Wikipedia:Plain and simple guide for medical editors

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This is a one-page guide for editing medical content on Wikipedia. Medical content is extremely important. We need your help to make it better.


Why edit?[edit]

The mission[edit]

  • We have a radical goal: Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s Wikipedia’s mission statement, and it’s a radical mission. Most radical of all is that, it’s working.
  • In 10 short years Wikipedia has become a force of its own, with an importance that has only grown with its size. Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia in the history of mankind. 8 billion words among 21 million articles. And not just in English.
  • There are 285 separate editions of Wikipedia as many languages. For some, Wikipedia is the only encyclopedia that has ever existed in that language.
  • English Wikipedia has 3.9 million articles and 26 million total pages and is 50 times larger than Microsoft Encarta’s 2002 Deluxe edition.
  • There have been over 500 million edits to the site and every day another 250,000 or so are added. 800,000 uploaded files not including the 13 million hosted at Wikipedia’s sister site Wikimedia commons. There are 16 million registered users, interestingly, of whom only 150,000 have been active in the last 30 days. That virtual horde is overseen by a mere 1500 administrators. The community basically runs itself.
  • Not only is Wikipedia massive and influential, it has become trusted. A 2005 study in the prestigious journal Nature found that Wikipedia came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopædia Britannica, which is written by the world’s foremost experts in their subjects.
  • Other studies compared Wikipedia to professional and peer reviewed sources and found Wikipedia’s depth and coverage were of a high standard. That includes articles on medicine, science, math, and history, in addition to the popular culture and trivia which we are known for.

The importance of medicine[edit]

  • Wikipedia has substantial coverage of the majority of medical topics.[1][2]
  • Our medical articles are highly trafficked: over 25,000 medicine articles receive almost 200 million views per month.[3] and nearly 8,000 pharmacology articles receive over 40 million views per month[4]
  • Research supports Wikipedia's increasingly influential role as the dominant online reference in delivering medical information to the lay public--as well as being a frequently consulted resource for medical professionals and medical students.[5][6][7][8]

Introduction to Wikipedia[edit]


The Wikipedia community has been built on certain principles, summarized in the Five pillars and similar pages. Here's how these principles relate to conflicts of interest:

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia.
As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is designed for reference, not promotion. Advertising and marketing are not appropriate here.
Wikipedia has a neutral point of view.
Our policies and customs have developed to handle all articles in a neutral manner.
Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit and distribute.
By making an edit to Wikipedia, editors are giving permission for their writing to be modified, used and redistributed at will. All text submitted must be available under terms that are consistent with our terms of use. Copying and pasting from a website or elsewhere can not only introduce non-neutral content, but would also be a copyright violation.
All Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner.
Editors who are here for professional reasons may become frustrated when they find that Wikipedia is not the medium they thought it would be. Cooperation, patience and courtesy are expected here.
Wikipedia does not have firm rules (the spirit of the rule trumps the letter of the rule).
Following the rules to the letter does not guarantee that your contribution will be kept. The Wikipedia community holds common sense as its fundamental principle, and contributors who technically follow the rules but miss the spirit of the policy or are confrontational will not be successful.

Writing high-quality articles[edit]

  • Neutral point of view: Write from a neutral point of view. Make a fair representation of the world as reliable sources describe it. All articles should be balanced to convey an impression of the various points of view on a subject. Some views may get more attention than others, depending on the attention they receive in reliable sources. Wikipedia has no "opinion" of its own; it just accurately summarizes reliable sources.
  • Verifiability: Articles should contain only material that has been published by reliable sources. These are sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy, like newspapers, academic journals, and books. Even if something is true our standards require it be published in a reliable source before it can be included. Editors should cite reliable sources for any material that is controversial or challenged, otherwise it may be removed by any editor. The obligation to provide a reliable source is on whoever wants to include material.
  • No original research: Articles may not contain previously unpublished arguments, concepts, data, or theories, nor any new analysis or synthesis of them if it advances a position. In other words, you can't make a point that hasn't already been directly made somewhere else in a reliable source. You can summarize, but it has to be based in the sources.
  • Be bold in updating pages! Go ahead, it's a wiki! No mistake can break Wikipedia, because any edit can be undone. Encourage others, including those who disagree with you, to likewise be bold! If you find yourself disagreeing with someone's boldness or they with yours, discuss it on the talk page.

Getting along with other editors[edit]

  • Be civil to other users at all times. If you have a criticism, comment about content and specific edits. Don't make negative remarks about other editors as people. Be constructive and be respectful.
  • Assume good faith: Try to consider the person on the other end of the discussion as a thinking, rational being who is trying to positively contribute to Wikipedia. Even if you're convinced that they're an [insert insult of your choice], still pretend that they're acting in good faith. Ninety percent of the time you'll find that they actually are acting in good faith (and the other ten percent of the time a negative attitude won't help anyway). Be gracious. Be liberal in what you accept, be conservative in what you do. Try to accommodate other people's quirks as best you can, while trying to be as polite and straightforward as possible.
  • Discuss contentious changes on the talk page: Mutual respect is the guiding behavioral principle of Wikipedia. Although everyone knows that their contributions may be edited by others, it is easier to accept changes when you understand the reasons for them. Discussing changes on the article's talk page before you make them can help reach consensus even faster, especially on controversial subjects. We have all the time in the world, so always make an effort to explain changes to other editors, and feel free to ask them to do the same.
  • Undo others' edits with care: Undoing someone's work is a powerful tool, hence the three-revert rule that an editor should never undo the same content more than three times in twenty-four hours (ideally, even less). Try not to revert changes which are not obvious vandalism. If you really can't stand something, revert once, with an edit summary like "I disagree, I'll explain why on Talk", and immediately take it to the accompanying talk page to discuss. If someone reverts your edits, do not just add them back without attempting discussion.
  • Try to understand why your article or edit was deleted: Many topics do not meet our inclusion guidelines. Some of the same bad article ideas show up and get deleted frequently in articles for deletion and speedy deletion discussions. New editors may benefit from the Articles for creation helper. Other contributions are often just not neutral or just not well-sourced. In general, finding better, more reliable sources and summarizing them neutrally is almost always the best response.
  • Resolve disputes: Disagreements happen but they need not be ugly. Find out what others think about an issue and try to address it. If you still disagree, seek input from other editors informally, or through a third opinion, mediation, or an open request for comment.

Working efficiently together[edit]

  • Use clear edit summaries: Straightforward, simple explanations are greatly appreciated. Other editors need to understand your thinking, and edit summaries also help you understand what you did after a leave of absence or a complex series of changes. Please state what you changed and why. If the explanation is too long, use the Talk page to add details. Since anyone can edit articles, even without registering, there are a lot of changes to watch; good edit summaries simplify things for everyone.
  • Sign your posts: Sign on talk pages (using ~~~~, which gets replaced by your username and timestamp when you hit "save page"), but don't sign in mainspace articles.
  • Preview your changes: Repeatedly saving small edits clutters the page's history, which makes it difficult for some editors to follow along with changes. Several small changes without edit summaries is even harder to follow. Use the show preview button rather than saving many times.
  • Use noticeboards to get input: On Wikipedia certain types of issues come up very frequently and have their own noticeboard where experienced editors gather to discuss those topics. If you need input, use them. WP:NPOVN is for neutrality issues, WP:RSN is for reliable sources, WP:ANI is for specific issues needing administrator input; others are listed at the noticeboard page and at the bottom of this page as well.
  • Join the community: Find out what's going on in the community. The Community Portal is a good starting place, where you can find ongoing community discussions, the weekly Wikipedia newspaper, and plenty of tasks that need work. There are also mailing lists which feature project and organization-wide discussions, and internet relay chat for a variety of topics. WikiProjects are places editors gather to work on specific areas of the encyclopedia; they're also good places to ask for input. New ideas are often put forth at the Village pump, and hot-topics at Jimbo's talk page.
  • Ask for help: The Wikipedia community has a wealth of knowledge and you are almost surely not the first person to have a particular question, concern, idea or disagreement. You can ask anyone for help anytime by placing {{help me}} on any talk page along with an explanation of your problem. Great places for assistance are the new contributor's help page, the Help Desk, and live help chat. Also, WP:Questions and WP:FAQ for the most common areas and queries.

Reliable medical sources[edit]

It is vital that the biomedical information in all types of articles be based on reliable, third-party, published sources and accurately reflect current medical knowledge.

Ideal sources for such content includes general or systematic reviews published in reputable medical journals, academic and professional books written by experts in the relevant field and from a respected publisher, and medical guidelines or position statements from nationally or internationally recognized expert bodies.


  • A primary source in medicine is one in which the authors directly participated in the research or documented their personal experiences. They examined the patients, injected the rats, filled the test tubes, or at least supervised those who did. Many, but not all, papers published in medical journals are primary sources for facts about the research and discoveries made.
  • A secondary source in medicine summarizes one or more primary or secondary sources, usually to provide an overview of the current understanding of a medical topic, to make recommendations, or to combine the results of several studies. Examples include literature reviews or systematic reviews found in medical journals, specialist academic or professional books, and medical guidelines or position statements published by major health organizations.
  • A tertiary source usually summarizes a range of secondary sources. Undergraduate textbooks, lay scientific books, and encyclopedias are examples of tertiary sources.

All Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources.

  • Reliable primary sources may occasionally be used with care as an adjunct to the secondary literature, but there remains potential for misuse. For that reason, edits that rely on primary sources should only describe the conclusions of the source, and should describe these findings clearly so the edit can be checked by editors with no specialist knowledge. In particular, this description should follow closely to the interpretation of the data given by the authors or by other reliable secondary sources.
  • Primary sources should not be cited in support of a conclusion that is not clearly made by the authors or by reliable secondary sources, as defined above. When citing primary sources, particular care must be taken to adhere to Wikipedia's undue weight policy. Secondary sources should be used to determine due weight.

Respect secondary sources[edit]

  • The use and presentation of primary sources should respect Wikipedia's policies on undue weight; that is, primary sources favoring a minority opinion should not be aggregated or presented devoid of context in such a way as to undermine proportionate representation of expert opinion in a field.
  • Individual primary sources should not be cited or juxtaposed so as to "debunk" or contradict the conclusions of reliable secondary sources. Synthesis of published material that advances a position is a form of original research and should be avoided in Wikipedia articles, which are not a venue for open research. Controversies or areas of uncertainty in medicine should be illustrated with reliable secondary sources describing the varying viewpoints.

Summarize scientific consensus[edit]

  • Scientific journals are the best place to find primary source articles about experiments, including medical studies. Every rigorous scientific journal is peer reviewed. Be careful of material published in a journal that lacks peer review or that reports material in a different field. (See: Martin Rimm) Be careful of material published in disreputable journals or disreputable fields. (See Sokal affair).
  • However, the fact that a claim is published in a refereed journal need not make it true. Even a well-designed randomized experiment can (with low probability) produce spurious results. Experiments and studies can produce flawed results or fall victim to deliberate fraud.
  • Finally, make readers aware of controversies that are stated in reliable sources. A well-referenced article will point to specific journal articles or specific theories proposed by specific researchers.

Assess evidence quality[edit]

To identify sources that will be accepted as evidence-based medicine, in general, editors should rely upon high-quality research, such as systematic reviews, rather than lower-quality evidence, such as case reports, or non-evidence, such as anecdotes or conventional wisdom. The medical guidelines or position statements produced by nationally or internationally recognised expert bodies often contain an assessment of the evidence as part of the report.

The best evidence comes primarily from meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Narrative reviews can help establish the context of evidence quality. Roughly in descending order of quality, lower-quality evidence in medical research comes from individual RCTs; other controlled studies; quasi-experimental studies; non-experimental, observational studies, such as cohort studies and case control studies, followed by cross-sectional studies (surveys), and other correlation studies such as ecological studies; and non-evidence-based expert opinion or clinical experience. Case reports, whether in the popular press or a peer reviewed medical journal, are a form of anecdote and generally fall below the minimum requirements of reliable medical sources.

Speculative proposals and early-stage research should not be cited in ways that suggest wide acceptance. For example, the results of an early-stage clinical trial are unlikely to be appropriate for inclusion in the Treatment section of an article about a disease because a possible future treatment has little bearing on current treatment practice. However, the results might—in some cases—be appropriate for inclusion in an article dedicated to the treatment in question or to the researchers or businesses involved in it. Such information, particularly if citing a secondary source, might also be appropriate for a well-documented section on research directions in an article about a disease. To prevent misunderstandings, the text should clearly identify the level of research cited (e.g., "first-in-human safety testing").

Assessing evidence quality" means that editors should determine the quality of the type of study. Editors should not perform a detailed academic peer review. Do not reject a high-quality type of study due to personal objections to the study's inclusion criteria, references, funding sources, or conclusions.

Avoid over-emphasizing single studies, particularly in vitro or animal studies[edit]

In vitro studies and animal models serve a central role in biomedical research, and are invaluable in elucidating mechanistic pathways and generating hypotheses. However, in vitro and animal-model findings do not translate consistently into clinical effects in human beings. Where in vitro and animal-model data are cited on Wikipedia, it should be clear to the reader that the data are pre-clinical, and the article text should avoid stating or implying that the reported findings necessarily hold true in humans. The level of support for a hypothesis should be evident to the reader.

Use of small-scale, single studies make for weak evidence, and allow for easy cherry picking of data. Results of studies cited or mentioned in Wikipedia should be put in sufficient context that readers can determine their reliability.

Use up-to-date evidence[edit]

  • Look for reviews published in the last five years or so, preferably in the last two or three years. The range of reviews you examine should be wide enough to catch at least one full review cycle, containing newer reviews written and published in the light of older ones and of more-recent primary studies.
  • Within this range, assessing them may be difficult. While the most-recent reviews include later research results, do not automatically give more weight to the review that happens to have been published most recently, as this is recentism.
  • Prefer recent reviews to older primary sources on the same topic. If recent reviews do not mention an older primary source, the older source is dubious. Conversely, an older primary source that is seminal, replicated, and often-cited in reviews can be mentioned in the main text in a context established by reviews. For example, the article genetics might mention Darwin's 1859 book On the Origin of Species as part of a discussion supported by recent reviews.
  • History sections often cite older work for obvious reasons.
  • Cochrane Library reviews are generally of high-quality and are routinely maintained even if their initial publication dates fall outside the above window.
  • In less actively researched areas, this guidance may be relaxed, for areas where little progress is being made or few reviews are being published.

Use independent sources[edit]

Many medical claims lack reliable research about the efficacy and safety of proposed treatments or about the legitimacy of statements made by proponents. In such cases, reliable sources may be difficult to find while unreliable sources are readily available. Whenever writing about medical claims not supported by mainstream research, it is vital that third-party, independent sources be used. Sources written and reviewed by the advocates of such marginal ideas can be used to describe personal opinions, but extreme care should be taken when using such sources lest the more controversial aspects of their opinions be taken at face value or, worse, asserted as fact. If the independent sources discussing a medical subject are of low quality, then it is likely that the subject itself is not notable enough to have its own article or relevant enough to be mentioned in other articles.

Choosing sources[edit]

A Wikipedia article should cite the best and most reliable sources regardless of whether they require a fee or a subscription. When all else is equal, it is better to cite a source with a full text is freely readable so that readers can follow the link to the source. Some high-quality journals publish a few freely readable articles even though most are not free. A few high-quality journals publish only freely readable sources. Also, a few sources are in the public domain; these include many U.S. government publications.

When searching for biomedical sources, it is wise to skim-read everything available, including abstracts of papers that are not freely readable, and use that to get a feel for what reliable sources are saying. However, when it comes to actually writing a Wikipedia article, it is generally not advisable to cite a source after reading only its abstract, as the abstract necessarily presents a stripped-down version of the conclusions and omits the background that can be crucial for understanding exactly what the source says. To access the full text, the editor may need to visit a medical library or ask someone at the WikiProject Resource Exchange or WikiProject Medicine's talk page to either provide an electronic copy or read the source and summarize what it says; if neither is possible, the editor may need to settle for using a lower-impact source or even just an abstract.

Biomedical journals[edit]

In medicine, primary sources include clinical trials, which test new treatments; secondary sources include meta-analyses, which combine the results of many clinical trials in an attempt to arrive at an overall view of how well a treatment works. It is usually best to use reviews and meta-analyses where possible, as these give a balanced and general perspective of a topic.

Peer reviewed medical journals are a natural choice as a source for up-to-date medical information in Wikipedia articles. They contain a mixture of primary and secondary sources as well as less technical material such as biographies. Although almost all such material will count as a reliable source for at least some purposes, not all the material is equally useful, and some, such as a letter from a non-expert, should be avoided.

Research papers that describe original experiments are primary sources; however, they normally contain previous-work sections that are secondary sources (these sections are often incomplete and typically less useful or reliable than reviews or other sources, such as textbooks, which are intended to be reasonably comprehensive). A general narrative review of a subject by an expert in the field can make a good secondary source covering various aspects of a subject within a Wikipedia article. Such reviews typically do not contain primary research, but can make interpretations and draw conclusions from primary sources that no Wikipedia editor would be allowed to do.

A systematic review uses a reproducible methodology to select primary (or sometimes secondary) studies meeting explicit criteria to address a specific question. Such reviews should be more reliable and accurate and less prone to bias than a narrative review.[9] However, whereas a narrative review may give a panorama of current knowledge on a particular topic, a systematic review tends to have a narrower focus.

Some journals publish third-party summaries of reviews and guidelines published elsewhere. If an editor has access to both the original source and the summary, and finds both helpful, it is good practice to cite both sources together. Others publish historical material that can be valuable for History sections, but is rarely useful for current medicine. Still others publish speculative proposals that are not reliable sources for biomedical topics.


Medical textbooks published by academic publishers are often excellent secondary sources. If a textbook is intended for students, it may not be as thorough as a monograph or chapter in a textbook intended for professionals or postgraduates. Ensure that the book is up to date, unless a historical perspective is required. Major academic publishers publish specialized medical book series with good editorial oversight; volumes in these series summarize the latest research in narrow areas, usually in a more extensive format than journal reviews. Specialized biomedical encyclopaedias published by these established publishers are often of good quality, but as a tertiary source, the information may be too terse for detailed articles.

Additionally, popular science and medicine books are useful sources, which may be primary, secondary, or tertiary, but there are exceptions. Most self-published books or books published by vanity presses undergo no independent fact-checking or peer review and, consequently, are not reliable sources. Books published by university presses or the National Academy of Sciences, on the other hand, tend to be well-researched and useful for most purposes.

Medical and scientific organizations[edit]

Statements and information from reputable major medical and scientific bodies may be valuable encyclopedic sources. These bodies include the U.S. National Academies (including the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences), the British National Health Service, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. The reliability of these sources range from formal scientific reports, which can be the equal of the best reviews published in medical journals, through public guides and service announcements, which have the advantage of being freely readable, but are generally less authoritative than the underlying medical literature.

Popular press[edit]

The popular press is generally not a reliable source for scientific and medical information in articles. Most medical news articles fail to discuss important issues such as evidence quality, and news articles too often convey wrong or misleading information about health care. Articles in newspapers and popular magazines generally lack the context to judge experimental results. They tend to overemphasize the certainty of any result, for instance, presenting a new and experimental treatment as "the cure" for a disease or an every-day substance as "the cause" of a disease. Newspapers and magazines may also publish articles about scientific results before those results have been published in a peer reviewed journal or reproduced by other experimenters. Such articles may be based uncritically on a press release, which can be a biased source even when issued by an academic medical center. News articles also tend neither to report adequately on the scientific methodology and the experimental error, nor to express risk in meaningful terms. For Wikipedia's purposes, articles in the popular press are generally considered independent, primary sources.

A news article should therefore not be used as a sole source for a medical fact or figure. Editors are encouraged to seek out the scholarly research behind the news story. One possibility is to cite a higher-quality source along with a more-accessible popular source.

Conversely, the high-quality popular press can be a good source for social, biographical, current-affairs, and historical information in a medical article. For example, popular science magazines are not peer reviewed, but sometimes feature articles that explain medical subjects in plain English. As the quality of press coverage of medicine ranges from excellent to irresponsible, use common sense, and see how well the source fits the verifiability policy and general reliable sources guidelines.

Other sources[edit]

Press releases, blogs, newsletters, advocacy and self-help publications, and other sources contain a wide range of biomedical information ranging from factual to fraudulent, with a high percentage being of low quality. Conference abstracts present incomplete and unpublished data and undergo varying levels of review; they are often unreviewed self-published sources and these initial conclusions may have changed dramatically if and when the data are finally ready for publication. Consequently, they are usually poor sources and should always be used with caution, never used to support surprising claims, and carefully identified in the text as preliminary work. Peer reviewed medical information resources such as WebMD, UpToDate, Mayo Clinic, and eMedicine are usually acceptable sources in themselves, and can be useful guides about the relevant medical literature and how much weight to give different sources; however, as much as possible Wikipedia articles should cite the more established literature directly.

Searching for sources[edit]

Search engines are commonly used to find biomedical sources. Each engine has quirks, advantages, and disadvantages, and may not return the results that the editor needs unless used carefully. It typically takes experience and practice to recognize when a search has not been effective; even if an editor finds useful sources, they may have missed other sources that would have been more useful or they may generate pages and pages of less-than-useful material. A good strategy for avoiding sole reliance on search engines is to find a few recent high-quality sources and follow their citations to see what the search engine missed. It can also be helpful to perform a plain web search rather than one of scholarly articles only.

PubMed is an excellent starting point for locating peer reviewed medical sources. It offers a free search engine for accessing the MEDLINE database of biomedical research articles offered by the National Library of Medicine at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. There are basic and advanced options for searching PubMed. For example, clicking on the "Review" tab will help narrow the search to review articles. The "Limits" tab can further limit the search, for example, to meta-analyses, to freely readable sources, and/or "core clinical journals". Although PubMed is a comprehensive database, many of its indexed journals restrict online access. Another website, PubMed Central, provides free access to full texts. While it is often not the official published version, it is a peer reviewed manuscript that is substantially the same, but lacks minor copy-editing by the publisher.

When looking at an individual abstract on the PubMed website, an editor can click on "Publication Types, MeSH Terms" at the bottom of the page to see how PubMed has classified a document. For example, a page that is tagged as "Comment" or "Letter" is a non-peer reviewed letter to the editor. The classification scheme includes about 70 types of documents.[1] For medical information, the most useful types of articles are typically labeled "Guideline", "Meta-analysis", "Practice guideline", or "Review".

How to cite sources[edit]

Medical articles should be relatively dense with inline citations, using either <ref> tags (footnotes) or parenthetical citations. It is not acceptable to write substantial amounts of prose and then add your medical textbook to the References section as a non-specific or general reference. It is too easy for a later editor to change the body text and then nobody is sure which statements are backed up by which sources. Unlike many established scientific disciplines, medicine attracts controversy and opponents on even the most basic and commonly held facts.

There is no standard for formatting citations on Wikipedia, but the format should be consistent within any one article. The easiest way to cite an article is to use the [Cite] button on the Editing Toolbar. This will present a drop-down list of Templates, from which you can select the best match. To easily reference a journal article, simply paste in the PubMed Index # and click the Looking Glass to populate the other fields automatically. Then click [Insert]. Citations are placed at the end of the sentence (or sometimes paragraph) which they are supporting, always after punctuation like commas and periods.

See also[edit]

How to edit medical content[edit]

For those who are familiar with editing other Wikipedia content, editing medical articles is a little different. This difference is primarily the need for greater diligence in the use of secondary sources.

For contributors with a biomedical background who have not edited Wikipedia before, the ground rules here are slightly different from writing peer-reviewed literature or textbooks.[10] Wikipedia is an encyclopedia of notable topics written for a general audience. It is neither a research paper nor a how-to manual. On Wikipedia, edits are considered valuable when they reflect a neutral point of view (NPOV) and can be verified by references to reliable medical sources.

Wikipedia's conflict of interest guidelines for medical articles are slightly different from those used elsewhere. It's worth noting that medical articles can be particularly susceptible to certain common pitfalls such as advocacy, advertising, plagiarism, and copyright violation.

Steps for editing[edit]

To open a Wikipedia article for editing, just click on the Edit tab at the head of the page.
Example of an edit window containing wikimarkup code, the editing language of Wikipedia.

To insert a journal reference, click on the Citetab and then select Cite journal from the dropdown template menu. This will bring up a pop-up window.

The pop-up journal citation window.

Simply copy the PMID of the paper you wish to reference (in PubMed, the PMID is displayed after the abstract, and it also forms part of the URL). Then paste it into the PMID box of the pop-up window.

If you click the "search" icon alongside the PMID box, the rest of the form should be filled automatically.

Finally click the Insert button to place the reference in the text.

Here is a simple step-by-step overview, assuming you've already chosen a page you'd like to edit:

  1. You may like to register an account and choose a username, which can be as anonymous as you like. Alternatively, many pages can be edited as an IP address (in this case your edits will be publicly linked to your computer's IP address but not to any particular persona).
  2. Choose a good reference – ideally a recent review article or major textbook.
  3. Hit the Edit button for the corresponding section you wish to add or change. The page will turn into code, called wikimarkup. See Wikipedia:Cheatsheet for a quick guide to wikimarkup.
  4. Summarize (or paraphrase) the content in question. Not sure how? Try consulting our style manual here.
  5. Cite the reference
    • Find the PMID / DOI of the article. Or, in the case of a book, the ISBN and the page number(s).
    • Enter the citation using the method you find easiest (each is used by experienced editors, based on personal preference):
      • a) By entering the PMID into the Diberri template filler, which will generate a cite journal template in the format used in most medical articles.
      • b) By using the toolbar –
        • Click the Cite tab in the top of the edit box. In the dropdown Templates menu, select Cite journal or Cite book, as appropriate.
        • Type in the PMID, DOI or ISBN with the page number/s, and the cite tool will automatically process the details once you hit the magnifying glass icon.
      • c) By using the PMID template (see below).
      • d) By using manual citation (see below).
  6. To see what your edit is going to look like live, click the Show preview button.
  7. When you're happy with your edits, hit Save page.
  8. Welcome! If this was your first edit, you are now a Wikipedian...

Citation using the PMID template[edit]

Another way of adding a reference from PubMed is to use the {{Cite pmid}} template:

{{Cite pmid|PMID of your source}}

If another Wikipedia article already uses that reference (via the Cite pmid template), it will automatically use the existing information to present the full citation details of the reference in the article. Unfortunately, this method is known to return errors if a previous editor manually filled in the template incorrectly. If not, a bot will retrieve the information from PubMed and create the citation for you, usually within a few minutes. For example, if the PMID of the paper you are wishing to reference is "12122621", then enter the following:

<ref>{{Cite journal| pmid = 12122621| year = 2002| last1 = Ozturan | first1 = O.| last2 = Miman | first2 = M. C.| last3 = Yiğit | first3 = B.| last4 = Cokkeser | first4 = Y.| last5 = Kizilay | first5 = A.| last6 = Aktaş | first6 = D.| title = Approaches to twisted noses and results of treatment| volume = 9| issue = 1| pages = 21–29| journal = Kulak burun bogaz ihtisas dergisi : KBB = Journal of ear, nose, and throat| displayauthors={{{displayauthors|}}}| display-authors={{{displayeditors|}}}| authorformat={{{authorformat|}}}| author-separator={{{author-separator|}}}| author-name-separator={{{author-name-separator|}}}}}</ref>

The reference will appear like this: [11] Notice that the cited paper is now listed automatically under the References section.

It's helpful to add a name tag, especially if you want to cite the reference more than once. There is a box to enter a name tag on the bottom left of the journal citation pop-up window (ref name), or the tag can be entered manually. To do this, type in name= followed by the family name of the first author of the work and the year of publication:

<ref name=Ozturan2002>{{Cite journal| pmid = 12122621| year = 2002| last1 = Ozturan | first1 = O.| last2 = Miman | first2 = M. C.| last3 = Yiğit | first3 = B.| last4 = Cokkeser | first4 = Y.| last5 = Kizilay | first5 = A.| last6 = Aktaş | first6 = D.| title = Approaches to twisted noses and results of treatment| volume = 9| issue = 1| pages = 21–29| journal = Kulak burun bogaz ihtisas dergisi : KBB = Journal of ear, nose, and throat| displayauthors={{{displayauthors|}}}| display-authors={{{displayeditors|}}}| authorformat={{{authorformat|}}}| author-separator={{{author-separator|}}}| author-name-separator={{{author-name-separator|}}}}}</ref>

Then, to refer to the same source elsewhere in the same article, simply enter this name tag as:

<ref name=Ozturan2002/>

A quick way of doing this is to click on the Named references icon in the Cite menu. Then just select "Ozturan2002" from the drop-down menu. The name tag will automatically appear in the text you're editing.

Manual citation[edit]

Alternatively, you could just type up the bibliographic citation by hand: if so you'll find a brief wikimarkup cheatsheet here, and the full manual here. Remember to wrap the citation with the <ref> </ref> parentheses (try clicking Cite your sources at the bottom right of the edit window).

<ref>Logan, D. W.; Sandal, M.; Gardner, P. P.; Manske, M.; Bateman, A. (2010). 
 "Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia". ''PLoS Computational Biology'' 
 '''6'''(9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941. PMC 2947980. PMID 20941386.</ref>

This approach will not magically provide clickable links from the provided DOI and PubMedCentral.

Talk pages[edit]

Every Wikipedia page has its own Talk page which can be accessed by clicking the Talk tab towards the top left of the screen. Talk pages provide a behind-the-scenes place for informal discussion about a topic. If you're new to an article, it can be a good idea to take a look at its Talk page to see what has already been discussed. Talk page discussions are an important part of building consensus. Consensus is Wikipedia's fundamental model for editorial decision-making. Content discussions on Wikipedia differ from discussions in some clinical settings in that arguments from authority (e.g. personal expert opinion) are not considered relevant. Rather, appropriate presentation of evidence from reliable medical sources is the primary consideration.

As a newcomer, you may prefer to avoid getting involved in any heated or boring disputes; if you find yourself in one, remember that civility is one of Wikipedia's core values. The WikiProject Medicine talk page – also known as the "doctors' mess" – is a friendly kind of place to hang out, where we generally try to keep things cheerful. You can join in at WT:MED.

  • To locate an 'internal' Wikipedia page, type "WP:" or "Wikipedia:" in the Search box followed by the name/shortcut of the page you're looking for (e.g. "WP:MED").
  • To find a user, type "User:" in the Search box followed by the user's name (e.g. "User:Doc James").
  • To locate a template, type "Template:" followed by its name (e.g. "Template:Cite web").
  • If you can't remember the exact name of what you need, the search box will make suggestions based on your input (you don't need to worry about using upper/lower case

Getting help[edit]

There is an extensive, searchable Help section at WP:HELP. For specific technical queries, live editing help via web chat (IRC) is available 24/7.

For queries about the content of medical articles, try posting a message on the WikiProject Medicine talk page (WT:MED). For instance, if you're thinking of starting a new article, it might be a good idea to discuss the idea first: experienced editors may be able to give useful advice to help you avoid common problems, and they'll be able to watchlist your creation to see if you need a helping hand. WT:MED could also be a good first port of call if you find yourself feeling at all bewildered by anything that's happening on an article Talk page.

For more general friendly discussion about matters related to Wikipedia, the Teahouse is a place where some experienced editors hang out to help new editors become acquainted with community culture, answer any questions, and facilitate community relationships.

Medical manual of style[edit]

Naming conventions[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Naming conventions

The article title should be the scientific or recognised medical name that is most commonly used in recent, high-quality, English-language medical sources, rather than a lay term (unscientific or slang name) Alternative names may be specified in the lead, and you can create redirects to the article to help those searching with alternative names.

The article title is subject to the same sourcing standards as the article content. Where there is a dispute over a name, editors should cite recognised authorities and organisations rather than conduct original research.[12]

For capitalisation, Wikipedia article titles use sentence case rather than title case (for example, "Diabetes mellitus" rather than "Diabetes Mellitus"). For punctuation, e.g., possessive apostrophes and hyphens, follow the use by high-quality sources.

Where there are lexical differences between the varieties of English, an international standard should be sought. Some examples of international standards include:

Titles requiring disambiguation[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Disambiguation

When one single term is used to describe two different topics, article titles must be disambiguated to resolve naming conflicts. To accomplish this, disambiguating words are used in parentheses after the article titles. When disambiguating a medicine- or anatomy-related article from an article about a totally different topic, the appropriate disambiguating words are "medicine" or "anatomy," respectively.

For example, "nail" may refer to several items, including a fingernail or a pin-shaped metal object used in construction. In this case, the appropriate article titles are Nail (anatomy) for the fingernail, and Nail (fastener) for the piece of hardware. Because neither of these articles can be considered a primary topic for the term, Nail is a disambiguation page that lists both articles.

When the medical or anatomical context is the primary use of the term, the article should not use a disambiguation word. For instance, the primary and most common use of the word "foot" is for the body part at the end of the leg. Thus, Foot is the appropriate title of the article; while Foot (length) is an article about the unit of measurement called foot. Use of "anatomy" is not appropriate.

In cases when a medical- or anatomy-related term is a secondary use for a more common usage, only the medical (or anatomical) article requires a disambiguation. Most commonly, "percussion" is used to describe an instrument that makes sound when struck, so Percussion links directly to the article about the instrument; the medical-usage of the term is located at Percussion (medicine).

When there are two or more distinct uses for the same term within medicine or anatomy, using the disambiguation word "medicine" or "anatomy" will not be sufficient for distinction between topics. In this situation, the general medical specialty (for medicine) or specific body part (for anatomy) should be used. For example, "foramen ovale" may refer to either the structure of the skull or the heart. Therefore, the appropriate article names are Foramen ovale (skull) and Foramen ovale (heart), respectively. Since neither anatomical structure is a primary topic for the term, Foramen ovale is a disambiguation page.

Writing for the right audience[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible, and Wikipedia:Explain jargon

Wikipedia is written for the general reader. It is an encyclopaedia, not a comprehensive medical or pharmaceutical resource, nor a first-aid (how-to) manual. Although healthcare professionals and patients may find much of interest, these two groups do not by themselves represent the target audience.

Signs of writing for healthcare professionals (avoid this)
  • You give technical advice, particularly for the steps in a thorough diagnostic workup.
  • You use jargon when there are suitable plain English words (for example, consider using "kidney" rather than "renal").
  • You are tempted to include mnemonic devices.
  • You remove mention of non-mainstream treatments or practices (sometimes you must write for the enemy).
  • You use the word "patients" or "cases" when describing those who have a medical condition (see below).
  • You overstate controllable risks in the hope that your patients will be more compliant with your directions.
  • You make sure that readers know that your process or product is patented.
  • You list every unusual manifestation ever reported, because it might help someone correctly diagnose an atypical case.
  • You use a writing style appropriate only for graduate-level courses, because that's what you see in peer-reviewed journal articles and professional reference works.
Signs of writing for patients (avoid this too)
  • You use the word "you" when describing those who have a medical condition.
  • You give practical advice, particularly for when medical help should be sought or is required.
  • You are tempted to lift text from a patient information leaflet or website.
  • You mention treatments or practices that you've read about in a newspaper or from personal experience.
  • You add "helpful" external links, such as forums, self-help groups and local charities.
  • You emphasize or de-emphasize verifiable facts so that readers will make the "right" choice in the real world.
  • You play down information that might discourage other patients (for example, that a disease is typically fatal), and give undue attention to individual success stories.
  • You use a writing style appropriate for 12 year olds, because the sixth grade reading level is recommended for patient information leaflets.
  • Sometimes, information is specific to one country: for example, drug licensing and health service provision. Maintain an international perspective, for example by seeking out English-language sources from other countries.
  • A guide for journalists on how to translate the writings of researchers into something more understandable to the general public is available on the University of Kansas website here [2] (PDF).
Writing in an encyclopedic style for a general audience (follow this)
  • Do not address the reader directly. Ensure that your writing does not appear to offer medical advice. However, a disclaimer to this effect is never required[13] since the general disclaimer can be accessed from any page on Wikipedia. Statements using the word should frequently provide inappropriate advice (e.g., "People with this symptom should seek medical care") instead of plain statements of facts.
  • Do not use a question-and-answer or FAQ format. Use declarative sentences to directly and concisely tell the reader facts.
  • Do not publish your own views about studies.
  • Do not provide a detailed analysis of an individual study unless the analysis itself is taken from a published reliable source. Wikipedia should concisely state facts about a subject. It should not discuss the underlying literature at any length. Generally speaking, the facts will be found in the conclusions or results section of a study, not in the detailed methodology. Articles that rely on secondary sources are less likely to fall into the trap of discussing the size of a single study, its methodology, its biases, and so forth. Thus, "washing hands after defecating reduces the incidence of diarrhea in the wilderness", not "An uncontrolled survey involving 132 experienced long-distance backpackers on the Appalachian trail in 1997 concluded that washing hands after defecating reduces the incidence of diarrhea in the wilderness."
  • Do not hype a study by listing the names, credentials, institutions, or other "qualifications" of their authors. The text of the article should not needlessly duplicate the names, dates, titles, and other information about the source that you list in the citation. Always omit professional titles and academic degrees: use "Smith" or "Jones" rather than "Dr Smith" or "Prof Jones". It is necessary to specifically include such information only when a specific individual is being cited as an example of a person holding a minority view: You might write, "The AIDS Denialist Society says that HIV is entirely harmless", but just use a plain statement for the widely accepted fact, "HIV causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome."
  • Most mnemonics and rules of thumb are non-notable constructs that exist primarily for the purpose of helping medical students pass tests. Consider providing the information that these contain, without necessarily providing the artificial and distracting structure of the memory aids.
  • Rely on wikilinks to help articles stay focused and to avoid placing undue weight on peripheral details. For example, when writing about a blood test, avoid including normal venipuncture procedures or the type of Vacutainer generally used. Instead, consider linking to normal procedures, and supplying any important and unique information in the article.
  • When mentioning technical terms (jargon) for the first time, provide a short plain-English explanation in parentheses if possible. If the concept is too elaborate for this, wikilink to other articles (or Wiktionary entries). For terms related to anatomical position, you can link to Anatomical terms of location, e.g. [[Anatomical terms of location|lateral]]. Alternatively, if the technical word is not used again in the article, it may be appropriate to use plain English and place the technical term within brackets. The etymology of a word can be interesting and can help the reader understand and remember it. Provide links only where they may help the readers and are reasonably focused on the topic.
  • Wikipedia is not a procedural manual. Avoid "how-to" instructions. For example, if writing about a specific surgery, avoid including lists of equipment that will be needed, or instructions and advice on how to hold, store, use or clean that medical equipment. Rather, guidelines and procedures should be described in a reader-neutral manner, such as using passive voice.
  • Wikipedia is not a collection of case studies, and excessive examples should be avoided. Collections of case studies may be transwikied to WikiBooks or Wikiversity.
  • Use the nonproprietary name when referring to a drug in medical articles. Wikilinked instances of the name may be followed by the proprietary name in parenthesis: "trastuzumab (Herceptin)".
Use careful language (follow this, too)

Medical usage of common terms often differs from that of the general public. This is particularly common with medical terms that are used in legal contexts, with related but significantly different meanings.

  • "Approved" and "indicated" mean different things, and should not be used interchangeably. Indications refer to common medical uses for a drug. Approval is a regulatory issue, which varies from country to country. Off-label refers to the use of a drug for a purpose other than which it was approved for.
  • The phrase "psychologically addictive" has so many conflicting definitions that it is essentially meaningless. Replace the term with something specific. If you want to convey that a drug does not cause tolerance, or that its withdrawal syndrome is not life-threatening, then state that.
  • Sometimes positive and negative medical test results can have, respectively, negative and positive implications for the patient. For example, a negative breast cancer-screening test is very positive for the woman being screened.
  • The term "drug abuse" is vague and carries negative connotations. In a medical context, it generally refers to recreational use that carries serious risk of physical harm or addiction. However, others use it to refer to any illegal drug use.
  • The term "significant" can refer to either statistical significance or clinical significance. Statistical significance means that the results are unlikely to be due to chance. Clinical significance means that the results are large enough to be noticed by the patient and will make a difference in the effect of the disease or condition on the patient. For example, a reduction of one ounce of body weight may be statistically significant in a large population, but has no clinical significance for the individual. Linking to statistical significance may be useful.
  • Avoid using the potentially ambiguous term doctor to refer specifically to physicians or surgeons. Avoid using doctor or physician in ways that incorrectly exclude other licensed healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physician assistants, and midwives.
  • Do not confuse patient-group prevalence figures with those for the whole population that have a certain condition. For example: "One third of XYZ patients" is not always the same as "One third of people with XYZ", since many people with XYZ may not be seeking medical care.
  • Correctly identify what your source discusses, without generalizing or interpreting it to related ideas. If the source talks about the effect of a single chemical purified from a plant (e.g., aspirin from white willow bark), do not misrepresent the work as referring to the plant from which it was derived. Similarly, if the source talks about effects in cultured cells or non-human animals, do not misrepresent the work as demonstrating anything about humans.
  • Choose appropriate words when describing medical conditions and their effects on people. The words "disease" and "disorder" are not always appropriate. Independently observed medical signs are not self-reported symptoms. Avoid saying that people "suffer" from or are "victims" of a chronic illness or symptom, which may imply helplessness: identifiers like "survivor", "affected person" or "individual with" are alternate wordings. Many patient groups, particularly those that have been stigmatised, prefer person-first terminology—arguing, for example, that seizures are epileptic, people are not. An example of person-first terminology would be "people with epilepsy" instead of "epileptics". In contrast, not all medical conditions are viewed as being entirely disadvantageous by those who have them. Some groups view their condition as part of their identity (for example, some deaf and autistic people) and reject this terminology. For more advice, see Guidelines for Non-Handicapping Language in APA Journals.
  • For a list of common words that scientists and lay people use very differently, with recommended alternatives, including error, uncertainty, theory and bias:
Richard C. J. Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol (October 2011). "Communicating the science of climate change". Physics Today: 48. doi:10.1063/PT.3.1296. ISSN 0031-9228.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)


See also: Wikipedia:Trivia sections.

Avoid lists of trivia by working these tidbits of information into the main body text. Sections on history or on popular culture may help to structure such factoids.

In addition, sections containing many references to various studies are preferably not simply titled "Research" without further specification, since the space below such a header tends to develop into a miscellaneous and unorganized dump of random studies that have any link to the subject, with over-emphasis on the names of the people who conducted the studies, their research institutions and so on. Unless the contents relate to principles or techniques in researching, and could fit into the main article Research, the titles of such sections are better specified with what the studies and their results are aimed at. That is likely also what the readers want to know about.

Coatracks and tangents[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Coatrack.

Even if a statement is true, verifiable, and important, it may not be relevant to the article you're writing. The existence of a "hook" is not a good reason to "hang" material in an given article.

For example, the article Chemotherapy should not be the home for information about cancer prevention, radiation therapy, or surgery, even if these subjects are mentioned in passing somewhere in the article. Articles about drugs, procedures, and devices may mention the company or people who developed them, but they should not include information that is not directly relevant to the main subject, such as material about their personal lives or unrelated products.

Copyright violations[edit]

Medicine-related articles must adhere strictly to Wikipedia's copyright policies. Whether something is copyrighted is not always apparent. For example, the official descriptions of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are copyrighted, as are most questionnaires used for medical screening purposes. Write in your own words whenever possible, and ask for help about the fair use of images and text when you need it.


Infoboxes should be used where appropriate. These include

Full instructions are available on the page for each infobox. A suitable picture for the infobox is encouraged. For drugs, the 2D structure in SVG format is preferred, but PNG is acceptable. The easiest way to populate the drugbox and protein templates is to use Diberri's template-filling web site. Search DrugBank for the drug and enter the ID[14] in this page, or search HUGO for the protein and enter the ID[15] in this page.


The following lists of suggested sections are intended to help structure a new article or when an existing article requires a substantial rewrite. Changing an established article simply to fit these guidelines might not be welcomed by other editors. The given order of sections is also encouraged but may be varied, particularly if that helps your article progressively develop concepts and avoid repetition. Do not discourage potential readers by placing a highly technical section near the start of your article.

An appropriate list of appendices follows at the end of articles for citations and other resources.

Diseases or disorders or syndromes[edit]

Clinical articles can achieve a level of consistency by limiting their top-level headers to those specified below. However, the spectrum of medical conditions is huge, including infectious and genetic diseases, chronic and acute illness, the life-threatening and the inconvenient. Some sections will necessarily be absent or may be better merged, especially if the article is not (yet) fully comprehensive.

A disease that is now only of historical significance may benefit from having its History section moved towards the top. Establishing the forms of the disease (Classification) can be an important first section. However, if such classification depends heavily on understanding the etiology, pathogenesis or symptoms, then that section may be better moved to later in the article. If a disease is incurable, then the Prognosis section can be moved up and a section called Management is more appropriate than Treatment.

The following list of suggested headings contains wikilinks; the actual headings should not.

  • Classification: If relevant. May also be placed as a subheading of diagnosis
  • Signs and symptoms or Characteristics
  • Causes: Includes Risk factors, triggers, Genetics or genome, Virology (e.g., structure/Morphology, replication).
  • Pathophysiology or Mechanism
  • Diagnosis: Includes characteristic biopsy findings and differential diagnosis.
  • Prevention or Screening (if the section only discusses secondary prevention it should follow the treatment section)
  • Treatment or Management: This might include any type of currently used treatment, such as diet, exercise, medication, palliative care, physical therapy, psychotherapy, self care, surgery, watchful waiting, and many other possibilities. Consider discussing treatments in a plausible order in which they might be tried, or discussing the most common treatments first. Avoid experimental/speculative treatments and preventive measures (e.g., prophylactic vaccines or infection-avoidance techniques). As per the policy of WP:NOTHOW, Wikipedia articles should not be written in a "how-to" style, but this does not prevent adding official guidelines of treatments or managements if these can be presented in an objective manner and with medically reliable sources.
  • Prognosis
  • Epidemiology: factors such as incidence, prevalence, age distribution, and influence of gender.
  • History: Early discoveries, historical figures, and outdated treatments (not patient history)
  • Society and culture: This might include stigma, economics, religious aspects, awareness, legal issues, notable cases
  • Research directions: Include only if addressed by significant sources. See Trivia, and avoid useless statements like "More research is needed". Wikipedia is not a directory of clinical trials or researchers.
  • Special populations, such as Geriatrics or Pregnancy or Pediatrics
  • Other animals

Drugs, medications and devices[edit]

The lead should highlight the name of the drug as per normal guidelines (in general, the International Nonproprietary Name). The BAN or USAN variant may also be mentioned, with the word in bold. The initial brand name(s) and manufacturer follows, in parentheses. Indicate the drug class and family and the main indications. The External links section is a magnet for online pharmacy spam and should be avoided if possible.

Try to avoid cloning drug formularies such as the BNF and online resources like RxList and Extract the pertinent information rather than just dumping low-level facts in a big list. For example, a long list of side effects is largely useless without some idea of which are common or serious. It can be illuminating to compare the drug with others in its class, or with older and newer drugs. Do not include dose, titration or pricing information except when they are extensively discussed by secondary sources, or necessary for the discussion in the article. Wikipedia is not an instruction manual or textbook and should not include instructions, advice (legal, medical or otherwise) or "how-to"s; see WP:NOT#HOWTO, and the Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer.

The following list of suggested headings contains wikilinks; the actual headings should not.

Surgeries and procedures[edit]

  • Indications
  • Contra-indications
  • Technique (avoid step-by-step instructions)
  • Risks/Complications
  • Recovery or Rehabilitation
  • History (e.g., when it was invented)
  • Society and culture (includes legal issues, if any)
  • Special populations
  • Other animals

Symptoms or signs[edit]

Most articles about medical signs and symptoms should follow the below recommended structure. Omit sections that your sources do not address and combine sections when this seems sensible. For example, the definition of some signs is amply covered by an explanation of the mechanism, so having a section dedicated to the definition would be redundant.

  • Definition (current definitions)
  • Differential diagnoses or Associated medical conditions
  • Pathophysiology or Mechanism
  • Diagnostic approach or Evaluation
  • Treatment or Management (for the symptom itself, if any: e.g., analgesics for pain)
  • Epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, risk factors)
  • History (of the science, not of the patient: e.g., "The oldest surviving description is in a medical text written by Avicenna.")
  • Society and culture (e.g., cachexia was a literary symbol for tuberculosis in the 19th century and for AIDS in the 1980s.)
  • Research (Is anything important being done?)
  • Other animals

Medical tests[edit]

Articles about diagnostic tests or other medical tests may follow this suggested order. Many articles will only need some of these sections. This might also be a useful model for certain procedures.

While a general description of procedures may have encyclopedic value, articles about tests and other medical procedures should not provide step-by-step directions, patient instructions, disclaimers or warnings. Wikipedia is not an instruction manual and does not give medical advice.

  • Types, if more than one kind or variant of the test or procedure exists
  • Indications, including contraindications
  • Mechanism, how the test or procedure works, if it's interesting
  • Preparation
  • Procedure
  • Interpretation of results, including accuracy and specificity of test results
  • Adverse effects
  • Legal issues, such as whether special counseling is mandated, if any
  • History of the test


  • Location and structure, including size, whether it's a paired structure, attachments/insertions/"parents", subclinical variation
  • Development for discussing developmental biology, i.e. embryological/fetal, associated with structure
  • Function
  • Clinical relevance for discussing diseases and other medical associations with the structure
  • Society and culture (may include Etymology)
  • Other animals (may include comparative anatomy for discussing non-human anatomy in articles that are predominantly human-based)
  • Additional images in a gallery format

Medical specialties[edit]

  • Scope including typical diseases/medical conditions; include any important sub-specialties
  • History development of field, including notable founders
  • Investigations investigations, diagnostics, and related techniques used in specialty
  • Treatments
  • Training may be subdivided by country if necessary
  • Ethical and medicolegal issues any ethical issues that are specific to this field

This list of sections deliberately does not include: lists of professional organizations, training programs, publications, and companies working in the field.

Standard appendices[edit]

After the content of the article, please organize citations and other resources in the following order:

  • See also: Avoid the See also section when possible; prefer wikilinks in the main article and navigation templates at the end.
  • Notes and References: Both WP:General references and WP:Inline citations belong here.
  • Further reading: The Further reading section lists books and other publications (not usually websites) that were not used as references and that editors recommend to readers. These may be historically important publications, significant textbooks, or popular science works.
  • External links: Avoid if possible; see additional advice below.

Notable cases[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons, Wikipedia:Trivia sections, and Lists of people.

Articles on medical conditions often include lists of notable individuals who have (or had) the disease. This may be manageable if the disease is rare. For common conditions, it can become a distraction from the main article and contain much unreferenced and dubious material. If you do include such a list, ensure your entry criteria are well defined so that future editors may know if their additions are welcome. One restriction that some editors favour is to include only those individuals who have lastingly affected the popular perception of a condition, such as through public awareness campaigns or enduring media coverage.

Unsourced additions, particularly for living persons, must be removed. Responsibility for justifying controversial claims rests firmly on the shoulders of the editor making the claim. Be very firm about high-quality references, particularly about details of personal lives. Entries in the list must be notable (a straightforward test of which is the presence, or realistic hope, of a Wikipedia article). Non-notable relatives of notable people should not be included. Questions may be directed to the noticeboard for biographies.

If the list is (or could be) long enough to support a separate article, then consider splitting it off. The format can be prose, such as Sociological and cultural aspects of Tourette syndrome#Notable individuals, or a list, such as List of people with epilepsy. Regardless, such articles must be well verified or they may quickly end up deleted. Wikipedia's Naming conventions generally discourage the use of words such as "notable" or "famous" in such list titles.


Etymologies are often helpful, particularly for anatomy. Features that are derived from other anatomical features (that still have shared terms in them) should refer the reader to the structure that provided the term, not to the original derivation. For example, the etymology section of Deltoid tuberosity should refer the reader to the deltoid muscle, not to the definition 'delta-shaped, triangular'. The etymology in Deltoid muscle, however, should identify the Greek origin of the term.

In articles that focus on anatomy, please include the Latin (or Latinized Greek) name of anatomical objects, as this is very helpful to interwiki users and for people working with older scientific publications.

Many articles about eponymous diseases and signs include the origin of the name under the history section.

External links[edit]

A link made in the infobox (such as to eMedicine) or in the list of references should not be repeated in this section. Disease-related organisations and government health departments sometimes produce web pages containing substantial information that would be of interest to readers wishing to further study the topic. Such links are chosen for the information content, not because the organisation is particularly worthy or helpful. All links must meet Wikipedia's external links guidelines, which in particular exclude discussion forums.

Please avoid links such as these:

  1. Links that merely duplicate information that is already included in the article or in another external link
  2. Links to web-based or email-based support groups for patients, professionals, or other affected people (even if run by a charitable organization)
  3. Links to local, state, or regional charities, hospitals, clinics, or programs, or to meetings or events in a single location
  4. Links to personal experiences or survivor stories
  5. Links that are recruiting for clinical trials, selling products, or raising money

If the disease is very rare, then a manageable set of charitable organisations may be of encyclopaedic interest. In these cases, please prefer links that provide information that is likely to be interesting to readers worldwide, such as a detailed article on the specific topic.

Normally, however, it is better to link to an external web page that lists such charities, rather than trying to provide such a list ourselves. The Open Directory Project contains many such links, for which the {{dmoz}} template is useful. For example:

There are a number of templates that help format external links for common medical web sites. Full instructions are available on their respective pages. The most common ones are integrated in {{Infobox Disease}}.

Navigation boxes[edit]

Suitable templates for navigation boxes can be found here:

Navigational boxes should follow a standardized style. Navboxes are constructed using the hlist class to delineate material into horizontal lists. For more information, see WP:HLIST. As when choosing article titles, drugs should be referred to by their International Nonproprietary Names, using piped links when required. More information about creating navigational templates can be found in the documentation of Template:Navbox.

Manually added footnotes may be used to indicate the regulatory status of a drug; for instance, one may wish to note that a drug is still in development, is only used in veterinary medicine, or has been withdrawn from the market. The recommended order of footnote symbols is: *, †, ‡, §. Working examples may be seen in several navboxes, including {{HIVpharm}} and {{QuinoloneAntiBiotics}}.


Diseases or disorders or syndromes

Diseases/disorders/syndromes should be categorized within Category:Diseases and disorders by their ICD-10 code(s). These articles should not also be categorized by medical specialty or body part if they are properly categorized in a subcategory of Category:Diseases and disorders. If applicable, diseases/disorders/syndromes may also be categorized within subcategories of Category:Genetic disorders.


Drugs should be categorized within Category:Drugs by target organ system based on ATC code. Drugs can also be categorized by mechanism of action in Category:Drugs by mechanism of action and by physical structure.

Symptoms or signs

Symptoms and signs should be categorized in subcategories of Category:Symptoms and Category:Medical signs, respectively. Symptom categorization should be based on ICD-10 code.

Medical tests

Articles about medical tests themselves should be categorized in subcategories of Category:Medical tests based on the type of sample tested (e.g. Category:Blood tests). Diagnostic imaging should be categorized into subcategories of Category:Medical imaging (e.g. Category:Radiography for x-ray based imaging). Articles about results of medical tests should be categorized by ICD-10 code in subcategories of Category:Abnormal clinical and laboratory findings (e.g. Hyperglycemia is located in Category:Abnormal clinical and laboratory findings for blood).


Articles about anatomy should be categorized within subcategories of Category:Organs and Category:Organ systems.

Medical specialties

Major specialties practiced within the field of medicine should each have their own Eponymous category within Category:Medical specialties. Articles for medical specialties should be a member of its eponymous category.


People with a medical condition should only be categorized within subcategories of Category:People by medical or psychological condition - not within any category for medical specialties, diseases or disorders categories. Where the categorization is at all contentious or doubtful, it should not be included. A source for the categorization must be provided within the article. See also the policy on living persons and guideline on categorizing people.


Stub articles should may additionally be categorized according to the list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Stub sorting.

Categorizing redirects[edit]

For more details see Wikipedia:Categorising redirects.

Please categorise redirects only if the redirect is for a significantly different alternative name, not minor variants on spelling, capitalisation, or punctuation. Categorising these redirects allows readers to find articles by browsing the categories, even if they only know one of the names for the condition.

Example: Acne aestivalis (article) and Mallorca acne (redirect) are two names for the same condition. Both the article and the redirect include Category:Acneiform eruptions.

Redirects that are categorised should be additionally tagged with {{R from alternative name}}, and the talk page may be tagged for the project with {{WPMED}}, with the class set to Redirect and the importance either left blank or set to NA.

Redirects to minor variations should not be categorised and should not be tagged with {{R from alternative name}}. Other {{R from}} templates may be appropriate on these redirects, such as {{R from alternative spelling}}, {{R from alternative capitalisation}}, {{R from alternative punctuation}}, or {{R from plural}}.


In addition to the usual standards of image selection outlined by the Wikipedia:Image use policy and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Images, which cover image quality and pertinence, several other considerations apply to articles about medical conditions:

  • Identifiable people: Although the Wikimedia Foundation does not require any special protection for people whose images are being used in medicine-related contexts, editors are encouraged to be especially cautious about associating living people with diseases. In general, if the person in the image could be easily identified by people who meet that person, then you should be confident that the person consents to the image being published before uploading the image. In choosing images of identifiable people with a medical condition, prefer images of people who are strongly associated with the condition (e.g., Terry Fox for osteosarcoma) or are engaged in a public activity associated with that disease (e.g., AIDS patients at an ACT UP event) when such images are available.
  • Technical images: Highly technical images, such as of stained pathology slides, are appropriate for many articles. However, they are often not the most accessible images for the introduction. Consider placing simpler images in the lead and placing more technical images in a specific, relevant section with captions in plain English.
  • Shock value: Some images of medical conditions or procedures disturb some readers, e.g., because of visible deformities or the presence of blood. Potentially disturbing images should be not be used for their shock value, for decoration, or merely to add an image. A detailed caption that identifies specific features may simultaneously increase the educational value of the image and reduce the likelihood of disturbing readers. Placement in a highly relevant section, rather than in the introduction, is also likely to reduce the shock value to readers. Wikipedia:Offensive material offers additional advice.
  • Sexual images: Many medicine-related articles include images of genitals or other body parts normally kept covered, and a significant fraction of articles are directly related to sexuality. In general, Wikipedia aspires to be a high-quality reference source, and thus follows the general patterns of other high-quality reference sources. Doing so also helps editors comply with the directive from the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees to follow the principle of least astonishment in image selection. In some cases, these closely related principles of following the sources and not needlessly surprising readers means providing multiple photographs of genitals, even though that may offend some viewers. In other cases, this means using line art or other drawings. In still others, it means choosing non-sexual images. For example, images for anatomy articles should normally be taken from line art and unemotional photographs in the standard anatomical position, rather than from art nudes or pornography magazines. In general, editors should choose images of the sort they find in high-quality reliable sources, with the least distraction or irrelevancies (e.g., high heels on an otherwise naked woman or visible genitals in an image that is supposed to illustrate Navel), and use appropriate captions to maximize the educational value of the images. Wikipedia:WikiProject Sexology and sexuality/WIP-image-guidelines offers some additional advice.
  • POV pushing: On occasion, disputes arise over the neutrality of image choices. For example, an editor may want to include a picture of a person urinating outdoors to tell the world that urinating outdoors is natural and appropriate. An editor who denies the existence of AIDS may oppose inclusion of an image of the HIV particle because they believe the virus does not exist. Other editors have promoted the inclusion of long-term survivors of normally deadly diseases to "give other patients hope". None of these are good reasons for choosing or deleting images. Images should be chosen and located because they illustrate specific concepts described in the text they are attached to.


Graphs are commonly produced off wiki and uploaded as images. Graphs can also be produced or linked to with several templates. See Wikipedia:Graphs for a list of some options.

To reduce needless disputes later, please cite your source(s) when uploading graphs as images. The citation can be added to the description on the image's page.


Featured articles[edit]


Featured articles are considered to be Wikipedia's very best work; they must pass through a review process as featured article candidates before being selected. Articles in bold indicate that the article has been featured on the Main Page on the date noted.

Featured lists[edit]


Featured lists are considered to be the best lists in Wikipedia; they must pass through a review process as featured list candidates before being selected.

Other featured content[edit]

Types of content other than articles—such as images, portals, sounds, and topics—can also achieve featured content status.

Articles pertaining to the project[edit]

Journal articles

Good articles[edit]

Good articles have been evaluated for their quality, but they have not been through the featured article process. For good articles in the biology and medicine category, see Wikipedia:Good_articles/Natural_sciences#Biology_and_medicine.

WikiProject Medicine[edit]

WikiProject Medicine's goals are to produce reliable and neutral information on medical conditions, diagnosis and treatment in a readable and standardized format. It aims to deal with these diseases in every context, from molecular biology, symptomatology and diagnosis to therapeutical issues and historical and geopolitical ramifications. To this end, the WikiProject will collaborate with other WikiProjects relating to the health sciences.

  • Translation Task Force: an effort to first improve health care's most important topics in English followed by translation into as many other language Wikipedia articles as possible (including simple English). It is an undertaking initiated by WikiProject Medicine, Wikimedia Canada, and Translators Without Borders.
  • Collaborative publication: an effort to get Wikipedia articles published in the peer-reviewed literature so academic credit can be part of an incentive to improve the encyclopedia.

How to help[edit]

Would you like to help, but you're not really quite sure what to do? Have an hour free and want to try something different? Articles under WikiProject Medicine have many opportunities for improvement. You don't have to be a physician or have specialized knowledge.

Maintain the integrity of articles
  • Stay in touch. Put this page on your watchlist, comment on the talk page, or help with something listed under the collaboration dashboard. Everyone from subject-matter experts to normal readers is welcome!
  • Recruit members. Assist in public relations and outreach by recruiting editors interested in medicine to contribute to Wikipedia. Invite good editors to join us. See this section for handy message templates.
  • Join the project.. Any interested Wikipedia editor is welcome to join this project. If you would like to help, feel free to add yourself to the list.
Work behind the scenes

Related WikiProjects[edit]

Wiki Project Med Foundation[edit]

Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all medical knowledge. That's what we're doing.

Health organization outreach[edit]

Any organization which serves people who get information from the Internet has a stake in the quality of information on Wikipedia and related Wikimedia projects. For many demographics and for many topics, Wikipedia is the most consulted source of health information.

Health organizations who want to participate in Wikipedia projects to do health education outreach need the following:

  1. Presentations on Wikipedia and statistics of how people use Wikipedia
  2. Training materials to introduce them to aspects of Wikipedia that are of most relevance to them as new contributors. In many cases, health professionals' time is scarce and they appreciate first receiving key information on how they can contribute within their field
  3. A maintained and curated collection of scholarly literature describing the nature, scope, and quality of Wikipedia health content
  4. A point of contact for requesting conversations from members of the health community in Wikipedia on how their organization can connect with the Wikipedia community and learn to contribute content
  5. A community networking space
  6. A historical repository for collecting case studies about community experiences in developing health content on Wikipedia

Collaborations are currently being developed with the World Health Organization, Cancer Research UK, and the United States National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health. Efforts include issues surrounding copyright and the support of the creation of Wikipedians in Residence.

A number of presentations have been given globally regarding the significance of Wikipedia in Medicine including in Canada, the UK, India, Switzerland and Nepal.[3] A model presentation is available here under a CC BY SA license for others to use and adapt.[4]

Translation Task Force[edit]

The Translation Task Force is a project began on English Wikipedia in collaboration with Translators Without Borders to improve key medical articles via translation. A summary of the project is as follows:

  1. Identify the most globally important health articles on Wikipedia (a list is here)
  2. Improve them to "Good Article" or "Featured Article" status in English according to English Wikipedia criteria
  3. Once an article reaches at least good status, have it professionally reviewed
  4. Put the article in queue for translation into every other language in the world at Translators Without Borders, with emphasis on languages which do not have equivalent articles of good quality (another partner "Content Rules" is working on simplifying the content for simple English Wikipedia)
  5. Present the most comprehensive multilingual source of health information ever compiled to the world, for free, continually as it is being created

Wikipedia - journal collaboration[edit]

  • One reason some academics express for not contributing to Wikipedia is that they are unable to get the recognition they require for their current professional position. A number of medical journals have agreed in principle to publishing high quality Wikipedia articles under authors' real names following formal peer review. These journals include: Open Medicine, PLoS medicine, the Journal of Medical Internet Research and Open BMJ. Further details here.
  • There are certain articles which, although published in scholarly journals, could either be readily adapted into Wikipedia articles or preferably published verbatim as Wikipedia articles if they were appropriately licensed during publication. Some work has already gone into this concept; this project supports further efforts into reforming publishing standards so as to incorporate sharable media into Wikipedia as efficiently as possible.
  • General discussion on potential collaborations are taking place with the Cochrane Collaboration as described here.
  • In parallel to broader efforts to create a Wikipedia Library, efforts are underway to build relationships with scientific/medical publishing houses resulting in the donation of free and full access to their content for active Wikipedians. Partnerships with JSTOR, Cochrane Collaboration, and Elsevier have been established; future targets include UpToDate and Springer.
  • Possibly improving/creating medical {Find sources} templates, or creating a live feed of recent high-quality clinical guidelines or meta analyses to article talk pages.

Campus ambassadors to medical schools and health classes[edit]

There is an existing Wikipedia outreach program which sends Wikipedia ambassadors - "campus ambassadors" - to schools to encourage students and professors to incorporate contributions to Wikipedia projects into the learning curricula. This organization facilitates participation in the campus ambassador program for those participating in health-related education projects at universities.

Wikipedia Loves (Medical) Libraries[edit]

Wikipedia Loves Libraries is the name of an outreach program which helps librarians and the Wikipedia community work together to serve the needs of communities who use library and Wikipedia resources. This organization participates in the Wikipedia Loves Libraries program by promoting events at medical and health science libraries.

Research relations[edit]

The organization will be a point of contact for researchers who want to study the health information on Wikipedia. Many organizations need advice on how they can run surveys on the extent to which the public uses health content on Wikipedia. This organization will work with the existing Research Committee to assist researchers in getting the data and community support they need to be able to manage their own Wikipedia research at their own institution.

Since there is also precedent in the medical community of supervising human subject research, this organization will also participate in existing community programs for reviewing human subject research on Wikipedia. For example, if a researcher who is not a Wikipedian seeks to recruit Wikipedians for long interviews, this organization will be mindful of and participate in discussions about minimizing harm to and promoting benefit to Wikipedians who participate in such research and the Wikipedia community in general.

Consent review[edit]

In some cases a health care provider may take a photograph or other media of a particular patient to create a learning tool for discussing a medical condition with visible symptoms. Wiki Med may either mediate or arranges mediation of queries about whether such content compromises patient personal identification and/or raises privacy concerns. One way that this group might do this is verify the existence of a consent to release a photograph with the photographing doctor. Wiki Med also provides, collects and shares guidelines for health professionals who have media to share, such as photos or x-rays. Wiki Med promotes patient rights and safety in media sharing.

Political advocacy[edit]

This organization advocates for free access to educational health material. When a political action may serve to increase access to health information through the Internet and especially through Wikimedia projects, this organization may endorse those actions in any country. More commonly, this organization publishes talking points and arguments that other organizations may use in their own activist efforts when they discuss policy with their lawmakers.

Editing cheatsheet[edit]


Click here!
  • Edit. Nearly every page on Wikipedia has an edit button on it, either in the page itself or at the top left of the screen. Click [edit] and you'll see a place where you can type and make changes. It will look a little different since Wikipedia uses a language called 'markup'. Don't worry if it looks intimidating. Just try a few small changes and copy what others do that gets the result you want.
  • Basic markup. Markup language is a very simple way to add formatting with symbols. These can be inserted using the editing tool bar or manually. Otherwise, just type as normal.
    • Looks
      • For italics, type two apostrophes ( ' ) around the word like this ''italics''.
      • For bold use three apostrophes: '''bold''' .
      • For bold and italics use five: '''''italics and bold''''' .
    • Sections and Lists
      • Section headers are made with the equals sign (=) on each side. ==This is a level 2 header==. More equals signs make smaller sub-sections. ===This is a level 3 header===, and so on. You won't use a level 1 header, since that is the title of the page itself.
      • Bulleted lists are made by putting * at the beginning of each line.
      • Numbered lists are made by putting # at the beginning of each line.
    • Links
      • Links from one Wikipedia page to another are made with two brackets on each side of the word like [[wikilink]]. To make a link go to a different page than the word it shows, use a pipe: [[PAGE|WORD]]
      • Links to external websites are made with one bracket on each side like [external link]. But these are only used in the External links section of an article.
      • Images are added with [[File: IMAGENAME|thumb|IMAGECAPTION]]. 'Thumb' is just a size and should be left in.
    • Paragraphs and references
      • Line breaks and paragraphs require hitting [return] or [enter] twice (showing an empty line in between), or using <br> or <p>
      • References go between ref tags: <ref>references here</ref>. Place these after the punctuation in the sentence they are used.
  • Preview and Save. If you want to see a draft of your changes, click [show preview]; otherwise click [save] and your edit will go live.
  • Page structure. Articles follow a common format. Start with the introduction, a few paragraphs summarizing the page. Make the first mention of the page's subject bold. Place the article's content in level 2 headers like ==Section title here==, only capitalizing the first word unless it's a proper noun. The last sections can add information such as See also, References, and External links, in that order. Place those sections in level 2 headers as well.


  • Talk pages. In addition to the pages you read for information, for almost every Wikipedia page there is a corresponding talk page where discussion happens among editors. To use the talk page, click [edit] and add your comments. To create a new topic, slick [new section] at the top of the page, give the section a title, and leave your comment. New topics go at the bottom of the page.
  • Indenting. To make conversations easier to follow, place your comments below the one you are responding to and indent it using a colon (:). Each colon moves the comment farther to the right, so if the person above you used 3 colons (:::) you should use 4 (::::). To start a new talk page topic, click [new section] at the top of the page and type a title with your comment; or, start a new level 2 heading for the same effect.
  • Signatures. On talk pages but not article pages, all comments should be signed with ~~~~. Once saved, this will turn into your username or ip address with a timestamp.
  • Edit summaries. Leave a brief note about what you did and why any time you make an edit. Place it in the edit summary box before you click save.


  • Good sources: Newspapers, highly respected blogs, magazines, books, journals, industry publications, and expert websites; independent of the subject, with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy; somewhere or someone you would trust if you read it, knowing that they did their homework and don't want to get the information wrong.
  • Manual references: Use reference tags after the period: ...end of sentence.<ref>Reference info here: author, publication, date, title, place, web address, etc.</ref> Place at the end of the sentence after the punctuation.
  • Better references with templates: These are thorough and easy to use. Click [edit], and place the cursor at the end of the sentence you want to reference. Using the editing toolbar, click [cite] or {{ }} and choose the source type (web, book, TV...). Fill out the fields you know, click [enter], and [save] when ready.
  • Reference section: References should show up at the bottom of the page. Make a level 2 header: ==References==. Then place {{reflist}} below the header. You don't have to type out the references there; instead, place them inside the article after the sentence they support. They'll appear automatically.


To use a picture (or other media such as sound or video) on Wikipedia, you need permission from the owner/photographer:

  • If it is your own picture that you produced yourself, then you can just upload it yourself, from WP:UPLOAD, saying "It is entirely my own work". This link will take you to Commons, where free files are hosted.
  • If it is not yours, then you need permission from the owner one of two ways:
    1. License statement on company website: Ask the company to place the image somewhere on the company's official website. Then, either on the same page or on a separate copyright page on the same website, they should include a statement that the work is released under a suitable free license, for example: "The image of the X Company Logo is released under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0." The recommended Creative Commons Attribution License allows the image to be used by anyone, with or without modifications, and allows commercial use, so long as the original author is credited. Some other licenses are also acceptable — contact a helper if you would like more information. Once this is done, a helper can assist you in uploading the image. Your company can also upload the image to another website, such as Flickr, under its official account, with the same license statement.
    2. E-mail permission: Have the owner email permission with the picture attached to stating "I release the attached image under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0." (Again, some other licenses are also acceptable — contact a helper if you would like more information.) The email should say that they are the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of the photograph(s) of the attached photo (or the photo at, and include their full name. It may require several days to process this e-mail - to avoid this delay, use the other method above. Once your image is approved, a helper can assist you in uploading the image.
  • After uploading, put the file in a Wikipedia page by adding [[File:FILENAME|thumb]FILEDESCRIPTION]] to any Wikipedia page.

Navigating Wikipedia[edit]

  • Article: Where content happens. These contain encyclopedic material which must be backed up by sources. Don't sign your name on these.
  • Talk: Where talk happens. Every article page has one, linked at the top of the page. Use them for collaboration and dispute resolution by clicking [Talk] at the top of the page.
  • History: Where prior versions of an article are stored (talk pages have them too). Click [View history] at the top and you'll see all prior edits to the page.
  • User: Your personal page (or someone else's). Linked at the top right of every page, with a blue link and your name. Put stuff here to explain what you're about and why you're here.
  • User talk: Your personal talk page. Use this to facilitate discussions and collaboration. Also used for notices and warnings.
  • Wikipedia: Information about policies, guidelines and advice for editing. These are quite detailed. They come in handy eventually.
  • Help: Basic how-to material. These pages cover everything from markup to templates. A good place to start.
  • File: Where images are. These store all of the details about photographs and other media. The name of the file page is also the name of the file.
  • Special pages: Specific functions such as Recent Changes, and Page logs. You can spot them because they don't have talk pages.


  • Search: The easiest way to get around. Type your query in the box at the top right and pick from the results. Start with WP: for Wikipedia policies, guidelines, and projects (WP:Verifiability) and Help: for help pages (Help:References).
  • Directory: The full department directory and quick directory are good tools. Or just ask someone and they'll give you a link.
  • Help: The Help Desk, live help chat, and the discussion pages for specific help topics are all good places to ask questions.
  • Google: Wikipedia is very well indexed by Google and searching for a term, even about an editing question, followed by "wiki" or "wikipedia" usually pulls up what you need. External links however are not indexed, and adding a link from an article to your corporate page will not increase its PageRank. (For the technically inclined, external links on Wikipedia have the nofollow attribute that search engines use to block linkspam.)



Main tool page:


  1. ^ "Link". Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  2. ^ "Link". Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  3. ^ "Link". Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  4. ^ "Link". Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  5. ^ USA. "Link". PMID 19390105.
  6. ^ "Link". doi:10.2196/jmir.1589. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  7. ^ "Link". 2012-04-24. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  8. ^ USA (2012-12-12). "Link". PMID 23137251.
  9. ^ Greenhalgh T (1997). "How to read a paper: Papers that summarise other papers (systematic reviews and meta-analyses)" (PDF). BMJ. 315 (7109): 672–5. PMC 2127461. PMID 9310574.
  10. ^ Logan, D. W.; Sandal, M.; Gardner, P. P.; Manske, M.; Bateman, A. (2010). "Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia". PLOS Computational Biology. 6 (9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941. PMC 2947980. PMID 20941386. open access
  11. ^ Ozturan, O.; Miman, M. C.; Yiğit, B.; Cokkeser, Y.; Kizilay, A.; Aktaş, D. (2002). "Approaches to twisted noses and results of treatment". Kulak burun bogaz ihtisas dergisi : KBB = Journal of ear, nose, and throat. 9 (1): 21–29. PMID 12122621.
  12. ^ Examples of original research include counting Google or PubMed results, comparing the size or relevance of the varieties of English, and quoting from personal or professional experience.
  13. ^ Templates for deletion: Medical
  14. ^ DrugBank IDs follow the format APRDxxxxx, and may be found in the page's URL.
  15. ^ HUGO IDs follow the format hgnc_id=xxxx, and may also be found in the page's URL.