Can wikis transform medical publishing?

The Canadian open access medical journal, Open Medicine, just announced a wiki version of a systematic review. See more about this interesting and innovative publishing experiment below.
From the press release:
OTTAWA, Tuesday, March 1—Today, Open Medicine ( is
pleased to announce the publication of a wiki version of a new
systematic review of second-line diabetes drugs. To the best of our
knowledge, Open Medicine is the only peer-reviewed medical journal using
wikis as a publishing platform. “Knowledge is dynamic and a wiki is a
publishing tool that truly reflects that,” says Anita Palepu, MD, editor
of Open Medicine. “Our hope is that this manuscript will evolve as our
knowledge evolves and, ultimately, be improved by contributions directly
from our readers to our authors.”
The systematic review is authored by a team of researchers affiliated
with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH;
Prior to publication as a wiki, this systematic review was peer-reviewed
to ensure it satisfied Open Medicine’s editorial standards. Access to
the wiki version will not be limited to health experts, but readers must
register, state their affiliations and complete a competing-interests
statement before they can contribute. Changes will be monitored by the
journal’s staff and substantive edits will be brought to the attention
of the review authors.
Systematic reviews can become rapidly outdated as new research is
published. Providing authors and readers with an updated document offers
several advantages, yet biomedical publishers have rarely done so. The
advantages include:
1) Changes to a wiki are publicly available as soon as they are made,
2) Wikis create a centralized document for easy editing,
3) Readers can track the changes that have been made to a document,
provided a form of post-publication peer-review;
For a more thorough discussion of the potential role of wikis in
biomedical publishing, see “Medical research and social media: Can wikis
be used as a publishing platform in medicine?” an editorial by the
editors at Open Medicine published in 2009 when the journal first
piloted a wiki.
Citation: McIntosh, B., Cameron, C., Singh, S.R., Yu, C., Ahuja, T.,
Welton, N.J., and Dahl, M. (2011) Second-line therapy in patients with
type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled with metformin monotherapy: a
systematic review and mixed-treatment comparison meta-analysis Open Med
To access the wiki version of this article, visit:

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