Articles on Wikipedia about health and medicine are maintained by WikiProject Medicine (WPM), and are widely used by health professionals, students and others. We have compared these articles, and reader engagement with them, to other articles on Wikipedia. We found that WPM articles are longer, possess a greater density of external links, and are visited more often than other articles on Wikipedia. Readers of WPM articles are more likely to hover over and view footnotes than other readers, but are less likely to visit the hyperlinked sources in these footnotes. Our findings suggest that WPM readers appear to use links to external sources to verify and authorize Wikipedia content, rather than to examine the sources themselves.
With the approval and support of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), we accessed the data presented in this study via the Wikimedia's Event Logging system and the production MediaWiki database. Due to WMF data policies intended to protect the privacy of readers and editors, all of the data collected and analyzed has had to remain within their protected data environment. Therefore, the data is not publicly available. While this data is not publicly available, data may be available upon request from the WMF research team. To gain access to the data researchers should review the WMF Research Team's current procedures for data requests (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/wikimedia_research/research_and_data). The WMF Research Team will evaluate the request based on Wikimedia's data access criteria. The code utilized to collect and analyze the data, however, is organized and made publicly available in a collated series of Jupyter notebooks at:https://github.com/ryanmax/wiki-citation-usage/ (Steinberg et al., 2019).
The authors declare that there was no funding for this work.
- Julia Deathridge, eLife, United Kingdom
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