Intended for healthcare professionals


WikiProject Medicine

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 08 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3387

You've got to be in it to win it.

In my opinion, many health sciences librarians expend far too much
energy trying to wean students and junior doctors off Wikipedia. Instead,
I feel that librarians are ideally placed to contribute to improving the
quality of the information it provides. Instead of saying or implying that
this is rubbish [inaccurate, unreliable etc.], let's facilitate
examination and discussion, identify the weaknesses and do something
constructive about them. No references? Then add some. We're supposed to
be good at that. Every so often I do a trawl of Wikipedia and reference a
few unreferenced statements. The more people who do it, the better it will
get. You've got to be in it to win it.

There is a role here for putting critical appraisal skills into
practice. Many junior doctors tend to treat critical appraisal skills
training as a "tick-box exercise" with little relevance to the real world
of clinical practice. I would therefore encourage evidence-based practice
workshops and journal clubs to adopt a "stub" or an incomplete section of
WikiProject Medicine or look at an appropriate specialty-based or topic-
specific Wiki and provide some critically appraised, evidence-based input.

Competing interests: I am also an Administrator of EEPDwiki (, a specialty-based Wiki on perinatal data.

06 July 2011
Helga J. Perry
Electronic Systems & Resources Librarian
University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust