October 2023 marked a new beginning for our team at Wikimedistas de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata, due to our expanding scope, which now covers the Museum as well as the University itself. This is a step we took towards breaking new ground and taking on new challenges.
The team at Wikimedistas del Museo de La Plata (Wikimedians of the Museum of La Plata) was established in May 2020, pledging their voluntary efforts to the mission of improving the contents of Natural Sciences, Anthropology, and other related areas across Wikimedia projects, reflecting a gendered point of view from the Global South. At the same time, we took on the task of training new specialized Wikimedians who will enrich our movement from their many fields of knowledge, in sync with our Free Knowledge and Open Science initiatives in academia.
During these last three years, we engaged different people and groups with whom we carried out activities and meetings that led us to rethink the way we conceived the team and how to reach a wider scope. Along the way, the demands that were made by colleagues from diverse fields allowed us to see the main advantage that an expansion toward academia had to offer: access to new Wikimedians who could be interested in what draws us together: Open Science and Free Knowledge.
The Breaking Point
During September 2023, the University hosted the First International Congress on Wikimedia, Education. and Digital Culture “WECUDI” (Primer Congreso Internacional sobre Wikimedia, Educación y Culturas Digitales “WECUDI”, in Spanish). The numerous exchanges that took place in the event, along with the deep interest shown by the participating people and collectives made all members of the team notice the need for a wider horizon.
In the current political landscape, where the defense of free and high-quality Public Education and science as government policies is so important, contributing to Free Knowledge and Open Science as researchers, teachers, and college students is a challenge that moves us forward. Additionally, one of our goals is to give support to new wikimedians in their path to establish themselves as autonomous and engaged editors, who might be interested in forming new teams. This is why we decided to take the lessons and experiences of these years a step further, to open the field for members of the La Plata National University (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, in Spanish) to join the Wikimedia Movement.
To this end, we set up camp at UNLP’s Public Library, a workspace that helped dynamize our labor and keep us connected to stakeholders at the University, with whom we’ve already planned some joint events and activities. Moreover, this move will allow us to better improve the contents about the university itself, taking advantage of the available sources, archives, and collections that can be found at the library.
Contributing to the Movement from the academic and scientific community is still our North (or, actually, our South), and for this reason, along with an identity shift, we’re materializing a long-awaited project: the Network of Wikimedians for Open Science, a space that seeks to link researchers, research groups, academic institutions, Science and Technology organisms, and anyone who would like to participate, to help us create and improve academic content in Wikimedia projects while fomenting the development of Open Science in Argentina and other Latin American countries.
This stage will undoubtedly be filled with new challenges that will make us grow as a Team, and will also allow us to contribute to Free Knowledge from our modest place in the world.
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