Research:WikiHealth: A scoping review of Wikipedia in academic & health literature

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This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.
Please contact the project lead before formally citing or reusing results from this page.


This project is a first step in my research towards finding out how Wikipedia is included in the consumption of health information for decision-making. A scoping review of the academic health literature and the library and information sciences literature will be conducted to identify and analyze themes within this body of literature.

This scoping reviews asks:

1.    What publication trends exist, if any, among health-related articles about Wikipedia? and,

2.    What does the existing body of literature say about Wikipedia as an online health information resource?

MethodsEdit

In an effort to retrieve all records within the scope of health and medicine, I generated a broad search strategy:

A title and abstract only keyword search for “Wikipedia” in each of the following databases:

  • OVID Medline
  • OVID Embase
  • CINAHL
  • LISTA
  • Wilson Web
  • AMED

A single keyword search for “Wikipedia” in Web of Science followed by manual search to retrieve any content related to a health topic.

All records were exported to a free citation manager (Zotero) and imported into systematic review (SR) software (DistillerSR). Using the SR software, database records were screened first by title and abstract. A second round of review screened the full-text of all records.

Records were excluded if:

  • Wikipedia is not a major or exclusive focus of the article
  • Wikipedia is not discussed within the context of a health or medical topic
  • The article is not available in English (no funds are provided to support translation for this review)
  • The article is a letter, commentary, editorial, or popular media article

In some cases, a conference proceeding record and a published article record were retrieved for the same report. In these instances, I excluded the conference proceeding and retained the full-text article. Some articles did discuss Wikipedia’s health or medical content but were excluded because Wikipedia was not a major focus of the paper and the treatment of Wikipedia's health content was insufficient to merit inclusion.

TimelineEdit

May 2019

  • Construct and execute literature search strategy

June 2019

  • Title/Abstract Screen
  • Full-text Screen
  • Compose annotated bibliography of included studies

July 2019

  • Identify themes within the literature
  • Compose thematic analysis

August 2019

  • Compose first draft of Scoping Review manuscript
  • Apply for grant to cover Open Access Author Processing Charges

September-October 2019

  • Submit for publication to Open Access journal

Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects ResearchEdit

This project will not disrupt the work of Wikipedians. No human subjects are involved in this study and therefore ethics review is not required.

ResultsEdit

2,213 unique results were retrieved. 2,124 were excluded based on the criteria listed in Methods, leaving 89 articles and conference proceedings to be reviewed.

Two publication trends emerged:

  1. Approximately 40% of articles in this review were published using the open access publishing model. This is 143% greater than the average amount of open access publications in all published literature, based on findings from a study of CrossRef - a service that catalogues all published articles with a DOI (digital object identifier).

Four categories that emerged through thematic analysis:

  1. 11% of the literature: Articles with a general focus on situating Wikipedia as a health information resource with no specific context as a major focus (e.g for consumers, professionals, or students);
  2. 53% of the literature: Assessments of Wikipedia’s quality;
  3. 18% of the literature: Wikipedia’s utility for education, and;
  4. 18% of the literature: Wikipedia’s utility for research.

The complete full-text of the results of this review will be added to this page once it has been accepted for publication in an open access journal.

ReferencesEdit

This list includes all articles cited in the scoping review in the order they appear in the full-text article:

  1. wikiprojectmed. Our Mission [Internet]. Wiki Project Med Foundation. 2013 [cited 2019 Sep 19]. Available from: https://wikiprojectmed.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/our-mission/
  2. Wiki Project Med - Meta [Internet]. [cited 2019 Sep 25]. Available from: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wiki_Project_Med
  3. Heilman JM, West AG. Wikipedia and Medicine: Quantifying Readership, Editors, and the Significance of Natural Language. J Med Internet Res. 2015;17(3):e62.
  4. Hodson R. Wikipedians reach out to academics. Nat News [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jul 29]; Available from: http://www.nature.com/news/wikipedians-reach-out-to-academics-1.18313
  5. Giles J. Internet encyclopaedias go head to head [Internet]. Nature. 2005 [cited 2019 Jul 29]. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/438900a
  6. Faric N, Potts HWW. Motivations for contributing to health-related articles on Wikipedia: an interview study. J Med Internet Res. 2014;16(12):e260.
  7. Alexa - Wikipedia Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jul 29]. Available from: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/wikipedia.org
  8. Wikimedia Statistics - English Wikipedia - Unique devices [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jul 29]. Available from: https://stats.wikimedia.org/v2/#/en.wikipedia.org/reading/unique-devices/normal|line|1-year|~total|monthly
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