Reviewing Process on WikiVet for the OVAL Project
by Helen Dirrig
WikiVet aims to have all articles reviewed by an expert in the appropriate field. For the OVAL project,
disease datasheets from CABI and self-assessment books from Manson were used. The role of expert
reviewers was to check the information but most importantly to provide updates for any newly
discovered strains, new diagnostic methods or treatments. This would ensure that the most up-todate
information was available to the online veterinary community.
Reviewers were recruited by the WikiVet team and by CABI. The WikiVet team asked staff members
from the RVC, experts in farm animal virology, bacteriology and large animal clinical medicine.
CABI were able to contact experts from a wider range of backgrounds, including scientists from
Brazil, Egypt, Denmark, Germany, the USA and the UK.
An introductory email was sent to any prospective reviewers explaining the OVAL project and the
role of reviewing. It was explained that the articles were aimed at the undergraduate veterinary
student body and that they did not have to be comprehensive reviews of the pathogens or diseases.
A financial incentive of £30 per article reviewed was offered.
The reviewing process
Reviewers that accepted the task were sent Word documents of the articles from WikiVet. One
reviewer was already experienced in editing WikiVet and thus did not require the word document
and could make any necessary changes.
The response time from reviewers found by CABI was usually in the range of 2-3 weeks. RVC
reviewers tended to take a little more time and needed several reminders.
Reviewers were generally responsible for reviewing several articles from the OVAL list, as many as 19
for one expert.
Reviewers generally tracked any changes made using Word. Some people preferred making
annotations on a printed document, and one reviewer preferred to discuss changes in person.
Alterations generally concerned minor details and formatting. Diagnostic methods and treatments
were often supplemented. Reviewers also offered more up-to-date references for certain articles.
A considerable number of articles required no alterations at all.
Their recommendations were collected by a member of the WikiVet team and transcribed onto
The flashcards , which are question-and-answer pages associated with each article, were also altered
accordingly if any changes had been made.
The reviewer’s involvement with the article was acknowledged at the bottom of each article with a
box giving details of the reviewer’s name, qualifications, and the date the article was reviewed. A
follow-up email sent by the WikiVet team gave the reviewers the opportunity to provide a link to an
external page they may have about themselves, or offered to set up a page on WikiVet about their
Most reviewers already had external links or university staff pages, and a few WikiVet reviewer pages
Reviewers were sent a link to the finished article on WikiVet and encouraged to contact the team
with any comments.
Several reviewers provided positive feedback on the concept of the site and recommended other
diseases of importance that should be added to the database.
Reviewers were also sent an invoice form to claim for their work. Overall, they were quite efficient at
sending back the forms which were then forwarded on to the payroll team at the Royal Veterinary