Background:The Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership, formalised in 2014, supports the inclusion of relevant evidence within all Wikipedia health articles, as well as processes to help ensure that health information included in Wikipedia is of the highest quality and accuracy. In 2016, Cochrane Global Ageing worked on improving the health content on Wikipedia on topics related to ageing.
Objectives: To work with a group of volunteers in improving Wikipedia articles of relevance to ageing and, where available, reference Cochrane evidence within these articles.
Methods:Four volunteers contributed during four months, at aproximately four hours a week, for this project. They received 4 times one hour of online training from Wikipedia to ensure they were comfortable editing Wikipedia content. Cochrane, through Cochrane Global Ageing, provided content guidance. Cochrane CET provided project-management support.
Results: During the four months’ period, the volunteers edited 106 articles, and added over 16 000 words to these articles. The articles were viewed 9,35 million times by the end of the project period.
Conclusions: Many people use Wikipedia as the place to go when looking for health information. The statistics of this project confirm this. If Cochrane wants its health evidence be used by the general public, investing in Wikipedia makes sense. The volunteer model worked well: after a short training the volunteers were capable of editing articles. Wikipedia maintains a list of articles most read and their quality. Cochrane groups could use this list as a starting point to see where contributing their evidence would reach a large public. Groups can also consider working with student volunteers, guided by the review authors if needed, so that Wikipedia editing becomes one additional dissemination channel for Cochrane Reviews.