Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wikis as a publishing platform

Interesting editorial in the current issue of Open Medicine which examines Medical research and social media: Can wikis be used as a publishing platform in medicine?

The authors suggest that wikis are a potentially revolutionary tool for knowledge transfer to make it possible to keep reviews as current and relevant as possible." This is an interesting approach to post-publication peer review and the fact that editing rights will not be restricted to qualified clinicians and researchers has the potential to incorporate the views of patients and others with an interest in the topic areas. However it also brings it's own risk in information quality and requires the readers to ensure their own critiquing and evaluative skills are even more strongly applied to what they are reading.

The first paper to receive this treatment is A scoping review of analytic studies related to Asynchronous telehealth. It uses mediawiki software which will be familiar to users of wikipedia, and a quick look at the history shows that most (but not all) of the entries by anonymous users have been reverted.

It will be interesting to see how successful this approach is and to speculate about the potential changes from this publishing model will play out in the future.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Elsevier Article 2.0 Contest Site

Elsevier has posted an Article 2.0 contest site with prizes of $500-2500 for the best scientific article online presentation. It seems like theyare giving programmers the opportunity to take on the role of an innovative publisher using their xml dataset of articles...

The contest runs September 1st - December 31st, 2008 and prizes will be announced January 31st, 2009.

Also for the library Geeks amongst us:
A web2.0/library2.0 issue of Elsevier's Library Connect (October 2007):

Plus three interesting library/programmer bloggers:

With best regards,

P.S. - If you are contemplating going for this, I wouldn't wait until 12-31 to upload. Note that Elsevier took down their website for the Grand Challenge yesterday- the deadline date (for developing an innovative data interpretation or manuscript submission/ reviewing tool with prizes of 15-35K). Perhaps their deadlines are 12:01 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time of the date specified...;-)

Source: Susanna Richards
Editorial Administrative Assistant
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
A-5321 Medical Center North
1161 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232- 2363

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Thursday, January 10, 2008


I received an email the other day asking me to look at a Beta test of Wiser Wiki.

WiserWiki has been produced as a free service by Elsevier and aims to allow accredited physicians to comment, collaborate and update medical information online and is viewable by everyone. The site was originally seeded with content from John Noble’s “Textbook of Primary Care Medicine” (3rd Edition).

Having been a long term user, and contributor, to Wikipedia over the last 3+ years and having played with various other wiki software and applications, I was interested to take a look.

I wonder whether this approach by a major established publisher of books illustrates a trend we will see growing in future years - is this the way in which 2nd and 3rd editions of books will be developed with collaboration and contribution from experts in a subject around the world?

I can understanding limiting editing rights to those with appropriate qualifications, but was surprised that the facility to use inline citations within the text, now increasingly required on wikipedia, has not been used in this application to validate the sources of the information provided.

I also wonder.....
* whether the publishers are hoping to get contributions from authors for free through this medium?
* whether the public and patients will value this information more highly than that on other web sites?
* what this approach means for the financial, copyright and intellectual property rights rules of the publishing houses?

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