Thursday, July 26, 2018

#Wikidata - Pushback on probiotics with citations

Recently I added a paper to Wikidata. The paper indicated its subjects and mania, the immune system and probiotics are among its subjects. I dutifully added some of these subjects to the article and was surprised that a topic as controversial as probiotics did not relate to many many papers.When you check out #probiotics on Twitter, you will realise that a healthy mix of fact is much needed to counter the inundation of commercial offerings you will find.

I mentioned on Twitter my surprise that there was so little to find on Wikidata about this subject and Daniel Mietchen picked this up, had a bot run adding probiotic as a topic on Wikidata. The result is wonderful.

It is almost too good. We now run the risk not to see the forest for the trees.When you are looking for sources to cite, you want to narrow down on sources that were checked by Cochrane, you may want to find/dismiss the papers mentioned by Retraction Watch.

The best part; this is an embarrassment of riches. With bots running and updating topics mentioned on papers, we gain relevance to our collection of papers, authors are linked giving a clue who might be notable enough to get a Wikipedia article. As we gain more and more data with better links to indicators to the quality of papers, we gain terrain in the battle on false facts.

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