I read the New England Journal of Medicine and a few other journals every week. When I come across something I don't understand, I search Google to look it up. Usually, the first or second hit is Wikipedia. So that's how I came to Wikipedia. If I can contribute, I'm glad to help. And of course it's a great way for me to understand what I'm reading myself.

I appreciate that much of the biomedical writing on Wikipedia is done by some pretty well-informed graduate students, PhDs, medical students and MDs who can give me a lot of the fundamental biology and clinical medicine that I'm looking for.

I think my most useful contribution is to take an entry that's written for specialists and rewrite it for the general reader. Don't forget, Wikipedia is written for the general reader, not the specialist or doctor. If people are leaving messages in the Talk page that an article is so complicated that they can't understand it, that's a sign that it should be made more accessible. If people can't understand what you've written, what's the point of writing it?

I believe that an article can be written so that the general reader can understand it, without losing any important technical details. Science magazine does it every week. I like to keep the technical language -- because people need to learn the jargon in order to do further research -- but if you use a technical term that the average reader wouldn't know, you have to define it.

WP:NOTJOURNAL "Scientific journals and research papers. A Wikipedia article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. Introductory language in the lead and initial sections of the article should be written in plain terms and concepts that can be understood by any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge in the given field before advancing to more detailed explanations of the topic. While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text."

Know your audience "Wikipedia is not primarily aimed at experts; therefore, the level of technical detail in its articles must be balanced against the ability of non-experts to understand those details. When contributing scientific content, imagine you have been tasked with writing a comprehensive scientific review for a high school audience. It can be surprisingly challenging explaining complex ideas in an accessible, jargon-free manner. But it is worth the perseverance. You will reap the benefits when it comes to writing your next manuscript or teaching an undergraduate class."

I heard one of the prize winners, Professor [François] Jacob, forewarn an audience of specialists more or less as follows: «In describing genetic mechanisms, there is a choice between being inexact and incomprehensible». In making this presentation, I shall try to be as inexact as conscience permits.[1]

Useful links and notesEdit

Most frequentEdit

(See User Contributions)


WP:NPOV is one of the WP:FIVEPILLARS of Wikipedia. "NPOV is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia and of other Wikimedia projects. This policy is nonnegotiable and all editors and articles must follow it." (Emphasis added.)

  • WP:WEIGHT "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources."
  • WP:BALANCE "Neutrality assigns weight to viewpoints in proportion to their prominence. However, when reputable sources contradict one another and are relatively equal in prominence, describe both approaches and work for balance. This involves describing the opposing views clearly, drawing on secondary or tertiary sources that describe the disagreement from a disinterested viewpoint."
  • WP:NPOV, "Writing for the opponent" [1] Writing for the opponent, also known as writing for the enemy, is the process of explaining another person's point of view as clearly and fairly as you can, even if you strongly disagree with it, and also giving it proper weight in the article relative to its significance.

Notability (events)Edit

WP:EVENT "An event is presumed to be notable if it receives significant, non-routine coverage that persists over a period of time. Coverage should be in multiple reliable sources with national or global scope."


  • WP:BIASED "Wikipedia articles are required to present a neutral point of view. However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject."
  • WP:Canvassing "When notifying other editors of discussions, keep the number of notifications small, keep the message text neutral, and don't preselect recipients according to their established opinions."
  • WP:NEWSBLOG "Several newspapers, magazines, and other news organizations host columns on their web sites that they call blogs. These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but use them with caution because the blog may not be subject to the news organization's normal fact-checking process."
  • WP:BLOGS "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications."
  • WP:WORDS "All else being equal, try to use as common, unshortened, simple and concrete words as possible. Using needlessly uncommon, advanced, shortened and abstract words will only make Wikipedia less readable."
  • WP:POVFORK "This second article is known as a "POV fork" of the first, and is inconsistent with Wikipedia policies. The generally accepted policy is that all facts and major points of view on a certain subject should be treated in one article."
  • {{fact|date=February 2013}}[citation needed]
  • {{cn|reason=Reason goes here.|date=December 2016}} [citation needed]
  • WP:ELYES What can normally be linked. "Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that is relevant to an encyclopedic understanding of the subject and cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks), or other reasons."
  • WP:ELMAYBE Links to be considered. "Sites that fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources."
  • MOS:OVERLINK "the following are not usually linked: Everyday words understood by most readers in context... The names of major geographic features and locations, languages, nationalities and religions"
  • WP:PRIMARY "Policy: Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia; but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them.[4] Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge."
  • Template:Original research
  • [original research?] {{OR|date=June 2014}}
  • WP:Teahouse. WP:THQ Ask questions, get answers.
  • MOS:PMC Original wording."Do not omit text where doing so would remove important context or alter the meaning of the text. When a vulgarity or obscenity is quoted, it should appear exactly as it does in the cited source...."
  • WP:BOWDLERIZE "In original Wikipedia content, a vulgarity or obscenity should either appear in its full form or not at all; words should never be minced by replacing letters with dashes, asterisks, or other symbols...."
  • WP:WTW Words to Watch. "Be cautious with expressions that may introduce bias, lack precision, or include offensive terms. Use clear, direct language. Let facts alone do the talking."
  • Wikipedia:Copyright violations
  • Copyright. Example of a web site using several paragraphs of a New York Times story without a copyright violation (and with no notice of permission) https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/people-dont-take-their-pills-only-one-thing-seems-to-help Example of Washington Post quoting 1,500 words from NYT https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2018/02/15/criticize-our-work-privately-nyt-editorial-page-chief-sends-a-1500-word-treatise-to-colleagues/
  • WP:OWN Policy. "you should not undo their edits without good reason."
  • WP:TAGTEAM Essay. "editors coordinate their actions to circumvent the normal process of consensus."
  • WP:Crying "BLP!" BLP "can be abused as some sort of trump card to give an advantage to one side in an editing dispute."


  • WP:HELP Start here
  • WP:List of Policies
  • WP:INDISCRIMINATE Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information
  • WP:MEDMOS "Extract the pertinent information rather than just dumping low-level facts in a big list."
  • WP:MEDMOS "a long list of side effects is largely useless without some idea of which are common or serious."
  • WP:MEDRS "Ideal sources for biomedical material include general or systematic reviews in reliable, third-party, published sources, such as reputable medical journals, widely recognised standard textbooks written by experts in a field, or medical guidelines and position statements from nationally or internationally recognised expert bodies." "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." See WP:NOR
  • WP:MEDRS "Core general medical journals include the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Annals of Internal Medicine, the British Medical Journal (BMJ), and the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Core basic science and biology journals include Nature, Science and Cell."
  • WP:MEDRS WP:MEDDATE Use up-to-date evidence. "Look for reviews published in the last five years or so, with newer being better."
  • WP:MEDRS WP:MEDDATE"These instructions are appropriate for actively researched areas with many primary sources and several reviews and may need to be relaxed in areas where little progress is being made or few reviews are being published."
  • WP:RS WP:NEWSORG "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact.... The opinions of specialists and recognized experts are more likely to be reliable and to reflect a significant viewpoint.... If the statement is not authoritative, attribute the opinion to the author in the text of the article and do not represent it as fact. Reviews for books, movies, art, etc. can be opinion, summary or scholarly pieces."
  • WP:RS WP:BIASED "Wikipedia articles are required to present a neutral point of view. However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject."
  • WP:SOURCE "Other reliable sources include: university-level textbooks... books published by respected publishing houses... magazines... journals... mainstream newspapers."
  • WP:NOTNEWSPAPER As Wikipedia is not a paper source, editors are encouraged to include current and up-to-date information within its coverage, and to develop stand-alone articles on significant current events.

How to explain science clearlyEdit

Here is an explanation by a good science teacher of why we should use simple language that ordinary people can easily understand, and introduce concepts in a simplified form, even an oversimplification. Remember, Wikipedia is written for the ordinary reader, not the specialist. If the ordinary reader doesn't understand it, there's no point in writing it. These are my notes, with some extended quotations.

Tyler DeWitt: Hey science teachers -- make it fun
Feb 5, 2013
High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about a lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) -- and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

In the communication of science there is this obsession with seriousness. God forbid somebody have fun learning about science.
Another problem was that the language in their textbook was truely incomprehensible. If we want to summarize that story I told you before we could suumarize by saying

"These viruses can start to make more copies of themselves by slipping their DNA into a bacterium."

The way it shows up in a textbook is:

"Bacteriophage replication is initiated through the introduction of viral nucleic acid into a bacterium."

That's great -- perfect --for 13-year-olds.

But here's the thing. there are plenty of people in science education who would look at that and say, there is no way we could ever give that to students, because it contains some language that isn't completely accurate.

For example, I told you that viruses have DNA. Well, a very tiny fraction of them don't. They have something called RNA instead. So a professional science writer would circle that and say, That has to go. We have to change it to something much more technical. And after a team of professional science editors went over this really simple explanation, they find fault with almost every word I use.

And they'd have to change anything that wasn't serious enough. And they'd have to change anything that wasn't 100% perfect. Then it would be accurate. But it would be completely impossible to understand.

"Bacteriophage replication is initiated through the introduction of viral nuclic acid into a bacterium."

Useful sourcesEdit

Dispute resolutionEdit

WP:NPOV boilerplateEdit

Wikipedia has clear rules on what belongs in an article and what doesn't. The main rules are WP:RS, WP:NPOV and WP:WEIGHT. Those rules say that viewpoints must be included in the article in proportion to their coverage in WP:RSs. If WP:RSs repeatedly quote Huckabee, Fischer, etc. (or anybody) in stories on the incident, then this article must include those viewpoints.

This isn't up to the discretion or consensus of WP editors; WP:NPOV is one of the WP:FIVEPILLARS of Wikipedia. "NPOV is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia and of other Wikimedia projects. This policy is nonnegotiable and all editors and articles must follow it." (Emphasis added.)

Putting reactions into a separate, later article also violate WP policy. WP:POVFORK "This second article is known as a "POV fork" of the first, and is inconsistent with Wikipedia policies. The generally accepted policy is that all facts and major points of view on a certain subject should be treated in one article."

  • WP:NPOVN Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard


Articles in progressEdit

Wikipedia:Starting an article WP:CREATEUSER#SUB

Citation templatesEdit

WP:Citation templates

Journal TemplateEdit

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Second reference:

<ref name="

{{cite news}}

Newspaper TemplateEdit

<ref name="
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Press Release TemplateEdit

{{cite press release <nowiki>| title =
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Web TemplateEdit

Empty citation (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Close paraphrasingEdit


In January 2018, in responses to questions on Trump's mental fitness for office, Sanders said, "What I think is really mentally unstable is people that don't see the positive impact that this president is having on the country".

In January 2018, she defended President Donald Trump by criticizing media networks that made multiple claims against his mental health and mental cognition.


In February 2018, a report by Michael J. Missal, the Inspector General of Veterans Affairs, found that Shulkin and his staff had lied to both the agency's ethics officials and the public about the nature of his July 2017 trip to Europe.

In February 2018, a report by Michael J. Missal, the Inspector General of Veterans Affairs, found that Shulkin and his staff had misled both the agency's ethics officials and the public about the nature of his July 2017 trip to Europe.


In 2006 Israel harshly criticized Jimmy Carter for his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and at the same time criticized the Palestinian government.

In 2006, in response to Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Israel said, “I disagree with President Carter fundamentally. The reason for the Palestinian plight is the Palestinians.”

Excesive CitationsEdit


Useful sourcesEdit

Newspapers as WP:RSEdit

Sometimes, newspapers can get access to clinical data about life-threatening dangers that are not available in the scientific literature.

Harris G. Diabetes drug maker hid test data, files indicate. New York Times 13 Jul 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/health/policy/13avandia.html.

Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart.

But instead of publishing the results, the company spent the next 11 years trying to cover them up, according to documents recently obtained by The New York Times.

Cited by:

http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f7428 Rosiglitazone: a case of regulatory hubris BMJ 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7428 11 December 2013 Steven E Nissen


3 papers published in a week = report card on health care journalism & PR
December 20, 2016
Gary Schwitzer
In another blog post today, Matt Shipman analyzed a PLoS One journal article, “Exaggerations and caveats in press releases and health-related science news.”


A research paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), “Conflicts of interest and expertise of independent commenters in news stories about medical research.” 10.1503@cmaj.160538.pdf

And a paper in the journal Health Communication, “One Step Forward, One Step Back: Changes in News Coverage of Medical Interventions.” I am listed as a co-author on this paper but the work was really done by Prof. Kim Walsh-Childers and colleagues at the University of Florida. I merely advised on the project’s background, rationale, and processes. Walsh-Childers has recently joined our team of part-time editorial reviewers. 10.1080@10410236.2016.1250706.pdf


  1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1965. François Jacob, André Lwoff, Jacques Monod. Award Ceremony Speech. 16 Nov 2016. Professor Sven Gard.
  2. ^ a b Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy
  3. ^ a b Reece, Jane; Campbell, Neil (2002). Biology. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 0-8053-6624-5.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)