Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#Wikipedia - fiduciary responsibilities for #Wikipedia #Medical

Retraction Watch has a very relevant article for one of the most important resources for medical information: Wikipedia. Its title: “A concerning – largely unrecognised – threat to patient safety:” Nursing reviews cite retracted trials. It is a follow up interview of an article in the International Journal of Nursing Studies with Richard Gray the principal author.

Given that Wikipedia is the most read resource by medical practitioners, the interview has many relevant pointers on ensuring safe practices. I quote them from the paper and with some modifications they apply to any and all sources used in Wikimedia content.

  1. A retraction filter (or whatever mechanism the database in question allows) must be applied to the end output of any search strategy.
  2. Journals/databases must make retractions more visible (step 1 above depends on it).
  3. Collaborations (e.g. Cochrane, Campbell, The JBI) need to incorporate into their handbooks directives around retraction. For example, a scan for retractions after data sourcing; a scan for retractions before data extraction; a scan for retractions before review submission.
  4. The reporting guidelines for systematic reviews (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, PRISMA) needs to include an item stating that authors have checked if any included studies have been retracted.
  5. Journal editors should require authors, when submitting manuscripts, to confirm that they have checked that none of the included studies have been retracted. Authors should also include a statement in the paper stating they have done this.
  6. Proofreaders may also have an important role to play. For example, authors of one review included in their reference list a citation that clearly indicated the reference was for a retracted paper. Proofreaders could be trained to spot and report these anomalies.
Registering retractions in Wikidata would be a start.
Thanks,
     GerardM

#Wikidata - Rachael E Jack; Spearman medal winner

On Facebook I mentioned a 2016 blog post about the Spearman Medal. I checked for missing entries; they were the two 2017 award winners, Mrs Claire Haworth and Mrs Rachael E Jack.

Adding award winners to Wikidata is something I do regularly. It always starts with a search. Mrs Jack was known as "Rachael Jack" on Wikipedia and by drilling down into the ORCID information I found confirmation that this is indeed the same person.

Mrs Haworth is known to ORCID as well, and through a link to a profile, there was a confirmation that it was the same person; the award winner of the Spearman medal.

Typically I do not spend that much time on red links. What I wanted to know is the value of the network. Given the titles of publications known at ORCID, some of the publications of Mrs Haworth could already be found in Wikidata and were linked.

Thanks to all the work done on scholarly publications, scaffolding information for Wikipedia articles become available.. These two ladies are notable if only because of being recipients of the Spearman medal.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, January 06, 2018

#Wikidata - Lindsay McLaren; #science under attack

Mrs McLaren is the first author of a paper about the (negative) effects of the cessation of adding fluoride to drink water. Retraction Watch mentioned the aggressive attacks on Mrs McLaren by people opposed to the addition of fluoride to tab water and it refers to an article in the National Post.

Adverts bought from Google may give the impression that something is wrong with the science. Not so. Reason enough to put some positive spin on Mrs McLaren and provide her with an item in Wikidata. You may consider this to be an invite to write a Wikipedia article..
Thanks,
      GerardM

Monday, January 01, 2018

#Wikidata - #CocaCola, what science in paid "science"?

Greenpeace has a reputation on the science it uses to base its actions on. Its objective is one that should be not controversial but it is because it affects business as usual for industries like the plastic bottled drinks of a Coca Cola or the production of oil by a Shell.

Industry has a long tradition of performing research and of keeping it confidential when this is considered in its interest. Another, new strategy is to commission research to find the numbers to shore up its market position.

When the numbers do not add up because reality is different, the last bastion to defend is the integrity of the science and its scientists. Even when a case goes to court, the findings of a judge are disputed when other scientists do not consider the legal findings. In a post at the Dutch Greenpeace website, 5 reasons to dispose of rebate and 12 reasons to reinforce rebate, multiple examples of doctored science are mentioned. Mentioned in a way where research is invalidated by research. When a bad faith actor like the plastic bottle industry buys research, it follows that the research is easily suspect and with the same brush, the organisations, the people involved.

When science is pseudo science, when both Wikipedia and Wikidata use sources to establish points of view it follows that this pseudo science is used to establish a neutral point of view. That is exactly why a Coca Cola invests in these programs; just to shore up its business. Obviously the court cases, the papers trouncing pseudo science should be prominently included. This pseudo science has no place in the Wikimedia projects except when it is obvious for what it is.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, December 28, 2017

#Wikidata - Cyrus J. Colter and G. B. Lancaster - #diversity

Cyrus J. Colter was inducted on the Black Literary Hall Of Fame in 1999. He has a Wikipedia article in Japanese and his Wikidata item has been expanded with a link to Open Library and VIAF

According to a tweet, G. B. Lancaster was once one of New Zealand's most popular writers. When you google her, you find that G.B. Lancaster is a pseudonym for Edith Joan Lyttleton. For Mrs Lyttleton there is now a link to Open Library as well.

From a diversity point of view, both Mr Colter and Mrs Lyttleton represent minorities. Giving attention to either increases the diversity of Wikidata. Linking both authors to the Open Library has the most inclusive effect. There is now a bigger public for the books they have written.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Monday, December 25, 2017

#Wikidata - #Reebok Human Rights award

Once upon a time, there was a company called Reebok who presented an award to human rights activists under the age of 30. Every year four or five people received $50,000.--. Every year attention was given to human rights. Important enough because an award like this gives additional relevance and resonance for an extremely good cause. It may even provide some extra protection by making people more visible.

The award is no longer presented. Some people who were recognised  refused the award because in their opinion Reebok itself should take care about its human right record. Some people took actions and they were successful; the last award ceremony was in 2007. That is all; a lot less attention for human rights, defeat in victory.

The best information about the Reebok Human Rights Award is at the Internet Archive's Wayback machine.  Nothing wrong with the credentials as stated of the people who were awarded.. When you compare this with the linked people at Wikipedia, you will miss the Chilean soccer player, the Nigerian business magnate and find what are Wikipedia red links.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, December 24, 2017

#Wikimedia - #diversity and #inclusion requires #trust

All the Wikimedia projects have their culture. Each project has its own culture and there is this overall stated ambition that diversity and the inclusion that is needed to make it work is alive and well.

We have our diversity conferences and the best result is how the "gender gap" is approached. It gets a lot of attention and the positive effects are noticeable. There is however more to diversity and some of the beliefs we hold so dear prevent the inclusion from those that are at the outside looking in.

One of the Wikimedia traditions is that we do not trust; trust is in the citations, the sources. We do not trust each other, why should we? When for diversities sake, people who receive the "Harriƫt Freezerring" are added, it is accepted because there is a Wikipedia article that mentions them.. But when people are added because they are "artists from the African diaspora" there is a problem. There are no articles yet and the point of adding the artists first is because Wikidata enables managing projects in multiple languages.

There are many people who are targetted for attention in Wikipedia editathons. There have been editathons in the past so there is an established track record for the Black Lunch Table. That did not bring trust, the trust needed to accept that the BLT will manage the people on the list. The trust that bare boned items will get sufficient statements eventually.

The problem with trust is that when it is not given, it can not be assumed for other, similar situations either. The trust that retractions from scientific papers will be included so that we know what Wikipedia articles are inherently wrong. Retractions are absent at this time and while I trust the people involved in the inclusion of citations, why trust at all when equally worthy causes are not trusted? Why include all these scientific papers without similar quality control?
Thanks,
       GerardM

#Belief - Black Pete, Rudolph and Christmas


It is Christmas time and a good time is had by all. As everone knows; Santaclaus has reindeer and one of them has a red nose. The notion of Santa is based on a Dutch tradition "Sinterklaas" and everybody knows that he arrives by steam boat from Madrid accompanied by "Zwarte Piet" and comes loaded with presents for all the children who have been good. It is all part of winter celebrations, Santaclaus is firmly associated with Christmas and it is well documented that Jezus was not born on this day so many centuries ago.

When you start to evaluate belief and find things to criticise you can and may do so. However, it is easily understood why this is not appreciated at all. People want to believe in a Jezus that did not look at all like how it is usually depicted. The fact that Santa comes from the North pole found a lot of cheer thanks to Norad and I read an amusing story that Rudolphs red nose is due to bioluminism. 

There is a lack of appreciation for "black pete" as some consider it an example of "Blackface". Do read the Wikipedia article, its origin is in a USA when slavery was alive and well. The Netherlands has a different culture; Zwarte Piet is clothed in seventeenth century garb he brings presents through the chimney but is always spotless. He is a smart, hardworking guy and only thanks to Zwarte Piet Sinterklaas can bring presents to all the children of the Netherlands. Remember, the Netherlands were Spanish until the seventeenth century.

Like in any belief system; those who truly belief benefit the most. When children are of an age when they will start to suspect that Sinterklaas is a ruse, they will be informed about the awful truth. When they no longer belief, when they are "gortig", they are expected to make surprises for their peers. They may share in the fun of a truly Dutch tradition. For those who object, the German term "hineininterpretieren" fits the application of blackface to Zwarte Piet.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Monday, December 18, 2017

Francesco Redi and the #BHL - A purpose for #Wikisource

Mr Redi is of a stature that his statue is in the Uffizi Gallery. His books are available in the Internet Archive, thanks to the Biodiversity Heritage Library.  Wikisourcers waved their magic on several of his books and the result is a superior output for for instance "Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl'insetti".

Mr Redi has four books who received the Wikisource treatment.. and then what? In response to a tweet, I was told of the existence of these books in Wikisource. I checked them on Wikidata and added Mr Redi as the author. There is nothing to indicate in Wikisource where the book came from (the BHL provided them with a DOI).

In a tweet, the BHL indicated that they are interested in books that received the Wikisource treatment. So lets consider where we are:
  • Wikisource has many great books transcribed and available as an ebook
  • It is not known outside of Wikisource what books are available in what quality and where they came from
  • We could have this information in Wikidata. It will give a clue what is available; we can query for the books when they are in Wikidata
  • What is the purpose of Wikisource if it is not for people to read all these fine books?
Thanks,
       GerardM