I have had the opportunity to work as a Wikipedian-in-Residence at the RIDC NeuroMat, in Brazil, and in this context I have contributed to organize and animate thematic edit-a-thons focusing on Neuroscience and Mathematics. So far, NeuroMat has held four of such edit-a-thons, and this newsletter piece is meant to provide a context to this sequence of outreach activities.
Founded in 2013 and located at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (RIDC NeuroMat) has among its goals the integration of mathematical modeling and theoretical neuroscience and the diffusion of scientific knowledge through open educational resources, in this case, Wikimedia Foundation projects. Started in July 2014, its Wikipedia Initiative has been working in many areas, such as uploading images in Wikimedia Commons, adding spoken articles about mathematics, creating and improving pages related to neuroscience, mathematics, accessibility and mathematical education.
So far, NeuroMat held four edit-a-thons, with a mean of 15 registered editors each one. At least, 39 articles in neuroscience and mathematics are now considerably better due to this initiative. Taking into account only the third and the fourth edit-a-thons, more 38,000 words were added and 25 files were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The articles edited have been viewed more than 256,000 times. Edit-a-thons are helpful not only because of their impact. During events of this kind, it is possible to teach basic edition skills to a great deal of users at the same time. Also, teachers and students are stimulated to collaborate in a more egalitarian way compared to the hierarchy in classroom. They are also very useful to suggest topics and make editors aware of underdeveloped themes.
On June 10 we held the first planning meeting of the Women of Culture project. Three attendees and two online attended the meeting. During the meeting we discussed strategies for articulating stakeholders and possible partners for the project and the first pilot plan was outlined, in order to distribute activities within the ‘working group’.
The second meeting happened in July 22 and was focused on presenting the Wikimedia projects, their basic editing rules and how to work with some of them in order to reach the objectives of the project, e.g., to improve content about women on Wikipedia PT and Wikidata. We also talked about the need to gather sources about women, meet and apply style of writing more appropriate to gender equality in women's articles, e.g. Over the next few months all volunteers should start their first editions on Wikipedia with some article from the Women of Culture list, prioritizing articles with spelling or grammar problems or those marked for deletion or as a sketch. The deadline for completing this first challenge is September/October 2017.
During the month of June we finalized a project developed together with the students of the technical course in Museology of the Etec Parque da Juventude. The project started in October 2016 and was extended throughout the first half of 2017. Based on research carried out by the group of students at four museums in the state of São Paulo (Paulo Setúbal Museum, Visconde de Mauá Historic and Pedagogical Museum, Dom Pedro I and Dona Leopoldina Historic and Pedagogical Museum and Prudente de Morais Museum), students have been able to improve and develop the available content on institutions on Wikipedia. On June 28th and 29th, the students presented their work to complete the course and highlighted the results of the project, with the process of researching, writing and structuring the articles on Wikipedia and inserting images of the collections and institutions in Wikimedia Commons.
At the end of June, we also had a meeting with the staff of the Pro Dean of Culture and Extension of the University of São Paulo (USP) to discuss possibilities of having Wikimedia activities during the Art and Culture Week of USP in September.
In the months of June, July and August, we also completed the translation of the publication How to work successfully with Wikipedia: a guide to galleries, archives, libraries and museums and articulate institutions interested in integrating the report of their experiences with GLAM projects to the new version of publication. The launch is scheduled for November 2017.