Grants:Project/Rapid/The evolution of Wikipedia’s medical content: past, present and future: JECH paper/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Rapid Grant approved in FY 2017-18 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.

DUE 1 NOV 2017


All immediate goals were met for this project.

  • The article was meant to propose an integrated set of recommendations for continuing to improve Wikipedia's medical content, with a particular focus on the wider knowledge ecosystem. It also summarises the history of Wikipedia's medical content to act as a reference within the academic literature.
  • We aimed for the academic paper to have maximum accessibility by being open access, and have broad impact by following it up with articles aimed at additional audiences.
  • We achieved a high immediate impact in the months following the paper's publication, which makes us optimistic about the longer-term impact over the coming years (uptake of the paper's ideas, implementation of the paper's recommendations, mentions in the wider academic literature).


Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
Publish paper as open access Published CC-BY 4 Shafee, Thomas; Masukume, Gwinyai; Kipersztok, Lisa; Das, Diptanshu; Häggström, Mikael; Heilman, James (2017-10-29). "The evolution of Wikipedia’s medical content: past, present and future". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 71 (10). PMID 28847845. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-208601. 

In the top 5 most-read articles in the journal (as on 2 November 2017)

Storage on online repositories Deposited in :
Avoid any perception of conflict of interest We were able to give clear summaries of relevant activities and funding Funding: The work is not externally funded. The article processing fee was covered by a rapid grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation had no involvement in the study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, writing the report, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Competing interests: All authors have contributed to Wikipedia articles. TS, DD, MH and JH are current participants in WP:MED. JH is a former and current member of the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees. All authors are on the editorial board of WikiJournal of Medicine. TS is on the editorial board of PLOS Genetics. The authors do not receive financial compensation for their contributions to these projects."

Release information targeted to multiple audiences Several main followup articles: Press release sent to 30 news agencies.
Gain public notice of article High impact as tracked by AltMetric score
  • 100 tweets (75% are from independent members of the public)
  • 4 facebook pages
  • 2 Google+ pages
High public reaction for an academic paper (top 5%)
Present work at conferences and seminars Work presented:


The effort put into the follow-up publications targeted at different audiences was very valuable in maximising the impact of the paper to additional audiences. The efforts of the authors in disseminating the work via multiple channels definitely made a difference to the immediate impact. Its overall impact on the academic literature (as measured by citations) will take a couple of years to begin to see, however we have confidence that it will be a very useful historical record and advice piece for the future.

We were disappointed by the limited uptake of the press release. It has highlighted how valuable an article in The Conversation to act as a press release (e.g. this previous article)

The confusion over whether (Value Added Tax) VAT was included in the costs was an unnecessary complication. In future clarification will be sought earlier in the process.


Grant funds spent[edit]

Funds spent on open access Article Processing Fee (US$2520)

Remaining funds[edit]

All funds expended

Anything else[edit]

Hopefully, this JECH grant and the 2016 Academic Medicine grant may set some precedence for requirements when requesting WMF funds for covering processing fees for open access articles.