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About the importance of editing the Wikipedia articles on brachial plexus injury

Last month, we published a report on the two brachial plexus entries that were published by the Center for Research, Innovation, and Diffusion in Neuromathematics (CEPID NeuroMat) in Wikipedia. As posted in our penultimate publication, the two edited entries had added, so far, 296,390 views. However, with the visibility of the June 13 post on ABRAÇO's social networks, 4,427 new views were recorded, according to Wikipedia.

The visualizations show the importance of diffusion through the wiki platforms, stating how this work is relevant to awareness of brachial plexus injury. Whether it's the patient, family, professional or curious public, those editions are a strategy that our initiative will continue to pursue, always seeking awareness of the injury and increasing decision-making power. The idea of using Wikipedia came from its high reach capacity. In Brazil, it is considered the 13th most accessed site, according to Amazon data. Besides, because it is an open knowledge tool that can be freely copied, altered, accessed and shared, Wikipedia addresses NeuroMat's concern with free, democratic, and open science.

To talk a bit more about the experience of editing these entries, we interviewed Dr. Cristiane Borges Patroclo. She is a neurologist and Ph.D. in Physiology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and her ongoing Ph.D. thesis talks about the development of prognostic models for the traumatic injury of the brachial plexus. Cristiane was also one of the responsible for editing the entries on the brachial plexus injury.

Since edits, the entry received 296,390 views. In that context, what do you think about the use of Wikipedia for scientific diffusion?

Cristiane Patroclo: I think Wikipedia has great potential to become a reliable and relevant source of information. With this purpose, Wikipedia can contribute to the approximation between who produces knowledge and who is interested in it and will benefit from using it.

How was the experience of contributing to the editing of these entries? Did you like (or dislike) anything?

CP: It was an enriching experience. It imposed on me the challenge of writing on a technical subject for non-specialists and in an accessible language. Since I made my contributions, the version available on Wikipedia has undergone several modifications. This aspect is characteristic of the tool. Initially, this situation can generate some discomfort, because the text can be changed in a way that does not always please the previous collaborator. However, this possibility also allows for several points of view to be incorporated into the entry. That's why I emphasize its collaborative aspect. I believe that the challenge is to balance the two situations always aiming at the truthfulness and accessibility of the material made available.

What is the importance of the brachial plexus (and brachial plexus injury) entries for people who have suffered the injury and their families?

CP: Our project is about traumatic brachial plexus injuries in adults. Over the years we have seen a lack of information for patients and family members. Lack of information, or worse, the availability of misleading information, generates beliefs and can lead patients and family members to adopt behaviors that do not contribute positively to their recovery and may harm them. Also among health professionals, the lack of familiarity with the disease leads to delays in their diagnosis and treatment, compromising the chances of recovery. Thus, initiatives that promote the diffusion of knowledge are very welcome.