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Names such as Florence Durham and Elizabeth Press may not immediately spring to mind when considering the history of medicine but efforts are under way to get them recognised alongside the likes of Francis Crick and Sir John Gurdon on one of the world’s most influential platforms: Wikipedia. Last week the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) hosted an “edit-a-thon”, aimed at bolstering entries for female Medical Research Council-affiliated scientists and creating articles for others who have been forgotten. Held on 25 July – symbolic as the birthday of the often overlooked X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin – the event is the first of six that the MRC is running throughout 2013 as part of its centenary celebrations. Attendees at the session, 20 women and three men, were versed in how to create and edit articles and given access to the NIMR Library and Wellcome Library collections to help create content. Not only are female scientists under-represented on Wikipedia pages, less than 10 per cent of the website’s editors are thought to be women, representatives from Wikimedia UK – the national charity that supports the online encyclopedia – told attendees. Edith Sim, dean of science, engineering and computing at Kingston University, worked on the page about Elizabeth Press, an immunologist who contributed to research into the structure of antibodies that won Rodney Porter the 1972 Nobel prize, but who Professor Sim said remained “hidden” to the public. Professor Sim had never before edited a Wikipedia page but said she planned to use the skills to boost the profiles of female academics at her own institution.
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