The NISO Plus event in Baltimore was much anticipated, as it was our fifth anniversary NISO Plus conference and the first to be held in person since our February 2020 inaugural meeting. We are pleased now to report on the event and share some of the feedback we received.

The conference hosted 225 attendees, a slightly higher number than our first NISO Plus in Baltimore, representing organizations from across the information community. Thirty-one percent of attendees were from libraries and 24% from suppliers or scholarly infrastructure providers, and an additional 24% were from publishing organizations. Registrants also included those working for government agencies, associations, consultancies, or NGOs.

As always, we distributed a post-event survey to measure our performance and confirm that the meeting supported NISO’s strategic goals. Seventy-three attendees, or roughly a third of all registrants, completed our post-event feedback survey. We thank these respondents for their thoughts on what went well and what we should change or reconsider for our next NISO Plus event.

The majority of respondents—59%—indicated that they had attended a NISO Plus conference in the past. Thirty-eight percent had attended two or more NISO Plus meetings from 2020–23. When asked to share their main reason for attending NISO Plus 2024 in Baltimore, 28% cited the conference program and its relevance to their roles, 19% had enjoyed past NISO Plus events, and an additional 19% had been invited to speak.

When asked to rate various aspects of their conference experience (on a scale from 1–5, with 1=poor and 5=excellent), respondents gave us high marks. Interacting with NISO staff received the highest weighted average score at 4.98. Attendees also appreciated the conference length of two days (4.94) and significantly, participating in discussions during sessions (4.85)—one of the primary aims of NISO Plus is to facilitate conversations among attendees about topics important to the information community

Comments about the conference program were also very positive. Respondents gave all plenary sessions, including the opening keynote, closing plenary, and the Miles Conrad Lecture, average scores of over 4.5. Not surprisingly, the timely topic of AI, one of the featured conference tracks, was of particular interest. Thirty-nine percent of all registrants attended the meeting pre-conference, “AI and Machine Learning in Scholarly Communications,” and survey respondents gave this event a weighted average score of 5.37 (“Pre-conference with Andromeda Yelton deserves a 10 out of 5. She was amazing!!”)

AI also featured prominently in the list of attendees’ favorite concurrent sessions. The top five, in descending order, were

  • Transparency and Trust in an AI World
  • Opening the Door: Inviting Critique and Bringing Indigenization to Expand Metadata Systems and Practices
  • The Future of Open Science
  • AI Tools in Scholarly Research and Publishing
  • AI and Machine Learning: What to Know and How to Talk about It to Researchers and Patrons

Of course, speakers were key to the success of these sessions as well as to the entire NISO Plus Baltimore program, and we asked for their feedback as well. Ninety percent reported having a positive experience and said they would speak at another NISO Plus event, with the remaining 10% saying they would consider it.

Feedback from attendees also indicated that the conference met NISO’s goal of nurturing an engaged, inclusive, and sustainable community through connecting diverse stakeholders. When asked what they liked most about NISO Plus, several respondents cited the opportunity to interact with a wide range of people, noting that the meeting’s format and size fostered many opportunities for conversation. As one attendee stated, “There was a wide variety of vendors, publishers, and non-R1 public institutions, giving a wider range of perspective than I typically see at conferences.” Many also commented on the inclusivity of the meeting and appreciated that a variety of perspectives were included in the conference program (“The program was very good. Thank you for ensuring people of all kinds were presenting!”).

Respondents did have some suggestions for changes to next year’s event. Although many were enthusiastic about the interactive format, appreciating the opportunity to exchange ideas with other members of the community, some felt that there could have been even more time set aside for this purpose. We were also reminded of the importance of ensuring equitable opportunities for all to participate in these discussions, something we are dedicated to improving at future conferences. Finally, there were several recommendations for changes or additions to the program content; some would have appreciated a brief introduction or overview at the start of sessions, others asked for additional content on standards, and some suggested content on open access, preprints, and AI and metadata creation.

Again, thank you to all who responded in our survey—we look forward to using your feedback to make future NISO Plus conferences an even more engaging experience for all! We are grateful to the attendees, speakers, and the 21 generous sponsors who helped to make the event possible. If you missed this one but would like a taste of the NISO Plus experience, recordings of Thomas Padilla’s opening keynote, “States of Open AI,” the closing plenary on AI Futures, and Ed Pentz’s Miles Conrad Lecture are now available in our media library (with thanks to our video platform partner, Cadmore Media). And stay tuned for information about our virtual conference, NISO Plus Global/Online, scheduled for September 17–18. We’ll post news about the call for proposals soon!

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