WikiJournal Preprints/Accessing health information online in Sweden: Swedish Wikipedia

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Health-related content on Wikipedia is available in 274 languages and receives millions of views daily from around the world. Wikipedia is the 5th most popular website in Sweden. The 4500 medical articles on Swedish Wikipedia received over 35 million page views in 2018. Accurate and unbiased medical information shared on Swedish Wikipedia has the potential to reach a large number of people in Sweden. The goal of this observational study was to understand the use the use of Wikipedia for obtaining health-related information in Swedish in order to promote initiative and partnerships to continue to improve these free online resources. Our results findings showed that Wikipedia is a commonly used resource in Sweden and information is access in both English and Swedish. The top viewed medical article on Swedish Wikipedia was Narcissistic personality disorder, which was accessed approximately 30,000 times in 2018. Ensuring the information being accessed related to human health in Sweden may help ensure that people are receiving high-quality, unbiased, and clear medical information.



Wikipedia is the world’s largest encyclopedia and is ranked as the 5th most popular website in the world according to Alexa, Inc..[1] Wikipedia articles related to human health and medicine received an estimated 4.7 billion page views across all languages in 2018.[2] Wikipedia articles come up early in a Google Search for health-related keywords in many countries and medical content on Wikipedia is available in over 274 languages.[3] The readership of these medical articles varies widely and ranges from members of the public, consumers, medical students, clinicians, journalists, and policymakers.[4] In many parts of the world, Wikipedia plays an important role in public health. Given the extensive viewership, ensuring that the information presented in Wikipedia articles is unbiased and of high quality is important.[5]

Initiatives to improve the quality and reliability of medical content on Wikipedia are expanding. Medical schools are starting to incorporate Wikipedia editing into their undergraduate curriculum,[6][7] organizations such as Cochrane have established partnerships with Wikipedia with the goal of sharing high-quality health evidence on Wikipedia to improve access to reliable medical information, and there are numerous Wikipedia projects that include translating Wikipedia’s medical content into different languages and making Wikipedia’s medical content available offline.

In this observational study, we were interested in learning more about Sweden’s use of medical content on Wikipedia to determine the potential reach of an initiative to improve Swedish medical content on Wikipedia.



This observational study included of a literature search on both MedLine and in the grey literature for information related to online health content in Swedish and online trends. Wikistat, a freely available tool to determine page views on Wikipedia, was used to estimate the article views and percentage from Swedish IP addresses.[8] Trends over time were also estimated using Wikistat. Medical articles in Swedish-language Wikipedia were identified by WikiProject Medicine, a usergroup on Wikipedia that promotes the improvement of medical content on Wikipedia. Results and statistics were peformed in excel and reviewed by two authors (JD and JH).




 June 2018-May 2019 overall page views for Swedish Wikipedia (

Reproduced from WMF siteviews tool

The population of Sweden is approximately 10 million.[9] 91% of people in Sweden report that they speak more than one language, and 86% speak English.[10] Wikipedia is the 5th most popular website in Sweden.[1] Swedish Wikipedia content received over 1.1 billion article views in 2018 (Figure 1), and approximately 92% of these article views originated from Swedish IP addresses.[8] People in Sweden accessed Swedish Wikipedia articles 78.24 million times in the month of April 2019 and accessed English Wikipedia articles 53.15 million times in the same month.[8]

Swedish medical content on Wikipedia is growing with more than 4,500 medical-related articles available as of 2019.[2] This content was accessed over 34 million times in 2018. As shown in Table 1, the top 25 medical articles on Swedish Wikipedia received page views ranging from 88,000 - 290,000 page views in 2018. The top 500 medical articles alone on Swedish Wikipedia received close to 19 million page views in 2018. One initiative run by the Swedish Agency of Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU) has successfully employed a part-time Wikipedian in Residence.[11]

Table 1 | 2018 page view statistics for the top 25 medical articles on Swedish Wikipedia
Rank Swedish Wikipedia article name English translation 2018 Page Views
1 Narcissistisk personlighetsstörning Narcissistic personality disorder 294595
2 Blodtryck Blood pressure 136740
3 Psykopati Psychopathy 134033
4 Bipolär sjukdom Bipolar disorder 126799
5 Mässling Measles 126549
6 Münchhausen by proxy Factitious disorder imposed on another 124806
7 Downs syndrom Down syndrome 124369
8 Horners syndrom Horner's syndrome 124023
9 Cannabis Cannabis (drug) 123399
10 Medellivslängd Life expectancy 121500
11 Digerdöden Black Death 118209
12 Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci 116567
13 Schizofreni Schizophrenia 114682
14 Blodgrupp Blood type 114646
15 Sömnparalys Sleep paralysis 111600
16 Autism Autism 108980
17 Bensodiazepiner Benzodiazepine 103819
18 Fentanyl Fentanyl 100616
19 Tonsillolit Tonsillolith 98172
20 Tuberkulos Tuberculosis 95978
21 Etanol Ethanol 95674
22 Aspergers syndrom Asperger syndrome 93906
23 ADHD ADHD 92034
24 Puls Pulse 89299
25 Borderline personlighetsstörning Borderline personality disorder 88156



The vast majority of Swedes (88%) use the internet to collect information pertaining to their health.[12] Residents presently have free online access to their personal health records though the government run website "1177 e-service",[13] which receives approximately 7 million page view each month.[14] 94% of young adults in Sweden report that they search the internet for health-related information.[15] This health seeking trend in young adults is not only for their information related to their personal healthy, but also the healthy of friends and family members.[15] "", is a popular Swedish health information website and receives approximately 1.2 million page views per month.[16] The goals of online health search behaviour may vary, however these is evidence that young adults search search for information on the internet in order to avoid the need to visit a health care professional in person. An estimated one-third of young people report accessing online health-related materials after an in-person visit to a medical professional.[15] Given that Swedish medical articles on Wikipedia receive over 34 million web site views for 4,500 articles per year (approx. 2.4 million visits per month), we feel that improving the existing resources on Wikipedia is a worthwhile endeavour.

Additional information


Competing interests


Jennifer Dawson works for Cochrane as a Wikipedia Consultant and is an active board Member of Wikimedia Medicine (Wiki Project Medicine Foundation). James Heilman is on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation and is a special advisor of Wiki Project Med Foundation.

Author Contributions


Methods Design: JD, JH
Data Collection: JD, EK, JH
First Draft of the manuscript: JD
Critical Review: JD, CFJ, JH
Approval of Final Version: JD, CFJ, JH
Corresponding Author: JD


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