Friday, November 16, 2007

A new medical wiki from Elsevier

Elsevier has started a new medical wiki called WiserWiki. Where it can be read by anyone it can only be edited by board certified physicians. The site was seeded from the Textbook of Primary Care Medicine.

WiserWiki is provided as a free service by Elsevier. As the leading global publisher of science and health information and tools, Elsevier serves more than 30 million scientists, students, and health and information professionals around the world. We are proud to play an essential role in the global science and health communities and to contribute to the advancement of these critical fields. We continuously make substantial investments that serve the needs of the global science and health communities. To find out more about Elsevier, please go to Elsevier.com.

This is another major wiki project based on Mediawiki which has become the software of choice for managing the world's content. The network effect is in full bloom.

It'll be interesting to see how physicians take to this effort. I see two potential problems. First, the copyright of the site is very different than you see in most wiki projects. Elsevier is not releasing the content to the commons. Will that be enough to tip the trust equation so that others won't contribute? Second, I wonder how they are going to authenticate the physicians who decide to participate? How are they going to determine that someone is indeed a board certified physician? Will the vetting process alone be enough to deter people from jumping in to contribute?

Regardless, I think this is a cool project. Where I think they could have done some things differently, I'm most definitely hoping they succeed. It would be nice to see many more efforts such as this.


1 comment:

Peg said...

Intresting development. Thanks for it, Kevin.

To my mind, though. WiserWiki will have the same limitations common to most other medical/health websites.

By privileging the dominant biomedical model (which itself doesn't play well in the commons), the wiki will lack critical outside perspectives on that model, as well as important ideas from other--not necessarily competing--health & healing models.

With modern biomedicine in big trouble from many sides (e.g., rampant iatrogenesis, out-of-control costs, fraud in medical research & reporting, problems treating chronic disease, little incentive to focus on disease prevention), I wonder if WiserWiki can offer health-seekers much of a true network.