Batea: a Wikipedia hack for medical students
Medical students use Wikipedia in great numbers, but what if it were a more trusted source of information?
That's the idea behind Batea, a piece of software that essentially collects data from clinical reference URLs medical students visit, then aggregates that information to share with WikiProject Medicine, such that relevant medical editors can glean insights about how best to enhance Wikipedia's medical content.
Batea takes its name from the Spanish name for gold pan, according to Fred Trotter, a data journalist at DocGraph.
"It's a data mining project," Trotter explained, "so we wanted a short term that positively referenced mining."
DocGraph built Batea with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and, prior to releasing it on Tuesday, operated beta testing pilots of the browser extension at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Texas, Houston.
UCSF, for instance, has what Trotter described as "a unique program where medical students edit Wikipedia for credit. They helped us tremendously in testing the alpha versions of the software."
Wikipedia houses some 25,000 medical articles that receive more than 200 million views each month, according to the DocGraph announcement, while 8,000 pharmacology articles are read more than 40 million times a month.
DocGraph is encouraging medical students around the country to download the Batea extension - and anonymously donate their clinical-related browsing history. Should Batea gain critical mass, the potential exists for it to substantively enhance Wikipedia.
"More complete and accurate Wikipedia medical articles mean millions of Americans benefit from a better health resource for years to come," Michael Painter, MD, senior program officer at RWJF said in a prepared statement.