Letter from the Executive Director, December 2023
The key to achieving an ambition, whatever it is, is to know what it is you’re trying to achieve and have some idea of how to do that thing. For the past five years at NISO, we have centered our ambition on creating a “world where all benefit from the unfettered exchange of information.” We do this through “building knowledge, fostering discussion, and advancing authoritative standards development through collaboration.” These have been our vision and mission since 2019. In October, the NISO Board of Directors recommitted the organization to these guiding principles, as it approved a revision of its strategic plan. That plan is centered around the values of diversity, consensus, and engagement and consists of three core areas of focus for the coming years: community, leadership, and growth. You can preview the plan on the NISO website. More about the plan is forthcoming in the new year.
The NISO Plus Conference has always been a core element of NISO’s strategic plan since it was first envisioned in 2019. During the first discussions to bring together NFAIS and NISO, the opportunities inherent in bringing together our synergistic communities, both physically and metaphorically, made so much sense. Over the subsequent five years, the NISO Plus conference has become an important part of NISO’s strategy for building community, fostering development of new projects, and helping to lead the community forward toward more effective content creation, distribution, access, and preservation. In 2024 and beyond, we seek to continue developing the NISO Plus Conference as an influential and impactful forum for thought leadership and discussion that fosters collaboration and innovation in the information management community. Through the NISO Plus structure and the subsequent consensus development model, we will continue to translate that leadership into action and outputs that improve community practice and efficiency.
In February, we will again gather in person in Baltimore for an exciting assembly of discussions, ideas, and plans for action. Coming out of the NISO Plus Forum in Washington this past fall, a large segment of the program is centered around potential approaches to working with artificial intelligence (AI) tools. There will be other topics of discussion as well on the program, such as metadata, open scholarship, diversity and inclusivity, and—of course—standards.
If you haven’t participated in a NISO Plus event before, you will find the experience rather different than most conferences. The idea behind the event is to center conversations with others in our community, learn from each other, and identify areas where collaboration can improve the state of information exchange. We then aim to take the best of those ideas, gather teams of interested parties willing to address the issue, and form groups to take those ideas into a consensus process to identify a solution. Some of the ideas that were developed during NISO Plus and have since been advanced include the NISO CREC project, the CDL initiative, a metadata musical, and efforts to connect research data citations, as well as several other project ideas that are still gaining traction, such as package identification and publisher–repository interoperability. Based on the ideas that were generated during the NISO Plus Forum on AI, which will be carried into the main conference, I expect there will be several exciting potential project ideas that will be moved forward in 2024. The preliminary program has been announced, and registration is now open.
Related to NISO Plus, NISO has announced that next year’s Miles Conrad Award will be given to Ed Pentz, founding Executive Director at Crossref. Ed has been an incredibly influential leader in scholarly infrastructure, identifiers, and metadata. We’re excited to hear his thoughts on the changes in our community and the future of scholarly infrastructure when he gives his lecture during the NISO Plus conference.
As this year draws to a close, while I have been focused on the coming year and NISO’s future activities, I would be remiss if I didn’t reflect for a moment on the accomplishments of the past year. We have returned to something more resembling “normal” operations, and we have been blessed by the continued and vibrant contributions of the hundreds of volunteers who work seemingly (if not literally, given the many time zones in which they live) around the clock on NISO’s standards development work. This year has seen so much progress on retractions, on controlled digital lending, on managing cooperative collections, on Seamless Access, on accessibility remediation, on OA workflows, standards ontology, and on peer review terminology, to name just some of the many projects NISO is currently managing. Each project has a team of dedicated volunteers who contribute their time, expertise, and vision to improving some element of our ecosystem. In this season of thanks and appreciation, I extend our recognition of and gratitude for all that they do, individually and collectively.
I hope the year ends on a positive note for each of you and that the coming year is filled with success, health, and prosperity.
With the very best regards and well wishes for the new year,
Executive Director, NISO