Press Release: UK Covid Response

UK Covid Response

You may have seen media coverage about Wikipedia’s essential role during the pandemic, with readership up by around 30% across all the Wikimedia projects and the articles related to Covid-19 receiving millions of views a day. But with this rise in users comes the challenge of keeping myths, misinformation and poorly-sourced content out of the large number of articles about the virus. So Wikimedia UK has been working with WikiProject Medicine to mobilise experienced editors in the UK to help address these issues. We have also amplified a UN campaign against misinformation in the light of the pandemic, bringing on board other UK partners to help spread awareness.

Our community has also been working hard to ensure Welsh information on the pandemic up to date. This included keeping infection and mortality statistics in Wales up to date on Wikidata, writing Covid-related articles (including the effects of the pandemic on mental health), and translating key Covid-explainer graphics into Welsh. We noted that it is much harder for smaller language Wikipedias to keep on top of information relating to the pandemic, given the rapidity with which new data and evidence is emerging; and this inspired a panel discussion on this topic at the Celtic Knot conference.

Towards the start of the shutdown, Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Collection found herself inundated with requests from medics and medical librarians for Wikimedia training. Dr Alice White was ideally placed to help the library shift to digital and help direct the medical expertise of Wellcome’s staff towards keeping Covid articles up to date. We also saw more traffic to other medical Wiki pages, with visitors interested in historical epidemics to give better context to our current situation; something that, again, staff at Wellcome were well equipped to support.