No One Ever Said You Should Rely On Wikipedia For Drug Info
from the if-you-didn't-know-that-already dept
There are a bunch of headlines today about a new study that notes that you shouldn’t rely on Wikipedia for drug info that I’m sure has various Wikipedia-haters feeling good about themselves. Of course, the details of the study suggest that Wikipedia comes out of the study looking much better than you might expect.
First of all, who relies on any encyclopedia for comprehensive drug information? That’s not the purpose of any encyclopedia. But, more to the point, the study didn’t find any errors in Wikipedia info, compared to their review of Medscape Drug Reference, a peer-reviewed site. While MDR did provide the answers to many more questions than Wikipedia, four of the answers in MDR were inaccurate, while none in Wikipedia were. The real issue was that Wikipedia’s info wasn’t as complete, often leading to “errors of omission.” Of course, again, things aren’t as bad as they seem, as the researchers noted that while watching Wikipedia entries over a 90 day period, the entries improved greatly, a process that’s likely to continue.
So, basically, the study pretty much points out the obvious: you shouldn’t have been relying on Wikipedia as your sole source for anything, let alone something as important as questions about pharmaceuticals you’re taking. But, as a starting point that is backed up with multiple other sources, it might not be that bad. And, that’s exactly what Wikipedia is designed to do.