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Scope, Completeness, and Accuracy of Drug Information in Wikipedia

Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy-West Palm Beach, Nova Southeastern University, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, USA.
Annals of Pharmacotherapy (Impact Factor: 2.92). 11/2008; 42(12):1814-21. DOI: 10.1345/aph.1L474
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, user-edited online resources such as Wikipedia are increasingly tapped for information. However, there is little research on the quality of health information found in Wikipedia.
To compare the scope, completeness, and accuracy of drug information in Wikipedia with that of a free, online, traditionally edited database (Medscape Drug Reference [MDR]).
Wikipedia and MDR were assessed on 8 categories of drug information. Questions were constructed and answers were verified with authoritative resources. Wikipedia and MDR were evaluated according to scope (breadth of coverage) and completeness. Accuracy was tracked by factual errors and errors of omission. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the components. Fisher's exact test was used to compare scope and paired Student's t-test was used to compare current results in Wikipedia with entries 90 days prior to the current access.
Wikipedia was able to answer significantly fewer drug information questions (40.0%) compared with MDR (82.5%; p < 0.001). Wikipedia performed poorly regarding information on dosing, with a score of 0% versus the MDR score of 90.0%. Answers found in Wikipedia were 76.0% complete, while MDR provided answers that were 95.5% complete; overall, Wikipedia answers were less complete than those in Medscape (p < 0.001). No factual errors were found in Wikipedia, whereas 4 answers in Medscape conflicted with the answer key; errors of omission were higher in Wikipedia (n = 48) than in MDR (n = 14). There was a marked improvement in Wikipedia over time, as current entries were superior to those 90 days prior (p = 0.024).
Wikipedia has a more narrow scope, is less complete, and has more errors of omission than the comparator database. Wikipedia may be a useful point of engagement for consumers, but is not authoritative and should only be a supplemental source of drug information.

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    • "The Wikipedia corpus contains a vast category graph on top of its articles and a study [12] shows that Wikipedia is the most sought online resource for basic medical information. It is, however, determined [3] to be only a good starting point and that is exactly how we use Wikipedia in our framework. Note that for purely medical purposes recent community efforts like MedPedia 3 can also be used. "
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    ABSTRACT: In domain-specific search systems, knowledge of a domain of interest is embedded as a backbone that guides the search process. But the knowledge used in most such systems 1. exists only for few well known broad domains; 2. is of a basic nature: either purely hierarchical or involves only few relationship types; and 3. is not always kept up-to-date missing insights from recently published results. In this paper we present a framework and implementation of a focused and up-to-date knowledge-based search system, called Scooner, that utilizes domain-specific knowledge extracted from recent bioscience abstracts. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt in the field to address all three shortcomings mentioned above. Since recent introduction for operational use at Applied Biotechnology Branch of AFRL, some biologists are using Scooner on a regular basis, while it is being made available for use by many more. Initial evaluations point to the promise of the approach in addressing the challenge we set out to address.
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    • "Accordingly, some of Wikipedia's popularity may result simply from its top position in search engine rakings, rather than the qualities of its content per se (Hargittai et al. 2010). 3 Most research about Wikipedia has focused on evaluating the accuracy of its content (Chesney 2006; Clauson et al. 2008; Giles 2005) or the patterns of editing on the site (Bryant et al. 2005; Burke & Kraut 2008; Kittur et al. 2007; Kittur & Kraut 2008; Ortega et al. 2008), with very little research concentrating on users who visit the site but do not edit articles, despite the fact that they make up the biggest portion of the site's visitors. In 2008, Wikipedia had over 684 million visitors less than two per cent of whom were active contributors with many of the contributions being made by a very small fraction of that two per cent (Ortega et al. 2008), suggesting that a tiny portion of annual users edit Wikipedia regularly. "
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    • "Similarly, in [11] a research team analyzed 80 Wikipedia articles on drugs. They found that the articles often missed important information and a small number of factual errors. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper discusses an approach to modeling and measuring information quality of Wikipedia articles. The approach is based on the idea that the quality of Wikipedia articles with distinctly different profiles needs to be measured using different information quality models. We report on our initial study, which involved two categories of Wikipedia articles: "stabilized" (those, whose content has not undergone major changes for a significant period of time) and "controversial" (the articles, which have undergone vandalism, revert wars, or whose content is subject to internal discussions between Wikipedia editors). We present simple information quality models and compare their performance on a subset of Wikipedia articles with the information quality evaluations provided by human users. Our experiment shows, that using special-purpose models for information quality captures user sentiment about Wikipedia articles better than using a single model for both categories of articles.
    Proceedings of the 4th ACM Workshop on Information Credibility on the Web, WICOW 2010, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, April 27, 2010; 01/2010
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