GLAM/Newsletter/August 2017/Contents/Brazil report
Edit-a-thons to spread mathematics and neuroscience; Women of Culture and other activities
Edit-a-thons to spread mathematics and neuroscience
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.
During the First NeuroMat Young Researchers Workshop, the Brazilian research center held its first edit-a-thon Neuroscience and Mathematics. From May 5th to 7th, 2015, seven students worked on articles directly related to the main areas of study of NeuroMat, for instance, somatotopic arrangement, stochastic processes, stochastic chains with memory of variable length and probability density function. The event was organized in partnership with the User Group Wikimedia in Brazil.
On August 29th, 2016, helped by the same group, NeuroMat hosted its second edit-a-thon, this time with 13 participants. The user ThiagoTVarella created the article about symmetric difference. Improved pages included phase transition, complement (set theory), metric (mathematics), luteinizing hormone, altered state of consciousness and numerical base conversion.
The third edit-a-thon on neuroscience and mathematics was preceded by a lecture on the Year of Science experience, given by LiAnna Davis, from the Wiki Education Foundation. On March 13th, 2017, there were 24 participants and their contributions may be seen with details in this Outreach Dashboard report. They improved articles related to important people in the history of mathematics and neuroscience, such as Maryam Mirzakhani, Lauretta Bender and Alois Alzheimer, topics in neuroscience, for instance, neurosociology and neuropsychoanalysis, and mathematics, such as prime factor, Cartesian coordinate system, height (geometry), triangle and the number five.
Participants were stimulated to improve articles related to statistics, a considerably underexplored domain in Portuguese Wikipedia, during the fourth edit-a-thon on neuroscience and mathematics. As a result, the articles on beta distribution, gamma distribution and F distribution of Fisher-Snedecor received significant attention. The 16 registered editors also improved pages about the mathematicians Lev Pontryagin, Anatoli Vitushkin, Norman Johnson, Max Dehn, and other subjects in mathematics, for example, Cholesky decomposition, braid theory, prime knots, the zero to the zero power problem, Hilbert’s problems, genus-two surfaces, tangrams. Besides the article geometry itself, participants added content to other pages in the same area, such as cuboctaheadron, sphenocorona and icosahedron.
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.
Women of Culture and other activities
Women of Culture
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.