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Wikipedia and Cancer Research UK to take cancer information to the next level

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by Cancer Research UK | News

16 January 2014

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Cancer Research UK is to recruit its very own ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ to help ensure the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has the most up to date and accurate information on cancer, today (Thursday).

“It’s more important than ever that [patients] have access to the best and most up to date information that’s out there.” – Liz Woolf

The exciting new role will include teaching Cancer Research UK’s scientists to edit the website as well as researching how cancer patients use the site to access information and helping to make information on its pages as easy as possible to understand. They will also support Wikipedians already editing its cancer science pages. 

Funded by the Wellcome Trust and supported by Wikimedia UK, the new in-house Wikipedian role will be the first of its kind to be created by a medical research organisation. It is hoped that the project could act as an exemplar for other areas of medical research – ensuring that medical experts are working closely with Wikipedia so that cutting-edge scientific research is freely available to everyone. 

Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, said: “This new role would see Wikimedia UK and Cancer Research UK joining forces to build on Wikipedia’s extensive information on cancer. The possibility of recruiting cancer scientists to help edit these important articles is very exciting.”

Wikipedia is the world’s fifth most popular website*, with half a billion people accessing it and its sister Wikimedia sites every month. 

Liz Woolf, head of CancerHelp UK at Cancer Research UK, said: “As leading providers of cancer information through our own CancerHelp pages, we’re now thrilled to announce that our Wikipedian in Residence will be finding new ways to build on the information that’s already available to the public through Wikipedia. As well as forging new partnerships to help make information on cancer a resource that is accessible to all.

“Wikipedia is often one of cancer patients’ first ports of call for information about their disease and the latest research taking place. Which means it’s more important than ever that they have access to the best and most up to date information that’s out there.”


For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.