Tyler Walters, dean of University Libraries at Virginia Tech, has been named the founding director of SHARE initiative.

SHARE, which stands for SHared Access Research Ecosystem, was established in 2013 to ensure the preservation of, access to, and reuse of research outputs, such as articles, conference papers, and research data sets. SHARE is a collaborative initiative of the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to provide the public with open, online access to research and scholarship.

During this two-year appointment, Walters will continue to serve as dean of University Libraries while working with leaders from other libraries and higher education institutions from around the world to develop technology to support the digital curation and sharing of research.

“We are thrilled that Tyler Walters will be the founding director of SHARE,” said Elliott Shore, executive director of the the Association of Research Libraries. “He has played a vital leadership role in SHARE since its inception, as a co-chair of the steering group. I’m confident that he will deftly guide SHARE into a bright future, realizing the initiative’s goals to expand access to research and enable the community to build upon research in creative and productive ways.”

As co-chair of the SHARE Steering Group, Walters collaborated with SHARE partners from around the world to explore ways to maximize the benefits of research to science and society through access to research information. 

In the past year, he has driven SHARE to develop policies and workflows that meet the needs of researchers, libraries, universities, funding agencies, and other key stakeholders to broaden the impact of research.

Since his appointment as dean in 2011, Walters has guided Virginia Tech’s University Libraries to better support today’s researchers through research data management and consulting, technology development, and digital scholarship production. With its own institutional repository, VTechWorks, already in place, University Libraries continues to advance the university’s reputation for groundbreaking research and eminent scholarship under his leadership.

As director of SHARE, Walters will have the opportunity to shape policies that will preserve and provide access to research and scholarship on a broader scale.

“Through SHARE, the higher education community has a unique opportunity to improve the management and communication of digital research outputs and tackle the myriad new forms of output that are emerging,” said Walters. “Working nationally and internationally, SHARE has the potential to leverage and modify important components of our research ecosystem to better facilitate the awareness of research outputs and promote their reuse by members of the public, academic researchers, and other stakeholders. I’m excited by the prospects and look forward to working with SHARE’s partners, and to our future achievements.”

One of the SHARE project’s first tasks will be to work with partner institutions from the ARL, AAU, and APLU to prototype SHARE services. Some of those services include a notification service that will alert constituents when new research becomes available, a registry of research outputs such as articles and data sets, a discovery layer to help interested parties locate items across repositories, and a content aggregation layer that facilitates identifying and pulling data into virtual workspaces for analysis.

“We are pleased to be applying Virginia Tech’s expertise to the data and information challenges present in our national research landscape,” said Mark McNamee, senior vice president and provost. “Virginia Tech’s libraries have been contributing significantly to important digital research initiatives and we are delighted that the higher education community has sought out the leadership of Tyler Walters and the participation of his team.”

The project is now funded, in part, by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.