Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Major medical schools announce major medical wiki

A consortium of major medical schools has announced the World’s Largest Collaborative [OA] Online Encyclopedia of Medicine And Health, July 23, 2008.  Excerpt:

The Medpedia Project today announced the formation of the world’s largest collaborative online encyclopedia of medicine called Medpedia. Physicians, medical schools, hospitals, health organizations and public health professionals are now volunteering to collaboratively build the most comprehensive medical clearinghouse in the world for information about health, medicine and the body. This free public site will officially launch at the end of 2008, and a preview site becomes available today....

Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, the University of Michigan Medical School and dozens of health organizations around the world are contributing to The Medpedia Project in various ways. Many organizations will contribute seed content free of copyright restrictions. Harvard Medical School will publish content to uneditable areas that members of their faculty have created as part of a medical school wide effort. Others organizations, such as University of Michigan Medical School will encourage members of their faculty to edit Medpedia as individuals.

Other health and medical organizations that are supporting Medpedia include the American College of Physicians (ACP), the Oxford Health Alliance (, the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, (FOCIS), and the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA). These groups are contributing content and promoting participation in Medpedia to their members. Medpedia is also receiving content and cooperation from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and many other government research groups who are eager to have that public domain information distributed to both the general public and to healthcare professionals.

“Medpedia has the potential to become a vital tool for scientists, researchers and educators, as well as for the general public across the globe, providing easy access to the latest and best information on medicine,” said Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Health Publications Division of Harvard Medical School. “Sharing what we know, we can help each other and help ourselves.” ...

Over the next few years, the growing community of Editors on Medpedia will create and interlink Web pages for the more than 30,000 known diseases and conditions, the more than 10,000 drugs being prescribed each year, the thousands of medical procedures being performed and the millions of medical facilities around the world. These pages will provide insight into the latest health and medical discoveries along with photographs, video, sound, and images. The site has been designed so that everything on a subject will be simple to access. The main topic pages will be written in language the general public can easily understand, and each topic page will have with it a "Technical” page for professionals to discuss the same topic in more clinical and scientific language....

Medpedia runs on open source Mediawiki software, and like Wikipedia, content on the Medpedia site will be available for reuse under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)....In the future, in order to cover operating costs, non-invasive, text-based advertising will be shown on the Medpedia website through third-party ad networks such as Google’s Ad Inc. is funded and managed by Ooga Labs a technology greenhouse in San Francisco developing several for-profit, mission-oriented companies to address worldwide needs in health, education, and activism.

While the contents of Medpedia will be OA, editing privileges will be limited to those with an M.D. or biomedical Ph.D. who apply to become an editor.  For more details, see the FAQ.