Updating Wikipedia should be part of all doctors’ jobs

Gwinyai Masukume et al at StatNews: “When the Ebola pandemic erupted in West Africa in 2014, the English-language Wikipedia articles on Ebola were overhauled and versions were created or updated in more than 100 other languages. These pages would go on to be viewed at least 89 million times in 2014, and were the most used online sources for Ebola information in each of the four most affected countries. The work done by these authors, editors, and translators was crucial to educating the public on this devastating disease.

Medicine changes rapidly. Wikipedia, the world’s most viewed medical resource, should, too. Unfortunately, it sometimes lags behind. As we write this, pages on Ebola in African languages spoken in countries affected by the disease, such as Hausa and Fula, have either not been updated since the crisis in 2014 or are rudimentary with under 220 words.

We strongly believe that the medical community has a responsibility to keep this online encyclopedia up to date. It owes it to the people who turn to Wikipedia 4.9 billion times every year for medical information, many of whom live in low- to middle-income countries with sparse access to medical information. We follow through on this belief with action: each of us has been writing and updating Wikipedia articles on medicine and health for several years. Unfortunately, there is little incentive for busy biomedical and research professionals to spend their time editing, translating, and updating these pages….(More)”.