Medpedia or Knol, doc?

Anonymous prestige or money and fame? That's the choice doctors who write face today as Medpedia approaches its launch date and Google announces the launch of Knol.

Anonymous prestige or money and fame?

That's the choice doctors who write face today as Medpedia approaches its launch date and Google announces the launch of Knol.

Medpedia logoMedpedia is a joint-venture among leading medical schools which will collect data from those institutions in hopes of building an authoritative online health guide.

No one is getting paid, and no one is getting bylines. But there will be peer review, and a global search for content.

Medpedia says it is bringing the Wikipedia model to health, but it's really bringing the medical peer review model to the world of wikis.

Why support it? For institutional benefits, which can lead to career advancement. As the Chronicle of Higher Education notes the standards are opaque and there is the risk of hidden agendas. Just like on any other campus.

Knol logoOr you can go to Knol.

The Google blog notes that the Knol model is far more transparent. Authors' names are published, but others can suggest changes which may be accepted -- Google calls this moderated collaboration.

There is also a business model. Authors can take Google ads on their pages and get a cut of the revenue.

But what happens when multiple authors try to own articles on a subject where they strongly disagree? And will organizations come to control Knol -- Google is already taking contributions from at least one magazine.

Then there is a question often asked at this site. Will people write for Knol with an aim toward traffic or accuracy? Will doctors whose work is rejected by the profession use Knol to boost their unorthodox views?

The ultimate question is for you. Who will you trust? Someone who signs their articles, and may lack authority, or one who doesn't, but who claims to be an authority?

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