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Virginia Tech and SHARE initiative aim to maximize university research impact

February 9, 2016

Blacksburg, Va. – The SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE), led by founding director Tyler Walters, dean of University Libraries at Virginia Tech, is a higher education initiative seeking to create a widely accessible, comprehensive inventory of research across institutions.

This inventory will provide university and global researchers with a free and open data set of research. The data set will include scholarly activity throughout its life cycle, allowing researchers to discover and access relevant research as it emerges.

SHARE has received $1.2 million from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to complete the next phases of its project.

"We currently do not have a comprehensive source of information on research activity, meaning who is doing what, where, when, and at what stage,” said Walters.

“The SHARE data set will provide stakeholders with the ability to be aware of, understand, and analyze research activity as well as notify others of their own research. Virginia Tech is leading the way in this endeavor due to our leadership in research-related information technologies and our progressive vision for improving the impact of research on all of society."

Previously, print-based publishing of research often limited the sharing of research information to the final, published product in journals and books. Now that information is digital, research activity can be made available in whatever stages researchers wish: the awarding of grants, data collection, sharing data and software code, publication, archiving, and distributing final publications and data sets.

SHARE aims to not only make published research more accessible, but also to connect and support researchers at these different stages of the research process. Project stakeholders also hope SHARE will give researchers more outlets that will maximize their research audience.

In the first phase of this project, SHARE’s Notify service began providing a stream of research activity from over 70 sources, distributing links to millions of researchers across the world.

In the next phase of the project, which is also supported by the IMLS and the Sloan Foundation, SHARE’s project team will collect feedback from research universities regarding the value and challenges of tracking and reporting their research activities. At Virginia Tech, Walters and Julie Speer, associate dean for Research and Informatics at the University Libraries, will work with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost to evaluate research tracking and reporting systems Virginia Tech has in place, exploring how the university can interact with and contribute to SHARE.

“As a global land grant institution, Virginia Tech is addressing many challenges and opportunities presented by current changes in higher education,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis. “Providing access to research and developing new ways to connect researchers are important challenges to overcome. Virginia Tech is poised to offer solutions based on our expertise in information and data sciences, and through our libraries’ involvement with SHARE.”

SHARE is an initiative led by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and founded with the support of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). SHARE has partnered with the Center for Open Science (COS) for infrastructure development. SHARE is supported in part by generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

 

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