NewsQ KNoW

Month-long Malayalam Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon Generates Hundreds of New Articles, Improves Vaccine Safety Online

During the month-long edit-a-thon, 13 Wikimedians wrote 867 articles about vaccines.

Malayalam Wikipedians were awarded prizes after participating in a Malayalam-language Wikipedia event held in May 2021. During the month-long edit-a-thon, the 13 Wikimedians wrote 867 articles that helped expand Wikipedia’s vaccine-related content and provide better, more accurate online health-related information in the Malayalam language.

For the month-long edit-a-thon, participants were mostly experienced editors of Malayalam-language Wikipedia, including Wikipedia editors interested in healthcare-related articles, and medical doctors who speak Malayalam.

Malayalam Wikipedia edit-a-thon

“The Malayalam Wikimedia community is very active, and they have a long history of organizing successful edit-a-thons,” says Netha Hussain, a medical doctor and researcher. Hussain has been a Wikipedia editor for over a decade, and mostly writes articles related to medicine and healthcare. She has worked as a grantee with WikiCred for mapping and bridging the knowledge gaps related to vaccine safety on Wikipedia.

“The community also usually takes part in international events focusing on specific themes. Therefore, a vaccine-themed edit-a-thon was well-received by the community, particularly by the experienced editors,” says Hussain.

Training was provided in both Malayalam and English — so no experience was necessary to join the event. About 40 people participated in the edit-a-thon throughout May. Some participants created articles, but did not participate in the contest, while others edited English Wikipedia. Other participants were just curious to learn how to edit on Wikipedia.

Infoclinic, an organization of medical doctors who write articles in Malayalam in order to counter healthcare related misinformation, supported the edit-a-thon by updating the licensing of their vaccine related content to CC-BY-SA. This meant that Infoclinic’s vaccine-related content could be added to the new Malayalam-language Wikipedia articles being created during the edit-a-thon. 

The Center for Internet and Society (CIS), the organization that supports Indian Wikimedia community, was an event partner. Tito Dutta, an experienced Wikimedian and staff member at the CIS helped design the edit-a-thon and provided expert advice about the Indian Wikimedia community. The CIS was also involved in outreach for the edit-a-thon.

The Malayalam edit-a-thon is part of a regular series aimed at increasing the number of accurate articles about vaccine safety in various languages on Wikipedia. For each edit-a-thon, until the series concludes in October 2021, KNoW Science will partner with different Wikipedia country chapters as well as vaccine safety experts to host multi-lingual events.

This year, KNoW Science Vaccine Safety kick-off event took place on April 2, 2021. The edit-a-thon was hosted by KNoW Science, Wikimedia DC and Wikimedia Mexico. During the event we created 22 articles and edited 50 articles in both Spanish and English. This content has already been viewed 1.26 million times!

Partners in the edit-a-thon include NewsQ’s KNoW Science initiative, Wikimedia DC  and Centre for Internet and Society

The winners of the Malayalam Wikipedia edit-a-thon were (by Wikipedia username):

First prize: Vinayaraj

Second prize: Meenakshi nandhini

Third prize: Ajeeshkumar4u 

Honorable mention: Malikaveedu.

Other participants received thanks and appreciation for helping improve vaccine safety online in the Malayalam language.

About KNoW Science Vaccine Safety 2021

Since the pandemic began, the NewsQ team has been brainstorming ways to leverage our role as a bridge between researchers, technologists, journalism organizations, and science and health experts to improve the quality of vaccine safety information online.

So, in 2020, NewsQ launched the KNoW Science initiative as a way to focus our efforts on the question of online information quality related to health and science. As part of this initiative we partnered with the WHO’s Vaccine Safety Net (VSN), Wikimedia DC and the Stanford History Education Group to host a kick-off vaccine safety Wikipedia edit-a-thon in August aimed at filling vaccine information gaps on Wikipedia as well as improving existing vaccine safety information.

Another Spanish-language edit-a-thon, this time in collaboration with Wikimedia Mexico, launched on June 8, 2021.