Projects/Medical release of information

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A list of attempts to contact other organization WRT collaboration[edit]

Would be good for us to keep track of our outreach efforts to other organizations and responses of said organizations to our efforts.

Letter sent to WHO[edit]

Dear WHO

We at Wikipedia are working hard to improve access to medical information for peoples around the world. Currently the medical content on the English Wikipedia get approximately 200 million page views per month. Everything on Wikipedia however must be under a creative common license (CC-BY-SA). Wondering if there was a possibility that the WHO would be willing / able to release certain images / graphs under this license? This would benefit the WHO by increasing your exposure to the public, it would benefit Wikipedia by increasing the quality of globally relevant information available, and these two measure would benefit the population of the world.

Many thanks for your consideration

Letter was sent to June 3, 2011 by James Heilman

Second letter sent June 24, 2011
  • the response should be publicly posted here. At the end of the day, WHO is using taxpayers' money to produce material & reports, it is unconceivable that this is not in the public domain. --Eysen 07:39, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

Dear Dr Heilman,

Thank you for your request. I am sorry for the delay in responding to you.

WHO is certainly interested in increasing dissemination of its published materials and we certainly appreciate that Wikipedia is widely available and regularly consulted by many users worldwide and would be a powerful channel for increasing the visibility of our work. However, the Creative Commons licence is problematic for WHO (and other intergovernmental organisations) because it is subject to national jurisdiction. WHO is an intergovernmental organisation with certain privileges and immunities which include not being subject to any national state's jurisdiction. We are currently looking at possible options for licensing mechanisms in order that WHO can publish certain materials more in a more openly available and reusable way, but we don't have a solution in place today.

As regards the way we handle permissions requests today, WHO publishes hundreds of documents and other materials using different media every year, and realistically we can only authorise requests for materials that we are able to clearly identify as belonging to WHO and where the purpose of use is in accordance with the Organization's principles. If for example, you were writing an article to be published on Wikipedia and you required certain WHO images, figures etc, then you would need to make a specific request using the online form, and we would then authorise this specific use.

I hope this is clear. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best regards,


Ian Coltart WHO Press

Hello Ian

Many thanks for the reply. We at Wikipedia would love to be able to include greater amounts of content from the WHO. Images do not needing to be licensed under Creative Commons but must fullfil the following open knowledge requirements:

All copyrighted material on Commons must be licensed under a free license that allows anyone to use the material for any purpose. In particular, the license must meet the following conditions:

  • Republication and distribution must be allowed.
  • Publication of derivative work must be allowed.
  • Commercial use of the work must be allowed.
  • The license must be perpetual (non-expiring) and non-revocable.
  • Acknowledgment of all authors/contributors of a work may be required.
  • Publication of derivative work under the same license may be required.
  • For digital distribution, use of open file formats free of digital restrictions management (DRM) may be required.

The following restrictions must not apply to the image or other media file:

  • Use by Wikimedia only (the only non-free-licensed exceptions hosted here are Wikimedia logos and other designs which are copyrighted by the Wikimedia Foundation).[1]
  • Noncommercial/Educational use only.
  • Use under fair use only.
  • Notification of the creator required, rather than requested, for all or for some uses.

Wikipedia has strong open access ideals as summed up by co founder Jimmy Wales "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." I see the WHO as sharing this goal.

James Heilman

Letter sent to[edit]

The sites , , , as of July 10, 2011 are interested in collaborating with WikiProject Medicine and sharing content.

Canadian Pharmacists Association[edit]

Letter sent to Dino (dmastro at

Wondering if people at the Canadian Pharmacists Association would be interested in a collaboration with Wikipedia? As a brief overview Wikipedia's Pharmaceutical content gets about 35-40 million page views a month and is used by 50-70% of practicing physicians. It is also used extensively by pharmacists (35% to 72% admit to its use). The medical content gets about 150-200 million page views a month.

As for my background I have been writing for Wikipedia for about 4 years and am a board member of Wikimedia Canada (the Canadian chapter of the none profit behind Wikipedia). A group of use from WikiProject Medicine recently published this article which gives an overview of Wikipedia as a medical source

James Heilman, MD, CCFP(EM) Wikipedian, Wikipedia Canada

Further discussion pending as of June 24, 2011

Discussion with prof in public health at McMaster[edit]

Conversations ongoing. There is interest to work with us.

British Columbia Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee[edit]

Are interested in working with us. Conversations ongoing as of June 24, 2011.

w:en:Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health[edit]

This group may be interested in working with us.