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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