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Feasibility Study of a Wiki Collaboration Platform for Systematic Review (Text Version)

Slide presentation from the AHRQ 2009 conference.

On September 15, 2009, Eileen Erinoff made this presentation at the 2009 Annual Conference. Select to access the PowerPoint® presentation (1 MB).

Slide 1

Slide 1. Feasibility Study of a Wiki Collaboration Platform for Systematic Review

Feasibility Study of a Wiki Collaboration Platform for Systematic Review

Eileen Erinoff
AHRQ Annual Meeting
September 15, 2009

Slide 2

Slide 2. What is a wiki?

What is a wiki?

  • A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content (excluding blocked users), using a simplified markup language - Wikipedia.
  • Revision history and reversion
    • Wikis record all changes to a page including the time and initiator of the edit.
    • This means a wiki can always be reverted to a previous version if desired.
  • Flat structure
    • Wiki pages are easily created and connected via hyperlinks.
    • More easily customized by the end user.
    • Allows the organization of content to be edited as well as the content itself.

Slide 3

Slide 3. Potential uses for wikis in the systematic review process

Potential uses for wikis in the systematic review process

  • Community of Practice (CoP).
  • Central hub for methodology.
  • Connecting related topic areas.
  • Individual sites for project working groups.
  • Review and editing.

Slide 4

Slide 4. Community of Practice (CoP)

Community of Practice (CoP)

  • Communities of Practice - "groups of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise..."
    • Benefit members through knowledge exchange.
    • Exist as long as there's interest in maintaining the group.
  • Example: ColabWiki
    • Http://

Slide 5

Slide 5. Central hub for methodology

Central hub for methodology

  • Provide access to methodology research in real time.
  • Provide insight for ongoing projects.
  • Cross-pollination of ideas between research groups.

Slide 6

Slide 6. Connecting related topic areas

Connecting related topic areas

  • Method of linking AHRQ research across multiple categories
    • Link EPC, CERT, and DEcIDE projects in complementary areas.
    • Link portions of separate EPC reports on similar subject areas.
    • Topic-related forums would allow researchers from different areas to share their experiences and more importantly, their painful "lessons learned".
      • Example: Genetic testing - multiple published and ongoing projects.
      • At least 3 or 4 EPCs have previously or are currently assigned to work on a project in some area of genetic testing.
      • Type of information exchange not typically captured in formal reports.

Slide 7

Slide 7. Individual sites for project working groups

Individual sites for project working groups

  • Most EPC project teams are collaborations and members frequently are not working in the same location.
    • EPC staff members, AHRQ Task Order Officers, Partner Organizations, Key Informants, Technical Experts.
  • Collaborations are currently managed through email, shared documents, web conferencing and conference calls.
  • Using a wiki could simplify and reduce redundancy in these processes.

Slide 8

Slide 8. Collaborative authoring

Collaborative authoring

  • Not much evidence supporting this use of wikis for large documents such as systematic reviews.
  • Difficult to maintain awareness of actions of team members
    • Communication degradation.
    • Misinterpretation of comments.
    • Conflict resolution.
    • Poor tools for annotation.
    • Version tracking.

Slide 9

Slide 9. Public Applications

Public Applications

  • Disseminating drafts for public review.
  • Topic solicitation.
  • Structured feedback area.

Slide 10

Slide 10. Governance


Web governance is "the structure of people, positions, authorities, roles, responsibilities, relationships, and rules involved in managing an agency's website(s). The governance structure defines who can make what decisions, who is accountable for which efforts, and how each of the players must work together to operate a website and web management process effectively."

Web Governance Task Force.

Slide 11

Slide 11. Governance


  • Internal wiki governance.
  • Federal Government -wikis are subject to the same regulations and limitations as other federal Internet-based resources.
  • Section 508 compliance.

Slide 12

Slide 12. Adoption and usage

Adoption and usage

  • Setting up a wiki is easy - ensuring widespread adoption and continued usage is not.
  • Barriers
    • Uneven computer literacy and skills.
    • Open philosophy conflicts with existing organizational policies and work habits.
    • Concept of control and ownership of your work.
    • Fear of loss of reader confidence in the work.

Slide 13

Slide 13. Conclusions


  • There are a number of ways wikis could be useful for systematic reviews
    • Communities of Practice.
    • Project "Homepages".
    • Some aspects of peer review.
  • Collaborative authoring is an interesting prospect but the technology isn't sufficiently developed to make it practical for large systematic reviews.

Slide 14

Slide 14. Useful Links

Useful Links

  • - Wikis -
  • Wikipatterns -
    • Wiki adoption and usage.
    • Good example of a wiki as well.
  • Wikimatrix -
    • Wiki selection - allows comparison of multiple wiki platforms on user selected specifications.

Slide 15

Slide 15. Questions


Current as of December 2009
Internet Citation: Feasibility Study of a Wiki Collaboration Platform for Systematic Review (Text Version). December 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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