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What is WikiPathways

WikiPathways was established to facilitate the contribution and maintenance of pathway information by the biology community. WikiPathways is an open, collaborative platform dedicated to the curation of biological pathways. WikiPathways thus presents a new model for pathway databases that enhances and complements ongoing efforts, such as KEGG, Reactome and Pathway Commons. Building on the same MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia, we added a custom graphical pathway editing tool and integrated databases covering major gene, protein, and small-molecule systems. The familiar web-based format of WikiPathways greatly reduces the barrier to participate in pathway curation. More importantly, the open, public approach of WikiPathways allows for broader participation by the entire community, ranging from students to senior experts in each field. This approach also shifts the bulk of peer review, editorial curation, and maintenance to the community.

Why Pathways

Strictly speaking, one could argue that pathways don't exist... there are only networks. Nonetheless, pathways are useful. Biological pathways provide intuitive views of the myriad of interactions underlying biological processes. A typical signaling pathway, for example, can represent receptor-binding events, protein complexes, phosphorylation reactions, translocations and transcriptional regulation, with only a minimal set of symbols, lines and arrows. These powerful representations are essential tools, common among the textbooks and review articles that document any given field of biology. Making these tools available for computational methods of analysis will allow researchers to connect pathways to databases of biological annotations and experimental data, creating effective products of systems biology. Collecting and maintaining pathway information in a robust database, however, is an ongoing challenge.

How Does it Work

Each pathway at WikiPathways has a dedicated wiki page, displaying the current diagram, description, references, download options, version history, and component gene and protein lists. Any pathway can be edited from within its wiki page by activating an embedded pathway editor. After editing, an updated pathway image is displayed on the wiki page along with the version history and list of component genes and proteins. Users can easily monitor and undo changes, compare differences and search for overlapping pathways. Using the search feature, one can locate particular pathways by name, by the genes and proteins they contain, or by the text displayed in their descriptions and comments. One can also browse the collection of pathways with combinations of species names and ontology-based categories. The pathway content at WikiPathways is freely available for download in a variety of data and image formats, including GPML, which is a custom XML format compatible with pathway visualization and analysis tools such as Cytoscape, GenMAPP and PathVisio. We are adding new features all the time. Visit the Help pages to learn how to use the latest features.

Who is Involved

Find information about the WikiPathways team.

For questions, comments or suggestions, please post a message to the discussion mailinglist

Or join us at the help desk!

Additional contact:

  • Alex Pico: apico[AT]
  • Martina Kutmon: mkutmon [AT]

Note that though WikiPathways is inspired by the open philosophy of Wikipedia and other wiki's, it is an independent project and not directly related to Wikipedia or other projects of the Wikimedia foundation

How to cite WikiPathways

When referring to the latest website or content, please cite the most recent update paper:

  • Slenter DN, Kutmon M, Hanspers K, Riutta A, Windsor J, Nunes N, Mélius J, Cirillo E, Coort SL, Digles D, Ehrhart F, Giesbertz P, Kalafati M, Martens M, Miller R, Nishida K, Rieswijk L, Waagmeester A, Eijssen LMT, Evelo CT, Pico AR, Willighagen EL. WikiPathways: a multifaceted pathway database bridging metabolomics to other omics research Nucleic Acids Research, (2017)

When referring to specific issues described in previous update papers, please cite the respective paper:

  • Kutmon M, Riutta A, Nunes N, Hanspers K, Willighagen EL, Bohler A, Mélius J, Waagmeester A, Sinha SR, Miller R, Coort SL, Cirillo E, Smeets B, Evelo CT, Pico AR. WikiPathways: capturing the full diversity of pathway knowledge Nucl. Acids Res., 44, D488-D494 (2016) doi:10.1093/nar/gkv1024
  • Kelder T, van Iersel MP, Hanspers K, Kutmon M, Conklin BR, Evelo C, Pico AR. WikiPathways: building research communities on biological pathways. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(Database issue):D1301-7 (link to article)

When referring to the web services, please cite:

  • Kelder T, Pico AR, Hanspers K, van Iersel MP, Evelo C, Conklin BR. (2009) Mining Biological Pathways Using WikiPathways Web Services. PLoS ONE 4(7): (link to article)

When referring to the origins of WikiPathways, please cite:

  • Pico AR, Kelder T, van Iersel MP, Hanspers K, Conklin BR, Evelo C. (2008) WikiPathways: Pathway Editing for the People. PLoS Biol 6(7): (link to article)

When using or referencing WikiPathways in general, please cite the main page:

When using, referencing or redistributing particular pathways, please cite the specific pathway, for example:

  • When citing the live version of a pathway, attribution to individual contributors is not necessary. WikiPathways will track and display contributions from individual authors and curators to each pathway on each pathway page. So as long as hyperlinks are provided to WikiPathways, the evolving list of contributors will be indirectly referenced.
  • However, if you are referencing a specific version of a pathway (even including the current version), then it is important to include a URL of the form: This approach is useful if you want to maintain a link to a snapshot of the pathway and not have future changes obscure your original points. Use the "r" argument in the URL to refer to particular revision ID numbers, which you can find in the History section of each pathway page.
  • Also, when referencing a specific version, it is appropriate to list the individual contributors, since future contributors are not an issue. Thus, the reference might look like this:

Salomonis N, Pico A, Hanspers K: SIDS Susceptibility Pathways (Homo sapiens).

Open Access and Open Source

We are committed to open access and open source. All content is available under our license terms. All source code for WikiPathways and the PathVisio applet is available under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

Funding and Support

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