Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Wikipedian Helps 'Make Science More Accessible'

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Wikipedian Helps 'Make Science More Accessible'

Article excerpt

Employing a Wikipedian in residence to improve the quality of the online encyclopedia measurably improves public access to scientific information, according to results from a trial run by Cancer Research UK.

But the six-month project failed to give pages about cancer the same levels of public trust as the widely used NHS Choices website, and failed to hit other targets, providing lessons for universities that have also employed resident Wikipedians.

So far, Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley and West Virginia University are among those that have enlisted editors to help improve entries on the site.

CRUK last year employed John Byrne, a prolific editor, to edit pages about cancer and encourage others to do so.

Speaking at a conference in London earlier this month, Mr Byrne said that the research institute had released more than 500 images, particularly medical diagrams, which were then used in Wikipedia pages to explain types of cancer. These articles to date have been viewed more than 16 million times on desktop computers alone, he said. …

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