At NISO, our work doesn’t end after the closing keynote! In these weeks following the 2023 NISO Plus conference, we’ve been busy collating and sharing all the ideas generated during the meeting with our Topic Committees, who will review them for opportunities for new projects. This is also the time when we reflect on our attendees’ experience of the meeting to see what went well—and what didn’t. To that end, we asked attendees to share their thoughts in our post-event survey, and as in prior years, we want to share their feedback with the wider community.
Attendance for the conference remained strong (if slightly down over last year), with 604 attendees vs. roughly 630 in 2022. Our geographical breakdown was in line with last year’s, reflecting our ongoing commitment to increasing international engagement. Attendees came from 30 countries in 2023 vs. 29 in 2022, and 26% of all attendees were from outside the US (compared to 27% last year). We also had 33 sponsors this year (just under last year’s count of 34), and we’ll take this opportunity to thank them once again for their generous support!
Many thanks as well to those of you who took the time to complete the survey! We received 72 responses (75 in 2022). At 26%, just over a quarter of respondents were employed by libraries; 15% were employed by publishers, an additional 8% by associations, and 15% by service or infrastructure providers. Thirty-five percent of respondents identified themselves as librarians, 15% as product managers, and 11% as working in marketing, communications, or community engagement. Finally, 78% of those participating in the survey were based in the US or Canada, in line with the 80% of all attendees based in that region.
Results indicated that most of our respondents were repeat registrants—87% attended the NISO Plus conference in 2022, 72% in 2021, and 41% in 2020 (the year of our very first NISO Plus conference, which was held in person). The top two reasons for attending in 2023 were relevance of the conference program (39%) and having found the conference valuable in the past (25%). Eighty percent of attendees attended one or more keynotes, 83% attended three or more sessions, and 28% attended at least one of the program’s social events. At the time of the survey’s close, 41% had already listened to one or more of the prerecorded videos available on demand.
We asked respondents to rate their experience around conference logistics—including logging into and accessing the conference platform, participating in the live Zoom discussions, and interacting with NISO staff—on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5=excellent. For all aspects of conference logistics, average scores were above 4.5. The meeting program was also well received, with over 90% of respondents rating the overall quality of the content at 4 or 5. Most respondents agreed that the conference met their overall expectations, with an average score of 3.88 out of 5 (note that this score was also 3.88 in 2022). NISO Plus fared well against other events as well: When we asked how the conference compared with other virtual meetings respondents had attended, the average score was 4.06 out of 5, a bit higher than our 2022 score of 3.5. Finally, we are happy to report that 100% of conference speakers who took part in the survey said they would speak at NISO Plus again, rating their overall experience of participating in their session(s) at 4.4 out of 5.
We asked our attendees to indicate the sessions they enjoyed the most, and some clear favorites emerged, particularly the Miles Conrad Lecture and Awards luncheon, featuring Dr. Safiya Noble, and Caleb Kibet’s keynote presentation on “Unlocking Open Science in Africa.” Among the regular sessions, “Creating digital collections with and for Indigenous communities” received the most votes, with six others following close behind: “Multilanguage metadata,” “Addressing problems in peer review,” “Understanding the value of open access usage information,” “Data and software citations: What you don’t know CAN hurt you,” Just connecting things? How creatives are keeping the metadata flowing” and “Tools and resources that support DEIA in the information community.” To date, the most-watched sessions on demand are the aforementioned Miles Conrad Lecture and Awards Ceremony and “Tools and resources that support DEIA in the information community” as well as “Unanticipated Metadata in the Age of the Net & the Age of AI” and “Perspectives on metadata quality and completeness,”
Many respondents appreciated that the meeting schedule included two time blocks to accommodate participants from around the world. They commented positively on the breadth and diversity of the conference program, the quality of speakers, and the inclusion of international speakers and global perspectives. They also praised the conference for making the meeting content more accessible with closed captions for live content and transcripts for recorded videos.
Of course, we also asked attendees to tell us what was missing from NISO Plus, or what we could have done better. Some stated a preference for live over prerecorded content, and there were several comments about the need for more opportunities for attendees to interact outside of the live Zoom discussions that followed most sessions. Suggestions included hosting a Slack channel or discussion board where attendees could ask questions and have conversations outside of the sessions. And while some respondents complimented the program for its diversity of content, others thought there was a bit too much focus on PIDs and metadata. When asked if there were topics not covered in the program that should have been, responses asked for more content from library publishers and smaller presses as well as sessions focusing on business models and new technologies, peer review, data sharing, and additional NISO updates.
Many thanks to our NISO Plus Planning and Advisory Committees, as well as to all our attendees, speakers, moderators, and sponsors, who made this year’s conference a success! We will be sure to take your feedback into account as we plan for future events. In the meantime, as a reminder, recordings for all sessions are available to conference attendees, and they will be made publicly available later this year on NISO’s library, hosted by Cadmore Media. Slides from the meeting (from those presenters who opted to share) are also available online, thanks to our host and sponsor, figshare. Be on the lookout for an announcement about plans for a smaller, in-person event similar to last year’s NISO Plus Forum, to be held in September 2023! And don’t forget to save the dates February 12–16, 2024, for our Fifth Anniversary NISO Plus event. Stay tuned—we’ll have more information about our 2024 plans soon!