Two U of G grad students will explore their interest in science communication as delegates to the OpenCon 2014 conference Nov. 15 to 17 in Washington D.C.

April Clyburne-Sherin, a master’s student in the Department of Population Medicine, is being sponsored by the University of Guelph Library, and Kurtis Baute, a master’s student in the School of Environmental Science, will represent the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

The annual conference aims to start a grassroots movement among young researchers to adopt and encourage open access principles. Many universities in the United States and Canada sponsor delegates to OpenCon, where they participate in discussions about open education, open data and open access to research.

“I believe that openness and transparency are fundamental to good science, and I meet young researchers everyday who feel similarly,” said Clyburn-Sherin, who plans to create a podcast of her experience at OpenCon and share what she learns with fellow researchers. As part of her graduate work, she is working as a clinical research project assistant at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Baute’s research focus is bioenergy, but he also runs a YouTube channel about science communication ( In his OpenCon bio, he says he wants to learn more about open knowledge as it relates to the production of science and access to education.

“I’m really passionate about science communication. There are so many knowledge and communication gaps between scientists and the public, between scientists and other academic disciplines, and between scientists themselves. Helping to bridge these gaps, through online resources and tools that allow for access to knowledge, is essential,” says Baute.