Editing Wikipedia articles during medical school

Transcript

Contributors:

Editing Wikipedia as a health professional student is a great way to not only “learn by teaching” but also to ensure patients and your fellow healthcare professionals get accurate information.

Wikipedia is one of the most well-known websites around the world and individual articles can get thousands of views a day, so improving them is both rewarding and incredibly impactful.

To get started, the first thing you need to do is select an article, which may be easier than you think.

If you look at the WikiProject Medicine page, you’ll see that there’s already a community dedicated to this work.

There’s a handy chart which organizes over 37,000 English Wikipedia health-related articles by importance and quality, and this is a great way to find a good article to get started with.

If you’re interested in other domains, there are more WikiProjects like anatomy, pharmacology, and women’s health, and of course you can always just search around for an article that catches your eye.

Once you’ve found an article you’re excited to improve, the next step is to start editing.

You can start by going to the top right corner of the page and select the button labeled “edit.”

Ideally, though, you should be logged in to your account first, at which point it’ll say “edit source”.

The visual editor is easy to use, and works almost the same way as any word processing software.

As you’re editing, be sure to cite your sources by clicking the cite icon in the upper bar.

If you’re using the visual editor, adding the PubMed ID to your citations incorporates all the metadata of the citation.

Also on the article is the talk page.

The talk pages are where people interested in a topic can collaborate with one another.

In addition to directly editing pages, another area that might be useful to you is your sandbox, which you’ll be able to see once you make an account and log in.

The sandbox serves as your own personal area to experiment with writing for Wikipedia without worrying about affecting externally facing content.

It’s important to know which sources to draw from.

Use of primary sources is typically discouraged.

Traditionally, Wikipedia editors turn to secondary sources, as these often give a better overview of scientific consensus on a topic.