Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Elsevier's WiserWiki adopts an open license

Elsevier has officially launched the beta edition of WiserWiki, its medical wiki open for editing by board certified doctors.   From yesterday's announcement:

Elsevier, the world's leading publisher of science and health information, announced today the beta launch of WiserWiki, a wiki that allows board-certified physicians to collaboratively contribute and update medical information online. The site, which is open to and viewable by the public, is seeded with content from The Textbook of Primary Care Medicine (3rd Edition, 2001) by John Noble, M.D. The textbook was published by Mosby, an Elsevier imprint, and was one of Elsevier's best-selling medical textbooks....

WiserWiki hopes to maintain a high level of relevancy and trustworthiness by ensuring that editorial privileges remain restricted to medical professionals....

WiserWiki is free to users, and contributors retain the copyright to information they contribute to the site, subject to usage rights provided to other users on the site. In order to encourage open collaboration and the exchange of information, WiserWiki uses an "attribution share-alike" license that allows contributors to build upon other authors' works as long as they credit and license derivative works under the identical terms of its license....

"There's a lot we can test and learn from WiserWiki," said Virkler. "A majority of healthcare wikis aren't fully trusted by users, and attempts to create new wiki communities are hindered by the inability to create a critical mass of information. We're in the best position to provide a medical wiki due to our expertise in the medical content, as well as our know-how in creating valuable tools for physicians."

Comment.  See my comments on WiserWiki's first appearance last November.  Again, I commend Elsevier for this experiment with free online research.  I also commend it for adopting an open license, which addresses my chief criticism of the pre-beta edition.