I agree with Lane about this not being clear– there’s little overlap between places, other than a relatively small number of predictable things (such as diseases like asthma, cancer, and diabetes). I wrote a paper after working on this a lot, in terms of criteria for priorities from a consumer point of view: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22004776 

I wouldn’t use MedlinePlus coverage as a starting point – it draws on a base that itself is skewed against certain subjects by nature of the focus of the sources (e.g. not strong on women’s health).

The point-of-care resource for doctors, UpToDate, is one that is widely used by doctors, and its coverage is regarded by doctors as one of its strengths – but I haven’t analyzed that one against others:


A really important one is the list of topics that Google develops knowledge panels with Mayo Clinic, as this would be based on the most searched-for diseases. I thought there was a public way to get that list, but I can’t see it at the moment.

NHS Choices is another list that’s broadly based on real-world from patients’ point of view:



From: Lane Rasberry
Reply-To: Wiki Medicine discussion
Date: Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 6:15 PM
To: Wiki Medicine discussion, Osama Khalid
Subject: Re: [Wiki-Medicine] Criteria to evaluate medical article importance?


You last posted to this list in October. You had this idea about having a "list of primary topics" so that when someone proposes a Wikipedia partnership, the partner group or organization or school can see a list of about 100 articles which Wikipedians are requesting that the partner or project edit. I heard this idea again, and am beginning to think that this might be a common request.

How many articles do you think should be priority? 100 seems to be the most common suggestion.

There is some history in English Wikipedia of trying to make priority lists for either 100 or 1000 articles on a topic.

I am unaware of a third-party publication for defining what medical topics ought to be covered. There are consumer health publishers in English that publish broadly but none are so broad as Wikipedia and I am not convinced that any of them are too thoughtful about listing what topics ought to be covered. MedlinePlus is probably more thoughtful than others.

I hope that you are well. I will keep the list idea in mind and talk with others about it.

On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 11:21 AM, Osama Khalid <osamak@gnu.org> wrote:

There has been an ongoing effort to translate the list that Doc James
prepared.  I wonder what methods have been used to collect that list,
because we might also be able to expand this to evaluate the
importance of other medical articles.

This is critical for two reasons.  First, some Wikipedias are getting
saturated when it comes to the 'top priority' list, so we might as
well have high-, mid- and low-priority lists.  Second, some
contributors are interested in a particular field, so they can use
these indicators to help them choose articles to work on.

The good thing about importance also is that, with fewer exceptions,
it can be a universal criteria used by WikiProject Medicine of
different languages.  Done once, used everywhere.

As for quality evaluation, I just translated the quality scale and I
found it somewhat useful and pretty much applicable, even though it
assumed an offline version.  I wonder if edits should be applied to
these criteria (I have very limited experience with article
assessment, so I may have missed some of its shortcomings when


On Mon, Oct 05, 2015 at 10:56:42AM -0400, Lane Rasberry wrote:
> Osama,
> Both the quality and the importance scales in English Wikipedia are
> disorganized. They both were developed in 2004 for this project.
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Version_1.0_Editorial_Team>
> The goal was to sort which articles to burn on CDs and share by mail around
> the world. As it turns out, people quit using CDs, so a grading system
> which expected CD versions of Wikipedia articles which were not updated for
> years (offline versions) never was useful. I would say do not put too much
> faith in English Wikipedia's grading systems.
> Doc James has a list of about 200 articles which he calls "top priority".
> <
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Medicine/Translation_task_force/RTT%28Simplified%29#Short_articles
> >
> Other than that, importance is supposed to be judged by article traffic and
> links. If many articles link to an article, or if it gets a lot of traffic,
> it is more important.
> No one has imported an ontology of concepts in medicine to arrange the
> articles into any hierarchy of importance. This would be useful in English
> but more useful in other languages, but it is not in Wikipedia at this time.
> yours,
> On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 10:44 AM, Osama Khalid <osamak@gnu.org> wrote:
> > Fellow Wikipedians
> >
> > We have been working hard in the Arabic Wikipedia to establish a twin
> > WikiProject Medicine that would address local medical issues, in
> > addition to participating in global translation efforts.
> >
> > One of the questions I had was the criteria currently followed to
> > evaluate the importance of medical articles on the English Wikipedia.
> > They seem a little bit vague and more difficult to follow when
> > compared to the quality scale.
> >
> > Is there any suggested third-party reference that provides some kind
> > of a guide or a list of important medical subjects?
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-Medicine mailing list
> > Wikimedia-Medicine@lists.wikimedia.org
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-medicine
> >
> >
> --
> Lane Rasberry
> user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
> 206.801.0814
> lane@bluerasberry.com

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