Wikipedia is one of the most widely used medical references in the world and the most consulted source for many health topics. But medical entries can lack reliable sources and have gaps in content.
One of the key skills medical students are expected to acquire is the ability to seek, evaluate and interpret the medical literature for themselves, their peers and their patients. In traditional medical school courses, first and second year students are taught this skill in small group classroom sessions, while third and fourth year students are expected to apply this in the hospital wards and outpatient clinics.
“Writing and editing Wikipedia articles requires a similar skill set, and teaches our students how to write for a broader audience and communicate with patients using consumer-friendly language rather than doctor jargon,” said Azzam.
“As these students are going to become the next generation of health care providers we need them to be able to communicate in language that the general population understands,” said Heilman. “This will hopefully help accomplish both.”
Notabilia - As Doc Searls recently put it, Wikipedia is, like the protocols of the Net, "a set of agreements". A Web protocol defines the way in which computers communicate with each other and make decisions to ensure successful transactions. Wikipedia policies have the same purpose, but instead of transactions between machines, they regulate human decisions. An important part of these decisions bear on what topics are suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia and what topics are not. The present project looks into the nature and shape of collective decisions about the inclusion of a topic in Wikipedia.