2019/Grants/Strengthening Information on Vaccine Safety on Wikipedia

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Strengthening Information on Vaccine Safety on Wikipedia


Netha Hussain

Wikimedia username:

User: Netha Hussain

E-mail address:



Userpage on English Wikipedia

Geographical impact:


Type of project:

Research + Output

What is your idea?

Part 1: Documentation of existing knowledge

  • Create an overview of the existing vaccine safety-related information on English Wikipedia and categorise the existing articles. This will be accomplished by building navboxes for vaccines and vaccine-safety.
  • Document the vaccine safety related information on Wikidata. This will be accomplished by querying and editing Wikidata and creating Listeria lists of Wikidata items related to vaccine safety.

Part 2: Finding knowledge gaps

  • Identify the list of missing articles by using Listeria of Wikidata items, by curating information from the vaccine safety network and consulting with experts from the vaccine safety network (and other organisations working on vaccine-related information).
  • Identify the knowledge gaps in existing articles related to vaccine safety on Wikipedia by critically reading through them and report/tabulate the findings.

Part 3: Bridging knowledge gaps

  • Create resources from reliable sources that can be used by experts and regular editors for improving vaccine-related content on Wikipedia. This will be done in consultation with the experts at the vaccine-safety network in collaboration with NewsQ project. During the course of the project, I will act as a liasion between the medical editors of the Wikimedia community (such as Wikiproject Medicine and WikiProject COVID-19) and the experts from the World Health Organization and similar organizations, to capture relevant thoughts and expertise for this project. This will be accomplised by seeking for feedback and ideas from Wikimedians and experts, and documenting the outcomes.

This project does not involve creating content for Wikipedia articles in the Article namespace. The report of evaluation of articles and resources will be presented on Wikipedia namespace of English Wikipedia and on meta-wiki. The report and the resources will be free for anyone to use, translate and modify.

Why is it important?

This project involves exploring the knowledge gap related to vaccine safety. The World Health Organisation has named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019. Myths and misinformation circulating around vaccine safety is a threat to public health initiatives in many countries of the world. Therefore, it is important that information related to vaccine safety is available on popular internet platforms such as Wikipedia, and that such information is supported by trusted, evidence-based sources.

Is your project already in progress?


How is it relevant to credibility and Wikipedia? (max 500 words)

This project aims at increasing the coverage and credibility of articles related to vaccine safety on Wikipedia.

What is the ultimate impact of this project?

The ultimate impact of this project is to disseminate credible and updated vaccine safety-related information on Wikipedia.

Could it scale?

Yes, similar methodology can be used for finding and bridging the knowledge gap in other topics, not limited to healthcare. The resources created and information generated from Wikidata could be used for improving vaccine safety related coverage in languages other than English.

Why are you the people to do it?

I am a medical doctor and I have a PhD degree in medicine. I have good understanding about evidence-based medicine and vaccines. I have been an editor on Wikipedia for the last 10 years, and I have contributed to numerous articles related to medicine and healthcare on English and Malayalam language Wikipedia. I have previously worked as the External Monitor for the 'Pulse Polio' immunisation program of the World Health Organisation in India, where I worked at the grass-root level for monitoring the implementation of the polio vaccination program.

What is the impact of your idea on diversity and inclusiveness of the Wikimedia movement?

The project will identify the knowledge gaps related to vaccine safety and therefore help in increasing the diversity of content on Wikipedia. The methodology used for this project could be scaled to languages other than English and the resources created as a part of this project could be used for improving vaccine safety related content on non-English Wikipedia projects.

What are the challenges associated with this project and how you will overcome them?

One of the challenges I see associated with this project is in the consultations with vaccine-safety experts as a part of this project. Given that the project is to be accomplished in a short timeframe, it is uncertain about how often the consultations can happen.

This challenge will be overcome by scheduling the consultations as early as possible during the course of the project and by performing own research in cases where consultations could not be made possible or did not yield useful results.

How much money are you requesting?

3000 USD

How will you spend the money?

The money will be used for compensating for my time in doing this project. According to Swedish Law, 44% of the sum will be paid as taxes,6% as administrative fee and the rest of the money (50%) will be used for compensating for my time in researching for this project.

How long will your project take?

The project will take one to 1.5 months.

Have you worked on projects for previous grants before?

This is my first grant application for a Wikimedia related project. I have previously published a review (link) and a WikiWorkshop extended abstract (link) on gender gap in Wikipedia in my capacity as a volunteer.