VALA Events 2017: Open in order to deliver better research and learning outcomes

VALA invites you to our October Guest Speaker event for 2017. This 1-hour event will be run as a Zoom Webinar.

Join special Guest Speakers Patrick Splawa-Neyman, Angel Cheng and David Feighan, hosted by Andrew Stapleton, who will be speaking on the topic “Open in order to deliver better research and learning outcomes”.

This free to attend VALA Webinar will present two viewpoints – from the Higher Education Sector and from the School Sector – that explore the practical way Australian libraries are responding to the opportunities and challenges that occur as we make authoritative content open and accessible on the web.

Access the event webinar recording and slides:

Open Access Week logo

Topic: Open in order to deliver better research and learning outcomes

“Open in order to…” is the theme for the 2017 International Open Access Week (23-29 October), and is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realised by making scholarly outputs openly available and a prompt to move beyond talking about openness in itself and focus on what openness enables.

There has been a growing movement towards open data alongside the growth of open access. Making data open has proven to be problematic and too burdensome for many researchers however with the launch of figshare in 2012 sharing and publishing data has become easier. While open data is fast becoming an accepted goal for institutions, it can also uncover previously unknown complexities: who will assist time poor researchers to describe and publish their data? Is existing data described well enough to be of value? How do researchers determine in advance what data might be worth making public?

Guest Speakers:

  • From the Higher Education Sector – Patrick Splawa-Neyman, LaTrobe University
  • From the School Sector – Angel Cheng, Ruyton Girls’ School and David Feighan, Mentone Girls’ Grammar School.

From the Higher Education Sector

Patrick Splawa-Neyman in the middle of his second figshare implementation, as such Patrick is uniquely placed to talk about the opportunities and challenges of effective researcher engagement when rolling out open access platforms such as figshare. The presentation will include strategies to engage with researchers, how to elicit information from them, and answer the question: “How do I get in front of researchers and effectively promote the open access service?”. Patrick is an Senior Analyst – figshare at La Trobe University. Prior to joining La Trobe Patrick worked as the Data Librarian + Project Manager for the Monash Imaging Data Project and worked with the developers to make monash.figshare the underpinning software of the Monash Imaging Locus. Patrick also collaborated with and the ANDS on potential improvements for enabling automated feeds to Research Data Australia.

From the School Sector

While there has been significant growth in Open Access within the higher education sector, few schools publish or work with open access content. One new project involves a group of schools who are using their cloud based library management and discovery platform (OCLC WorldShare Collection Manager) to collaborate on curating two authoritative peer-reviewed open access collections. These collections directly support Australian Curriculum learning outcomes so they are relevant to all schools across the country. By sharing the workload the schools can avoid duplicating time and effort in curating and maintaining the collections. Depending on each institution’s platform setting, the incoming content can populate into their respective discovery platforms without library staff lifting a finger! By using the platform’s built in peer-review process within a community-of-practice, the schools are better able to ensure the collections’ integrity, quality, and relevance to national learning objectives. As libraries across many sector grapple with doing more with less, this cloud based collaborative model for collection curation may have applications outside of the school sector. Angel Cheng is the Technology Librarian at Ruyton Girls’ School and David Feighan is the Information and Library Services Manager at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School. While these two schools are both from Melbourne, other schools using these two open access collections are located in Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland.

Core Content: Research data is valuable beyond its initial use and can often be made publically available. More engagement with researchers is required to encourage open data.

The Future: Self-publication of selected datasets by researchers is an emerging field that requires new ways of engaging with researchers..

Who Should Attend?: All those working in the areas of research data management and researcher engagement. This would appeal to those universities about to implement figshare and more widely to anyone working with researchers

Q&A: The presenters will respond to questions following the presentation.

Pre-reading: Go to to see how La Trobe is using figshare, or go to to sign up for a free account or for more information about figshare.

Patrick Splawa-NeymanSpeaker: Patrick Splawa-Neyman, Senior Analyst – figshare, LaTrobe University – from the Higher Education Sector

Patrick is currently a Senior Analyst – figshare at La Trobe University. His interests include the wide dissemination of research data, digital repositories, researcher engagement, research data management, metadata creation that leads to findable research data, and raising the profile of open data among researchers. Patrick works to ensure that research data is made accessible as widely as possible so that it can be reusable, findable, connected and managed. Prior to working in libraries Patrick was a pharmaceutical sales representative for nearly eight years and in 2010 was the Primary Care Representative of the year for Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Australia.

Angel ChengSpeaker: Angel Cheng, Technology Librarian, Ruyton Girls’ School – from the School Sector

Angel is currently a Technology Librarian at Ruyton Girls’ School in Kew. For the last six years, she has been contributing to the library planning and implementation of appropriate emerging library-related technologies. In 2014, Angel managed the Library’s migration to the cloud-based OCLC WorldShare and has the experience of the collaborative cloud based library. Angel manages the library management system, library database and library website. She also maintains a consortium eBook-lending platform with Mentone Girls’ Grammar School. Her interest is to engage in digital library trends and information technology.

David Feighan

Speaker: David Feighan, Mentone Girls’ Grammar School – from the School Sector

David Feighan is the Information and Library Services Manager at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School. David has twenty five years’ experience as a librarian within the corporate, government and school sectors. David is active within the profession, he has written numerous articles, presented at conferences, and has ran workshops. He is a past VALA President, and was the VALA2010 Conference Program Chair and the VALA2016 Joint Program Chair. In 2015 David managed the Kerferd Library’s migration to OCLC WorldShare and as such has experience working in a collaborative cloud based library system environment.

Andrew Stapleton

Hosted by: Andrew Stapleton

Andrew Stapleton was the Technology and Production Lead at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and helped developed a semantically-structured digital curriculum for anaesthetic training using RDF and related standards. He is currently a book editor and indexer who has worked with scholarly presses such as Polity, Ashgate, Open Humanities Press, meson press and the Australian Council for Educational Research Press. His research interest is open access scholarly communication with a particular focus on open access humanities monographs and the use of semantic web technologies to enhance scholarly publishing infrastructure.



FREE to attend (registration will be confirmed via email)
RSVP: limited numbers, so please register only if you will attend. No “no shows” please!


Online webinar


Wednesday 25 October 2017, 12:00 – 13:00pm AEDT

For any enquiries contact VALA Secretariat via or (03) 9844 2933