EPISTEMONIKOS combines the best of Evidence-Based Health Care and information technologies to provide a unique tool for people making decisions concerning clinical or health-policy questions.
Epistemonikos is a collaborative, multilingual database of research evidence and knowledge translation products that are usually referred as "evidence", according to the meaning given in Evidence-Based Health Care.The greek word epistemonikos was used by Aristotles, meaning "What is worth knowing". This word was later translated into latin as scientia. We have picked this name because of several reasons.1- The intention to separate "the wheat from the chaff" in Health research: We are not saying that the chaff is not important, but we do believe some information has more weight than other (there is a hierarchy of evidence).2- The pretension of emphasizing real and endurable scientific knowledge: Episteme is a root derived from the Greek word ἐπιστήμη for knowledge or science, from the verb ἐπίσταμαι, "to know". It is usually opposed to doxa (common belief or popular opinion). Is has also been contraposed to techne (craftsmanship, craft, or art) but we are not referring to this meaning (this is a rough simplification of a huge philosophical issue. Apologies to philosophers and knowledgeable people in general).3- The importance of using a universal language: Even though the English has become the lingua franca of health sciences, it is known that language is still a major barrier for many clinicians and policy-makers in the world. Our vision is to create a site where users don't see the difference between using English or their own language.4- Users build knowledge: Another translation of epistemonikos is "the one who generates knowledge". We firmly believe that everyone can be part of this process and will continuously intend to engage users in finding, creating, appraising or disseminating new knowledge.We want to emphasize that epistemonikos is a work in progress. What you are seeing is the beta version, with the basic functionalities and a restricted amount of information available. We will work hard in order to perfecting this version, incorporating more information and developing new functionalities. Feedback is most welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.orgAbout epistemonikos and what it does at this timeStructure of the database: We have created a relational database that allows users to navigate from one related document to another. These relationships follow the principles of Evidence-Based Health Care; however the user does not need to know about this methodology in order to obtain the best available evidence. The conceptual framework for this way of linking the evidence relies on what we have named "the dolmen" a 5-categories diagram that can accommodate all what is usually called "evidence". The dolmen is displayed in the lower portion of each document, showing the related articles.Search engine: We have incorporated an intuitive search page. It follows the same principles of general search engines (e.g. google). The cardinal difference with these resources comes at the moment of displaying the results. So, from any piece of information that answers the health question, regardless of its relevance, the user gets access to the best available evidence. Multilingual functionalities: The database is fully searchable in 9 languages. It also provides an automatic translation of title and abstracts for all the available documents. Some users can collaboratively edit these translations, in an easy way. and a team is in charge of a minimal editorial process. The documents that have an official translation become "not editable". This is the case for translations made by the publishing journal, the authors, or other formal initiatives (e.g. the Cochrane Library plus, which is the Spanish translation of the Cochrane Library).Systematic database: The traditional approach to decide upon the inclusion of documents into a health care database relies on articles published in indexed journals. It is known that studies showing a positive result (i.e. the intervention being evaluated shows a beneficial effect), are more likely to be published in high-impact journals, mainly in English. This incorporates what is called publication bias: Positive trials are overrepresented if only published, English, high impact journals are considered. Systematic reviews intend to minimize this form of bias through a series of methods to locate all available evidence, even if it hasn’t been published.Epistemonikos uses a different approach, since it indexes all the studies included in systematic reviews. This method allows users to have an unbiased estimation of the effects of interventions.