At Wikimania 2014 James Heilman – Canadian emergency room physician – gave a presentation on Wikipedia and Medicine .
He explained how leading non-profit health organizations like the Cochrane Collaboration, Cancer Research UK and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) help to improve Wikipedia’s content, and that of its sister projects. In particular James talked about the WikiProject Medicine Translation task force where medical content on the English Wikipedia is improved and simplified by non-profit Wiki Project Med Foundation (100 people from 20 countries), then translated into many languages by volunteers from Translators without Borders , co-founded by CEO Lori Thicke.
In good open project fashion the ambitions are stellar: bring 100 medical articles to good/featured article status (GA/FA), and translate those, plus 1000 abbreviated articles, into as many languages as there are Wikipedias. The project page shows their very impressive progress in languages as Hindi, Chinese, Persian, Indonesian, Turkish, Swahili. But many more language projects have been started, also for languages where overall Wikipedia coverage is very limited, like Quechua, Yoruba to name just a few.
After the conference I reached out to the project and made a script to parse the project page, extract the links to the published articles for all languages, look-up the monthly page views in our monthly aggregated page view dump and regularly present the results in a (I hope) informative status page, with a (I’m certain) boring layout. As page views per article are currently only collected for WMF’s non-mobile site, the extra mobile page views were by necessity estimated (we do know overall percentage mobile traffic per wiki).
For many languages the stats are clearly encouraging: on the Japanese Wikipedias the 5 articles get on average almost 25K views each per month, on Spanish 23K, Italian 15K. For some languages, particularly those where Wikipedia after many years are still in the start-up phase, numbers seem disappointing: and some may indeed be, but there is a technical artifact that also comes into play (*).
Suppose the 23 monthly page views for the article on Dengue Fever on the Farsi Wikipedia (110M speakers) are indeed accurate (it may well be the technical artifact fools us here, but suppose), if someone prints 10 copies of the article and puts these up for display at 10 health posts. Wouldn’t that already make it worthwhile?
* Tech details: one issue with the stats is many of lowest scoring ‘page titles’ are actually redirects. I query the API to find the proper article to which the redirect resolves, but as there is no standard encoding for the page titles in the dump file (titles are counted and written in the encoding in which they are received) not all resolved redirects were actually found in the dump file. A good reason to apply standard encoding to page titles, if not before actual counting takes places (may be too costly for this real-time process), then in aggregation phase (post processing).