Wikipedia is known to be one of the most informative sites on a wide range of subjects, it has severe limitations and drawbacks. One of the major drawbacks of this site is that anyone can contribute to it on any topic. Due to this, the information is often incomplete or even incorrect. This can be especially dangerous, when someone is searching for information on a serious topic like cancer.
In order to help out with these shortcomings, and to make sure that users receive accurate and latest information on the subject, Cancer Research UK, a charity that also has its own website, has decided to work on improving content on Wikipedia, which ranks higher on Google for searches relating to most types of cancer.
Henry Scowcroft, Scientific Communications Manager for Cancer Research UK says, “It has been our intention for a long time to be involved in the online discussion outside of our own website. Wikipedia is nearly always at the top of an Internet search for cancers. It’s not always that easy to understand and sometimes it can be inaccurate or not completely up-to-date. We want to increase the accuracy and clarity.”
Considering the fact that Wikipedia has a very large user base – they received over 3.5 million page views for ‘Cancer’ in January 2011 – this is a very good move on the part of Cancer Research UK.
However, this is really quite a mammoth task, and will require a lot of manpower as well as time. The project has already started off with an entry on the ‘Hallmarks of cancer’ and screening for the Human Papilloma Virus, a lot of thought and effort needs to be put in regarding the number of people required to contribute to this project, and also how much time each person will have to dedicate to each wiki.
One of the major hurdles that must be overcome, is the necessity to stay up-to-date with the information at all times, as new research and information are constantly coming up on the subject and to continuously monitor the Wiki pages in order to prevent others from editing the correct information and replacing it with lies or falsifications.