SEED: a tool for disseminating systematic review data into Wikipedia
Schmidt et al. Systematic Reviews
SEED: a tool for disseminating systematic review data into Wikipedia
Lena Schmidt 2
Johannes Friedel 2
Clive E. Adams 0 1
0 Institute of Mental Health , Jubilee Campus , University of Nottingham Innovation Park , Triumph Road, Nottingham NG7 2TU , UK
1 University of Nottingham , Nottingham , UK
2 Hochschule Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences in Furtwangen im Schwarzwald , Furtwangen im Schwarzwald , Germany
Wikipedia, the free-content online encyclopaedia, contains many heavily accessed pages relating to healthcare. Cochrane systematic reviews contain much high-grade evidence but dissemination into Wikipedia has been slow. New skills are needed to both translate and relocate data from Cochrane reviews to implant into Wikipedia pages. This letter introduces a programme to greatly simplify the process of disseminating the summary of findings of Cochrane reviews into Wikipedia pages.
Wikipedia; Summary of findings; Automation; Systematic reviews; Reducing waste
Wikipedia contains over 40 million articles with 5.3 m in
the English language [
]. Since its creation in 2001,
Wikipedia has expanded to attract over 374 million
unique visitors each month and around 20% of
healthcare-related online searches direct to Wikipedia
]. Every year health pages on Wikipedia
receive over 4.8 billion views . Wikipedia is openly
editable so any user can access and edit the majority of
articles. Wikipedia policy states, however, that all
information presented in pages must be “verifiable against a
published reliable source” [
The Cochrane Collaboration is a non-for profit
organisation producing, and maintaining systematic reviews of
health care [
]. A systematic review “attempts to collate
all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility
criteria in order to answer a specific research question.
It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected
with a view to minimising bias, thus providing more
reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and
decisions made” [
]. These findings are acceptable on
Wikipedia pages if referenced and reliable. The
Cochrane Collaboration uses a writing tool—RevMan
]—to produce its reviews but disseminating the
findings of the reviews within Wikipedia necessitates more
work. Data have to be extracted, summarised and
The programme was created by students of Applied
Health Science with close-to-zero previous knowledge in
programming and the help of printed popular texts [
numerous YouTube tutorials and internet fora. For
creating the SEED tool, the integrated development
environment ‘Eclipse’ was used (Neon version) [
open-source programme allows the developed
application to run on the programming language Java.
RevMan (v5.3) is an open-access text editor for
authors of reviews [
]. It produces structured XML
(Extensible Markup Language) review files (.rm5) within which
Summary of Findings tables (SoF)—in turn produced by
]—are embedded. Because the development
team worked within Cochrane Schizophrenia’s editorial
base they had access to RevMan files. The team had
identified Wikipedia pages specific enough to be
appropriately seeded with evidence from particular reviews’
SoF tables [
Because each .rm5 file has basically the same shading. We used Swing [
] to build the graphical
structure, this makes it simple to read content auto- interface of SEED. Swing is a GUI (Graphical user
matically. Eclipse parses the XML structure with its interface) tool allowing those with low IT knowledge
‘chapters’ and ‘subchapters’ (children). The parser to create a typical window with buttons, text fields
programme reads and follows relevant roots of and icons.
XML-format and can jump to the SoF tables section
and the references. In combination with the code we
generated to parse through the files attributes or ele- Output
ments of the SoF part of the XML file can be con- SEED allows the user to select their RevMan file,
verted into ‘strings’ and these, in turn, embedded in choose the relevant SoF table, and then produce
comprepared phrases. These phrases were developed with patible Code of Wikipedia tables (Fig. 1) that can be
the help of Sense about Science [
], to ensure both pasted directly into the editing box of the relevant
accuracy and clarity for Wikipedia readers. After Wikipedia page. This code will produce a clear and
SEED captures the SoF content, it converts it into attractive table with an accompanying reference to
the special format of Wikipedia tables. This format that Cochrane review. One such ‘effect of treatment’
is standardised [
] and includes code for generating table is embedded in the Wikipedia page relevant to
the correct size, font, formatting, colour and Early Intervention in Psychosis—Fig. 2 [
Fig. 2 Output of SEED as it appears in Wikipedia
TdDhaayetasrepsuweprapmsonorontnchgleitanhrhisdoififfsnpedirtieannlgicneartbeheebtawinseteeedrnvoegnrnomuoopndsegarrlaothtueopuqsguwhaaltisthyseoeamvvideeewranhgcaeet.nlouwmebre.r of lMowDe1r.1to1 0lo.9w9ehri(g3h.2e1r) Moderate
Specialized team probably causes li le or no increase to the chance of
euxsepde,ribeuntcitnhgetdhieffeoruetnccoembeesttwoedeon wthitehthwoowtrmeautcmhehnotsspiistanlo/ctocmleamru.Dniattyacare is RR 1.05 (0.9 to 1.22) Moderate
suppor ng this finding are based on moderate quality evidence.
The time of researchers and staff involved in knowledge
transfer is finite. As the reviewing process becomes more
sophisticated and dissemination in one format is
increasingly seen as inadequate more shortcuts will be
needed to produce output. SEED is open-access (see
Availability of data and materials, below) and greatly
increases the efficiency of knowledge transfer into one
EU: European Union; GUI: Graphical user interface; NIHR: National Institute of
Health Research; SEED: Systematic EvidEnce Disseminator; SoF: Summary of
Findings tables; XML: Extensible Markup Language
We acknowledge the use of the graphic of the Dandelion in Fig. 1 created
by Alice Noir of the Noun Project (https://thenounproject.com/).
This work was supported though intramural UK NIHR funding along with EU
Erasmus support for the student work experience.
Availability of data and materials
SEED is available to download—including the source code https://
Examples of pages already containing SEED-produced expandable (press
‘open’) tables (static versions).
LS undertook the main body of the programming and research into extraction
from XML, undertook the testing and contributed to the write up. JF undertook
the main body of the design of the graphical user interface, helped undertake
the testing and contributed to the write up. CEA thought up the idea and did
none of the programming but helped test and contributed to the write up. All
authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in
published maps and institutional affiliations.
Submit your next manuscript to BioMed Central
and we will help you at every step:
1. Wikipedia: Size of Wikipedia . In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Apr 10 ]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia: Size_of_Wikipedia&oldid= 774170077 .
2. Makovsky . Online Health Research eclipsing patient-doctor conversations [Internet] . 2013 [cited 2016 Apr 8 ]. Available from: http://www.makovsky. com/news/online-health -research-eclipsing-patient-doctor-conversations/.
3. Laurent M , Vickers T. Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter ? J Am Med Inform Assoc . 2009 ; 16 ( 4 ): 471 - 9 .
4. Heilman J , West A . Wikipedia and medicine: quantifying readership, editors, and the significance of natural language . J Med Internet Res . 2015 ; 17 ( 3 ) [ cited 2016 Aug 4 ]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC4376174/
5. Wikipedia . Wikipedia:About [Internet]. Wikipedia:About. 2016 [cited 2016 Aug 4 ]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About.
6. The Cochrane Collaboration | working together to provide the best evidence for health care [Internet] . [cited 2011 May 16 ]. Available from: http://www.cochrane.org/.
7. Higgins J , Green S , editors. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. In: 5.1.0. The Cochrane Collaboration; 2011 [cited 2016 Aug 4 ]. p. 1 . 2 . 2 What is a systematic review? Available from : http://handbook. cochrane.org/chapter_1/1_2_ 2_what_is_a_systematic_review .htm.
8. Cochrane Informatics and Knowledge Management Department . RevMan 5 .3 [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2014 Jul 9 ]. Available from: http://tech.cochrane.org/Revman.
9. Burd B . Java for dummies . 4th ed. Foster City: IDG Books Worldwide; 2006 . p. 365 . United Kingdom
10. GRADEpro | GDT [Internet]. [cited 2017 Apr 10 ]. Available from: https:// gradepro.org/.
11. White D , Adams CE . What proportion of Cochrane Reviews are Wikicompatible? | Cochrane Community [Internet] . [cited 2017 Apr 10 ]. Available from: http://community.cochrane.org/news/what -proportion-cochranereviews-are-wiki-compatible.
12. Sense about Science-because evidence matters [Internet] . [cited 2017 Jul 10 ]. Available from: http://senseaboutscience.org/.
13. Help:Table. In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: https://en. wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title= Help:Table&oldid=789051822. Accessed 16 Oct 2017 .
14. Swing ( Java) . In: Wikipedia [Internet] . 2017 . Available from: https://en. wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Swing_(Java)& oldid=788349087. Accessed 16 Oct 2017 .
15. Early intervention in psychosis . In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Early_intervention_in _ psychosis&oldid=790208123. Accessed 16 Oct 2017 .