and Outcomes. 7: e68121. doi:10.3897/rio.7.e68121. ISSN2367-7163. S2CID236234158.
Handler SJ, Eckhardt SE, Takashima Y, Jackson AM, Truong C, Yazdany T (December 2021). "Readability and quality of Wikipedia articles on pelvic floor disorders". International Urogynecology Journal. 32 (12): 3249–3258. doi:10.1007/s00192-021-04776-0. PMID33797592. S2CID232763492.
Calabrese C, Anderton BN, Barnett GA (April 2019). "Online Representations of "Genome Editing" Uncover Opportunities for Encouraging Engagement: A Semantic Network Analysis". Science Communication. 41 (2): 222–242. doi:10.1177/1075547018824709. ISSN1075-5470. S2CID150941183.
García GL, Santamaria LP, del Valle EP, Zanin M, Ruiz EM, González AR (2019). "Wikipedia Disease Articles: An Analysis of their Content and Evolution". 2019 IEEE 32nd International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems (CBMS). IEEE. pp. 664–671. doi:10.1109/cbms.2019.00136. ISBN978-1-7281-2286-1.
Ngo DH, Truran D, Kemp M, Lawley M, Metke-Jimenez A (August 2019). "Can Wikipedia Be Used to Derive an Open Clinical Terminology?". Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 266 (Digital Health: Changing the Way Healthcare is Conceptualised and Delivered): 136–141. doi:10.3233/SHTI190785. PMID31397314. S2CID199505336.
Jabaley CS, Groff RF, O'Reilly-Shah VN (February 2019). "Asthma Information Seeking via Wikipedia between 2015 and 2018: Implications for Awareness Promotion". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 199 (4): 531–533. doi:10.1164/rccm.201809-1649LE. PMID30521354. S2CID54551394.
Joshi M, Verduzco R, Yogi S, Garcia M, Saxena S, Tackett S, et al. (2019). "Wikipedia Editing Courses at Three US Medical Schools in the 2017-2018 Academic Year". MedEdPublish. 8 (2): 146. doi:10.15694/mep.2019.000146.1. S2CID198762131.
Brigo F, Lattanzi S, Bragazzi N, Nardone R, Moccia M, Lavorgna L (February 2018). "Why do people search Wikipedia for information on multiple sclerosis?". Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 20: 210–214. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2018.02.001. PMID29428464.
Mahroum N, Bragazzi NL, Sharif K, Gianfredi V, Nucci D, Rosselli R, et al. (June 2018). "Leveraging Google Trends, Twitter, and Wikipedia to Investigate the Impact of a Celebrity's Death From Rheumatoid Arthritis". Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 24 (4): 188–192. doi:10.1097/RHU.0000000000000692. PMID29461342. S2CID3442166.
Morata T, Lum M (April 2018). "1682f Partnerships to expand occupational safety and health content in wikipedia". Communications in Occupational Health. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd: A71.3–A72. doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-ICOHabstracts.205.
Reilly T, Jackson W, Berger V, Candelario D (March 2017). "Accuracy and completeness of drug information in Wikipedia medication monographs". Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 57 (2): 193–196.e1. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2016.10.007. PMID27866956.
Candelario DM, Vazquez V, Jackson W, Reilly T (28 January 2017). "Completeness, accuracy, and readability of Wikipedia as a reference for patient medication information". Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 57 (2): 197–200.e1. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2016.12.063. PMID28139458.
Shane-Simpson C, Che E, Brooks PJ (31 July 2016). "Giving Psychology Away: Implementation of Wikipedia Editing in an Introductory Human Development Course". Psychology Learning & Teaching. 15 (3): 268–293. doi:10.1177/1475725716653081. S2CID183084766.
Masukume G, Kipersztok L, Das D, Shafee TM, Laurent MR, Heilman JM (November 2016). "Medical journals and Wikipedia: a global health matter". The Lancet. Global Health. 4 (11): e791. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30254-6. PMID27765289.
Torous J, Franzan J, O'Connor R, Mathew I, Keshavan M, Kitts R, Boland R (December 2015). "Psychiatry Residents' Use of Educational Websites: A Pilot Survey Study". Academic Psychiatry. 39 (6): 630–633. doi:10.1007/s40596-015-0335-8. PMID26077007. S2CID207500506. Residents reported utilizing online resources on average 68 % of the time, in comparison to 32 % on average for printed materials. Residents reported UpToDate, PubMed, and Wikipedia as the most visited websites and ranked each highly but for different purposes.
Park E, Masupe T, Joseph J, Ho-Foster A, Chavez A, Jammalamadugu S, et al. (November 2016). "Information needs of Botswana health care workers and perceptions of wikipedia". International Journal of Medical Informatics. 95: 8–16. doi:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2016.07.013. PMID27697235.
Mitraka E, Waagmeester A, Burgstaller-Muehlbacher S, Schriml LM, Su AI, Good BM (2015). "Wikidata: A platform for data integration and dissemination for the life sciences and beyond". bioRxiv10.1101/031971.
Nowrouzi B, Gohar B, Nowrouzi-Kia B, Garbaczewska M, Brewster K (April 2015). "An Examination of Scope, Completeness, Credibility, and Readability of Health, Medical, and Nutritional Information on the Internet: A Comparative Study of Wikipedia, WebMD, and the Mayo Clinic Websites". Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 39: S71. doi:10.1016/j.jcjd.2015.01.267. (conference abstract in journal supplement)
Azer SA (March 2015). "Is Wikipedia a reliable learning resource for medical students? Evaluating respiratory topics". Advances in Physiology Education. 39 (1): 5–14. doi:10.1152/advan.00110.2014. PMID25727464.
Venkatraman A, Garg N, Kumar N (March 2015). "Greater freedom of speech on Web 2.0 correlates with dominance of views linking vaccines to autism". Vaccine. 33 (12): 1422–1425. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.01.078. PMID25665960.
All versions of the app are free and available for download.
A fully offline distribution system known as Internet-in-a-Box is also available. These devices are made from a miniature computer that can be connected to via wifi. All the material that exists on the device can then be accessed. The devices are distributed for the price of the underlying hardware.
This is a WikiProject, an area for focused collaboration among Wikipedians. New participants are welcome; please feel free to participate!