Press releases/Medical Research Council workshop
Medical Research Council scientists to start improving Wikipedia 
- Wikipedia writers and medical researchers join forces to improve Wikipedia's medical content
London, 29 June 2011: Medical scientists and science communicators are meeting in London this Friday to learn how to improve Wikipedia, in a workshop run by Wikimedia UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
Wikipedia, the free encyclopædia, has over twenty-two thousand articles on medical topics. Four experienced Wikipedia volunteers are spending the day at the MRC's London headquarters, showing MRC-funded experts how to engage with the online encyclopædia and improve its articles.
Dr Tony Peatfield, Director of Corporate Affairs at the MRC says: "As a publicly funded body, the MRC recognises its responsibility to inform the general public about its work. We are committed to reaching out to a range of audiences and, given the broadness of Wikipedia’s reach, taking part in this workshop will give our scientists a strong platform to engage effectively with the public."
Dr Martin Poulter, who works at the University of Bristol, is one of the Wikipedia volunteers delivering the workshop. He commented, "Our commitment is to make knowledge freely accessible to everyone in the world. One particularly important area is medical science, where reliable, factual information can inform and empower Wikipedia's global audience of more than 400 million visitors each month. The involvement of researchers and other qualified experts is crucial. The MRC is one of many scholarly and cultural bodies that we are working with in the UK - and we welcome new partner organisations."
Wikipedia allows anyone to contribute, whether by adding information, correcting mistakes or sharing digital files. The 'Wikipedia Workshop', run by Wikimedia UK volunteers, is tailored to the needs and interests of its host organisation, teaching attendees the skills to contribute productively and confidently. This is the second Wikipedia Workshop to take place in the UK; the first was with Cancer Research UK in March 2011. To learn more about the Workshop or to apply for Wikimedia UK to host one at your organisation, please contact infowikimedia.org.uk.
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- About Wikimedia UK
Wikimedia UK (incorporated as "Wiki UK Limited") is the local Wikimedia chapter supporting Wikipedia and its sister projects within the United Kingdom. It is a non-profit organisation that exists to help collect, develop and distribute freely licensed knowledge, as well as other educational, cultural and historic content.
Available in more than 270 languages, Wikipedia contains over 17 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. It is one of nine web sites for education and reference, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation in the United States. The Wikimedia Foundation is an audited US charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants and is based in San Francisco, California. Wikimedia UK is a separate organisation from the Wikimedia Foundation, and has no control over the contents of Wikipedia or any other Wikimedia Foundation project.
According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects receive 398 million unique visitors per month, making them the 5th most popular web property world-wide (September 2010).
Further information about Wikimedia UK:
- About the Medical Research Council
For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.
Further information about the Medical Research Council:
- Contact information
Martin Poulter, Trustee, Wikimedia UK
- Tel: +44 (0)117 331 4349
- Email: martin.poulterwikimedia.org.uk