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Wikipedia-integrated publishing: a comparison of successful models

Thomas Shafee of La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne Editorial board, WikiJournal of Medicine Editorial board, PLOS Genetics on Friday, 24 November 2017

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  • Abstract:


    Wikipedia is one of the most accessed sources of medical information by the general public and is also widely used by medical professionals and students. Its medical content consequently has a large impact on health literacy. However, relatively few experts contribute to creating and improving its content, and this is partly due to limited formal reward for contributing. One key method of encouraging greater involvement therefore involves rewarding medical and research professionals with citable academic publications that are dual-published in Wikipedia. Such publications provide an ideal outreach platform for the author, increasing exposure for the journal, and providing high-quality content to the encyclopedia.

    Several successful dual-publication models exist. In the first model, peer-reviewed material is published in a journal and subsequently copied to Wikipedia under a compatible licence (typically Creative Commons). This produces new, high-quality articles and is easily consistent with current open access journal practices. A second, less common format is where material is first published in Wikipedia, then subjected to academic peer review before being published as a journal article. This model is also compatible with the recent practice of improving and peer-reviewing existing Wikipedia pages. A third model is where a journal requires authors to update Wikipedia as part of the journal’s publication process. This allows content to be pitched at different levels for the journal and Wikipedia. Developing and extending these models is a vital component of ensuring that accurate biomedical information is available on a platform that is read by millions each day.


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