Newsline, January 2019

Letter from the Executive Director

Welcome to the New Year, everyone! We are looking forward to some amazing things at NISO in 2019.  In the wind-up of 2018, NISO was laying the stage for some exciting new projects. NISO voting members approved the launch of three projects, which will take off in 2019.  The NISO community will begin developing a recommended practice for how publishers address the challenges that derive from content platform migrations, a new standard ontology for elements of standards documents to improve interoperability and interactivity, and a badging system that signifies aspects of reproducibility of computational sciences.  This is a diverse set of new projects that touches on key elements of NISO's technical portfolio, but also highlights specific aspects of NISO's strategic direction goals.

First, although many might think that platform migrations might be an entirely internal process for most content providers, there increasingly are implications for vendors, the libraries that have to integrate with these back-end systems, and the users that have to navigate new user interfaces. The goal of this initiative is to develop recommended practices around these platform migrations, particularly focused on communications around the various stages of a migration process. A model of this effort's output is the highly successful Transfer Code of Practice.

The second project approved by NISO Voting Members in December is an effort to develop a high-level ontology for standards documents that describes a limited set of core concepts and relationships, beginning with a component to define standards' lifecycle states.  This project builds on the successful NISO STS initiative and the momentum among the standards development community involved in that work. Ideally, this effort will make standards more discoverable, more interoperable, and potentially more suitable for semantic applications.

The third project is focused on the topic of reproducibility and trust.  As reproducibility begins to spread across the scholarly publishing landscape, recommended badging schemes and the related taxonomies are developing on an ad hoc basis-creating a need for some standardization. There are other approaches to badging and the issue of reproducibility varies across domains.  Noting this, the approved effort will focus on standardization across the Computational and Computing Sciences, although adoption by other disciplines would be encouraged.

Each of these projects will be organizing working groups to advance these projects.  We welcome experts from across the community to engage in these initiatives. If you, or a colleague you may know, are interested in these topics, please reach out to the NISO offices for more information on how to participate.

Finally, we have made a great deal of progress on the RA21 Project. Last month, members of the RA21 project leadership and I spoke at the CNI fall meeting in Washington.  The project has a working prototype of a service that allows for seamless single-sign-on authentication, using browser-based storage of a user's preference of institutional identity provider.  This privacy-protecting service allows for simple sign-on to protected resources or services. The project team is nearing completion of an initial draft, which should be available for public comment describing the service and covering some of the other initial outputs.

We have a very exciting 2019 in the works, and we're only nine days in.  There are a lot of other potential projects, which could make the rest of the year even more exciting and productive. To hear more, we hope to see you at the NISO Update during the American Library Association Midwinter conference in Seattle.

Happy New Year!

With kindest regards, 

Todd Carpenter
Executive Director, NISO