Cameron Neylon, biophysicist and open research advocate, will serve as the next Distinguished Innovator in Residence at Virginia Tech. He will give the keynote address during Virginia Tech’s Open Access Week.

Neylon’s talk, "Network Enabled Research: the Challenge for Institutions," will be held Monday, Oct. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson-Brown Auditorium. Neylon’s visit to Virginia Tech is sponsored by the University Libraries, the Graduate School, and Learning Technologies.

As an open research advocate, Neylon is committed to raising awareness about the importance making academic research freely available on the Web. Neylon is advocacy director for the Public Library of Science and was previously worked at the ISIS Neutron Scattering facility and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the United Kingdom. 

“As researchers, we have an obligation to ensure that we maximize the benefit that arises from the public’s investment in our work,” Neylon said. “We have good evidence that open approaches, in general, outperform closed ones. So open approaches are just one way of ensuring we deliver on the investment in our work.”

A series of other events about open access will be held on campus during Neylon’s visit, including an information session about VTechWorks, the university’s institutional repository, faculty and graduate student panels about open access and a knowledge drive.

“Open access breaks down barriers to information access and provides opportunities for researchers to make connections across disciplines,” said Tyler Walters, dean of University Libraries. “It is an important bridge to innovation and allows academic research to have a greater impact on the world.”

"We are committed to raising awareness of open access and to providing researchers with options for sharing their creative contributions with a broader audience,” said Julie Speer, associate dean for research and informatics at the University Libraries. “Neylon's visit presents an important opportunity for the Virginia Tech community to engage in a timely discussion of the issues."

The open access movement is making significant waves in academic publishing, and is challenging traditional ideas about scholarship.

“Open access is an important concept that needs to be discussed and understood in the higher education community,” said Karen DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education. “There are many implications, especially related to publishing and sharing information. It is important to open this dialogue, and I’m glad we will be able to engage in these discussions during Virginia Tech's Open Access Week.”

The Distinguished Innovator in Residence is a joint program between Learning Technologies and the University Libraries that brings great thinkers and leaders in the world of technological innovation to Virginia Tech. During his residency, Neylon will visit classes and consult with students, faculty and staff about open research.

“Our goal with the Distinguished Innovator in Residence program is to bring creative people together to talk about how to benefit modern learning communities,” Anne Moore, associate vice president for learning technologies, said. “Important innovations are reshaping higher education today — these innovations ask us all to think in new ways about what we do and how we do it.”

Neylon's academic work as a biophysicist and his advocacy for open research makes him a perfect candidate for Distinguished Innovator, according to Gardner Campbell, director of professional development and innovative initiatives for learning technologies. “Each Distinguished Innovator in Residence strengthens Virginia Tech's network of innovation, a network that empowers us to invent the future — together," Campbell said. 

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