Elsevier’s WiserWiki

Elsevier's new medical wiki, WiserWiki is now live and "in Beta." 

I hadn't realized until now exactly how worried publishers might be about tools like AskDrWiki and Ganfyd. I always thought that AskDrWiki or Ganfyd, if developed and maintained well, might threaten to take business away from UpToDate, DynaMed, MDConsult or other similar products- but it would appear that Elsevier sees them as a bigger threat than I have. Why else start a brand-new medical wiki and seed it with content they own from John Noble’s “Textbook of Primary Care Medicine”? In doing this, Elsevier probably hopes to gather the users that would otherwise use Ganfyd or AskDrWiki (or Wikipedia). This way, they can sell advertising and promote their own offerings. Brilliant.

Still, I think it'll bomb. Sure, people will be happy to make use of the free content that Elsevier seeded it with, but I think that Physicians inclined to contribute to a wiki will prefer to contribute to AskDrWiki or Ganfyd.

WiserWiki's Terms and Conditions say:

All content in this Site, including site layout, design, images, programs, text and other information (collectively, the “Content”) is the property of Elsevier and its affiliated companies or licensors and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. You may not copy, display, distribute, modify, publish, reproduce, store, transmit, create derivative works from, or sell or license all or any part of the Content, products or services obtained from this Site in any medium to anyone, except as otherwise expressly permitted under applicable law or as described in these Terms and Conditions or relevant license or subscriber agreement.

Really? Even the stuff that contributors write?

We do not claim ownership of any material that you provide to us (including feedback and suggestions) or post, upload, input or submit on or through this Site, including our blog pages, message boards, chat rooms and forums, for review by the general public or by the members of any public or private community (“Submission”) and we are not responsible for its content or accuracy.


Okay, I guess that's good…

…However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting (“Posting”) your Submission you grant us, our affiliated companies and sublicensees permission to display, publish and otherwise use your Submission in any format in connection with the operation of our respective businesses (including, without limitation, the Site). No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of your Submission. We are under no obligation to display or otherwise use any Submission you may provide, and we may remove any Submission at any time in our sole discretion.


So…Elsevier provides the server and hosting…and physicians write the content…but Elsevier can leverage the content for profit? I think that if a physician is the sort of community-minded sharer who gives her/his time and expertise for free (hint: these are the sorts of physicians who contribute to Wikipedia or medical wikis), he/she will probably prefer to give it to a non-profit than to let Elsevier make money off of it.

 And what about this:

Q: Who holds the copyright to the information submitted on this site?
A: Contributors retain the copyright to information they contribute to WiserWiki. Please read our Terms & Conditions.

How do you simultaneously have authors retain copyright…and have documents editable by registered users? Perhaps Elsevier intends for contributors to only submit full, complete articles for consideration of inclusion…but wouldn't that defeat about half the purpose of making the site a wiki instead of a digital book?

(Added to the List of Medical Wikis)

5 thoughts on “Elsevier’s WiserWiki

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