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ASIS&T Strategic Plan 2020-2025

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Approved by the Board of Directors, August 19, 2020

Executive Summary

This document outlines and describes the strategic plan for the Association of Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) for the years 2020 to 2025. Development of the plan was led by a Strategic Planning Task Force formed shortly after the Annual Meeting in Melbourne in October 2019. A variety of inputs were used to formulate the plan, including opportunities for members of the Association and the Board to provide feedback and suggestions.

A strategic analysis of the Association was conducted using a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) approach. New mission and vision statements were developed that promote ASIS&T as an international association for academics and information professionals with interests in information science and technology research and its advancement of practice. Value statements developed by the Board in 2019 and refined in 2020 were included in the new strategic plan.

The document describes the organization’s overall strategies in terms of goals (long-term outcomes) and objectives (near-term outcomes) and the tactics (i.e., specific actions, projects or initiatives) that will be executed to achieve these goals and objectives over 2020-2025. The intent is for the Presidents of ASIS&T over 2020-2025 to embrace, support and avidly work towards success of these strategies and outcomes.

In total, four goals were identified: i) support, engage and grow the ASIS&T membership; ii) improve ASIS&T publications; iii) improve knowledge sharing opportunities; and iv) develop and implement co-opetition opportunities with affiliate information associations, industry partners, and practitioner organizations. This resulted in the identification of 15 objectives and 39 tactics.

Note that funding to launch this new strategic plan is available. Brand new initiatives, like the re-establishment of ARIST and the creation of a research/practice institute, will be seed-funded through reserves and need to be proved viable before becoming incorporated into the Association’s annual operational budget.

Introduction

This document provides a road map of success for ASIS&T over the years 2020-2025. The plan follows on the heels of the Association’s inaugural strategic plan (2015-2020).

To formulate a new strategic plan for the Association over the next five years, a Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTF) was formed shortly after the Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia in October 2019. The following members of the Association comprised the SPTF, as follows:

  • Brian Detlor (President-Elect, ASIS&T; Professor and Area Chair of Information Systems, McMaster University, Canada);
  • Hazel Hall (Professor of Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland);
  • Michael Olsson (Senior Lecturer, IKM and Digital Studies Program, University of Technology Sydney, Australia);
  • Abebe Rorissa (Associate Professor of Information Studies and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, CEHC, University at Albany, USA);
  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway (Director of Library Trends and User Research, OCLC Research, USA); and
  • Becky Willson (Assistant Professor of Information Studies, McGill University, Canada).

SPTF members utilized a wide and varied set of information to help formulate a new strategic plan. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The current strategic plan (2015-2020) and its background information (i.e., documents from five years ago when the strategic plan was first devised (e.g., minutes of meetings, minutes of focus groups);
  • The latest status reports provided by ASIS&T headquarters regarding the operationalization of the current strategic plan;
  • The charges given to the various ASIS&T committees after the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Melbourne (including BIG ideas as well as items from the current strategic plan);
  • The results from the recent membership survey (both the executive summary and the raw data);
  • Input from the ASIS&T membership via monthly online town hall sessions (i.e., “virtual meet-ups”);
  • Input from the ASIS&T Board of Directors via monthly updates on the progress of the new strategic plan;
  • Feedback from the membership of an early draft of this plan; and,
  • The charges given to ASIS&T committees in July 2020.

The following timeline outlines the major milestones of the development and acceptance of the new strategic plan:

  • Formation of the Strategic Planning Task Force (October 2019);
  • Formulation of a Draft Strategic Plan by the SPTF (October 2019 to March 2020);
  • Submission of a Draft Strategic Plan to the Board of Directors (March 2020);
  • Modifications made to the Draft Strategic Plan based on dialogue and feedback from the Board of Directors (March 2020 to May 2020);
  • Revised Draft Strategic Plan produced and shared with the ASIS&T membership (May 2020);
  • Modifications made to the Revised Draft Strategic Plan based on dialogue and feedback from the ASIS&T membership over a one and a half month period (June/July 2020) to produce a Final Strategic Plan (August 2020); and,
  • The Final Strategic Plan approved by the Board (August / September 2020).

Association Description

Founded in 1937, the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) seeks to bridge the gap between information science and technology research and information science and technology practice. In a world where information is of central importance to personal, social, political, and economic progress, ASIS&T is the preeminent international association for academics and information professionals with interests in information science and technology research and its advancement of practice. ASIS&T members represent the fields of information science and technology, computer science, data science, informatics, information architecture, communications, and librarianship. ASIS&T is a non-profit membership organization for academic researchers and practitioners with interests in research. The association promotes intellectual curiosity and scholarship to advance information science and technology by a community of researchers and practitioners. The association sponsors an Annual Meeting as well as several serial publications, including the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIS&T). The organization provides administration and communications support for its various divisions (e.g., special-interest groups; chapters). As information and communication technology applications proliferate and encroach ever more on daily life, ASIS&T members are at the forefront in examining the technical bases, social consequences, and theoretical understanding of information and its use.

Mission, Vision and Value statements

The mission of the Association is to advance research and practice in information science and technology.

The vision of the Association – a community of researchers and practitioners – is to be the preeminent global voice of information science and technology research and its implications for practice.

ASIS&T is a global community that values:

  • Interdisciplinarity, because the information issues and solutions addressed by ASIS&T must be informed by expertise from various disciplines;
  • Knowledge sharing by providing opportunities to present, communicate, and publish research discoveries in information science, because diffusion of knowledge benefits the association and society at large;
  • Lifelong learning to increase knowledge within information science and technology, among individuals, society, and the world;
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure that a range of voices advance information science and technology research and practice around the world;
  • The impact that information science and technology has on individuals, communities, cultures, and societies at large; and,
  • A community of researchers and practitioners with interests in advancing information science and technology;
  • Open access, while recognizing the need to balance open access with the financial considerations of the Association and the benefits of membership.

Strategic Analysis

A strategic analysis of the Association was conducted using a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) approach. Specifically, an internal analysis of the Association was carried out in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and an external analysis was conducted with respect to opportunities and threats.

Internal Analysis

In terms of strengths, there are many. Founded in 1937, ASIS&T is a pioneer in the field of information science and technology, and has a long, established history. Membership is diverse internationally and across subject areas, with members comprising both practitioners and researchers from around the world. The Association covers a broad and varied range of interests pertaining to information science and technology. The Association’s Annual Meeting provides a regular and established forum to bring researchers and practitioners together to discuss new advancements in information science and technology, and forge strong networks of knowledge exchange. The Association’s Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIS&T), published continuously since 1950, provides a fully-refereed scholarly and technical periodical that is highly ranked and provides the Association with a solid financial revenue stream. Various educational initiatives, such as the Association’s webinar series, provides the membership with an effective way to keep up-to-date on advancements in the field. A robust and varied set of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) provide the membership with opportunities to engage in specific areas of interest. Chapters facilitate participation in activities within localized geographical regions.

Though these strengths position the Association well, there are weaknesses that jeopardize the impact of these strengths. Over the last few years, membership numbers have steadily decreased, especially among practitioners. Results from the 2019 membership survey shed light on this issue. Some members feel disconnected and neglected by the Association. The benefits of membership are unclear. A significant cohort of members feel JASIS&T’s coverage and scope do not align with their own research interests. There is a lack of clarity among the membership in terms of how ASIS&T differentiates itself from other information-related associations. In general, ASIS&T suffers from an unknown brand and a clear brand to communicate. Members are uncertain how the ASIS&T Annual Meeting differentiates itself from conferences hosted by other information-related associations. Some members feel the quality of the papers presented at the Annual Meeting is weak, that full papers at the Annual Meeting are a deterrent to rallying submissions, and that a practitioner/industry track is needed at the Annual Meeting. There is a lack of offering for practitioners in general. Many members seek more support from ASIS&T on a variety of activities. Limited staffing at ASIS&T headquarters, however, prevents the carrying out of such support. Currently, no staff member is dedicated to marketing/ communications. The Association’s finances are heavily reliant on JASIS&T. There is a lack of industry involvement in the Association. A perceived “North American focus” exists that alienates members from other global regions. Outreach to PhD students could be improved.

Although the current 2015-2020 strategic plan is comprehensive in composition with five strategic directions, 18 goals and 70 objectives, there is no specific action plan (i.e., quantification of actions, projects, initiatives, timelines and responsibilities) in terms of how the Association will carry out this work. The 2015-2020 strategic plan presents a list of potential ideas that the President-Elect can draw upon to identify top priorities in his/her year as President, rather than a definitive set of co-ordinated actions that all Presidents will carry out across the five-year span of the plan. Not every President has used the 2015-2020 strategic plan to set direction for the Association. As a result, over the last five years, only one-third of the objectives in the 2015-2020 strategic plan are complete or on-going. Several goals and objectives in the 2015-2020 strategic plan are not reflective of the current priorities of the Board. There are also goals and objectives in the 2015-2020 strategic plan that are not a current priority of the Board.

External Analysis

Several key opportunities are available to the Association. These include expanding the Association more globally, attracting more practitioner members who share the organization’s interest in information science and technology research, increasing industry involvement, working with other information associations, and implementing membership recognition strategies (e.g., badging, fellowships). Another opportunity is the enhanced interest and awareness of the global challenges of an information society and emerging technologies, including but not limited to the detrimental effects of information and technology disparities, misinformation, copyright challenges, endangered cultural heritage and traditional knowledge(s) etc. This provides an opportunity for the Association to provide leadership internationally in terms of how to address and mitigate these effects.

In terms of threats, ASIS&T faces competition from affiliate information associations (e.g., in North America alone, there are Information Schools (iSchools), the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), ACM and its SIGCHI and SIGIR) which offer alternative activities and opportunities for the same target audience as ASIS&T. The Association’s target market segment (i.e., information science and technology researchers; practitioners with interests in information science and technology research) has limited budgets and time. As such, these affiliate information associations present a real threat in terms of the viability and sustainability of ASIS&T if they manage to secure a significant percentage of ASIS&T’s target market over time.

Strategies and Tactics

This section of the strategic plan describes the organization’s overall strategies (goals and objectives) and the specific tactics that will help the organization get there over the years 2020-2025. Each President of the Association across these five years will embrace, support and avidly work towards the success of these strategies and tactics.

Goals are long-term outcomes towards which organizational efforts will be expended. The vision of the organization establishes the future, and the goals establish the key items that have to be accomplished to make that vision a reality. Objectives are the near-term outcomes that contribute to each goal. Each goal has several objectives nested with in it. This is necessary to identify actionable elements for each goal. In regards to this strategic plan, tactics are specific actions, projects, or initiatives that will be executed over 2020-2025 to achieve an objective.

Inherent across all goals, objectives and tactics are the values the Association holds, as well as the sustainable, effective and efficient management of the Association.

GOAL 1: Support, Engage, and Grow the ASIS&T Community

  • OBJECTIVE 1.1: Implement a membership retention plan that includes recommendations on member communication regarding pending payments and lapsed memberships, reconsiders membership categories along with differentiated fees, and promotes increases in membership.
    • TACTIC 1.1.1: Implement and track the success of the membership retention plan developed in 2020, making necessary adjustments along the way, to secure 80% of pending payments and lapsed memberships, and increasing the membership by 0.5% annually starting January 2021 [Responsibility: Membership Committee and the ASIS&T Director of Membership].
    • TACTIC 1.1.2: Offer complimentary membership to any interested undergraduate or master's degree student studying information science or related subjects (e.g., data science, computer science) throughout the world by January 2021. Secure 500 complimentary student memberships by January 2022. [Responsibility: Membership Committee and Director of Membership].
    • TACTIC 1.1.3: Develop, implement and track a membership strategy to increase participation from under-represented groups across equity, diversity and inclusion lines, taking into consideration recommendations made by the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, starting 2021 [Responsibility: Membership Committee and the Director of Membership].
    • TACTIC 1.1.4: Develop, implement and track a local mentor program to pair new Chapter members with a seasoned member in order to facilitate member orientation and engagement. Have each Chapter required to email Chapter members whose membership is due to expire or has expired to encourage renewal of membership. [Responsibility: Membership Committee and the Director of Membership].
    • TACTIC 1.1.5: Develop, implement and track a SIG mentor program to pair each new member who has joined a SIG with a seasoned SIG mentor to facilitate member orientation and SIG engagement. Have each SIG tasked with emailing SIG members whose membership is due to expire or whose membership has expired to encourage renewal of membership. [Responsibility: SIG Cabinet and the Director of Membership].
    • TACTIC 1.1.6: Implement and track the success of the new Regional and Chapter structure program approved in 2020, making necessary adjustments along the way, so that there is an 15% increase in Regional and Chapter activity by 2025 [Responsibility: Chapter Assembly and the ASIS&T Executive Director].
    • TACTIC 1.1.7: Conduct a survey of ASIS&T members to identify areas where existing standards are inadequate, problematic, or not yet developed and take the necessary steps to initiate development of such needed standards. [Responsibility: Standards Committee and ASIS&T Headquarters]
  • OBJECTIVE 1.2: Review and make recommendations on ASIS&T Distinguished Member, ASIS&T Fellow, and New Leader programs.
    •  TACTIC 1.2.1: Implement and track the success of the Distinguished Member program approved in 2020 making necessary adjustments along the way, so that 7.5% of members achieve Distinguished Member status by 2025 [Responsibility: Membership Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director].
    • TACTIC 1.2.2: Develop a proposal for a Fellow program by January 2022 [Responsibility: Awards & Honors Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director].
    • TACTIC 1.2.3: Implement and track the success of this Fellow program no later than June 2022, making necessary adjustments along the way, so that 3% of members achieve Fellow status by 2025 [Responsibility: Awards & Honors Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director].
    • TACTIC 1.2.4: Review the New Leader program and implement suggestions for its success or closure by January 2021. If deemed worthy of continuing, make improvements to its implementation and track the success of this program, reporting annually to the Board of Directors [Responsibility: Awards & Honors Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director].
  • OBJECTIVE 1.3: Increase ASIS&T marketing and branding opportunities.
    •  TACTIC 1.3.1: Launch a marketing campaign to secure 100 new regular members each year starting in 2021. [Responsibility: ASIS&T Headquarters]
    • TACTIC 1.3.2: Ensure ASIS&T Headquarters has staffing dedicated to marketing and communications by 2021. This could be facilitated by hiring consultants on a short-term basis to run specific marketing campaigns and/or delegating specific marketing and communication duties to ASIS&T staff [Responsibility: ASIS&T Executive Director]

GOAL 2: Improve ASIS&T Publications

  • OBJECTIVE 2.1: Bring back the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST).
    • TACTIC 2.1.1: Develop a proposal by January 2021 to bring back ARIST that includes consideration of an appropriate publishing platform. [Responsibility: Publications Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director]
    • TACTIC 2.1.2: Implement ARIST by early 2023. [Responsibility: Publications Committee ASIS&T Executive Director]
  • OBJECTIVE 2.2: Develop and implement one or more new journals.
    • TACTIC 2.2.1: Develop a proposal by October 2021 to develop one or more new journals. [Responsibility: Publications Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director]
    • TACTIC 2.2.2: Implement at least one new journal by early 2024. [Responsibility: Publications Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director]
  • OBJECTIVE 2.3: Develop and implement an online communications vehicle (e.g., Information Matters; a blog) that regularly communicates latest trends and happenings in the information field to the public.
    • TACTIC 2.3.1: Develop a proposal by October 2021 to develop this new online communications vehicle. [Responsibility: Publications Committee and the ASIS&T Executive Director]
    • TACTIC 2.3.2: Implement this new online communications vehicle no later than 2022 [Responsibility: Publications Committee] where news about this online communications vehicle is regularly disseminated to the membership and key outside influencers [Responsibility: ASIS&T Executive Director and staff].

GOAL 3: Improve Knowledge Sharing Opportunities

  • OBJECTIVE 3.1: Increase the quality and number of webinars/podcasts offered at times that allow participation by members around the world.
    • TACTIC 3.1.1: Develop a proposal by January 2021 to increase the impact (i.e., quality, number) and availability of webinars/podcasts to members around the world. [Responsibility: SIG Cabinet and Chapter Assembly]
    • TACTIC 3.1.2: Implement this proposal in 2021 doubling the number of webinars/podcasts by 2023. [Responsibility: SIG Cabinet and Chapter Assembly]
    • TACTIC 3.1.3: Monitor and revise (based on member feedback) the process developed by the Professional Development Committee in 2019/2020 for webinar/podcast evaluation and acceptance over the next five years. [Responsibility: ASIS&T Headquarters]
  • OBJECTIVE 3.2: Develop and implement a plan for delivering a symposia series consisting of face-to-face or virtual meetings.
    •  TACTIC 3.2.1: Develop a proposal by January 2021 to deliver a symposia series. [Responsibility: Research Engagement Committee]
    • TACTIC 3.2.2: Implement this proposal no later than 2022 with annual performance metrics reporting and corrections taking place to 2025. [Responsibility: Research Engagement Committee]
  • OBJECTIVE 3.3: Develop and implement a plan for delivering a 24-hour global conference.
    • TACTIC 3.3.1: Develop a proposal by January 2021 to deliver a 24-hour global series. [Responsibility: Professional Development Committee]
    • TACTIC 3.3.2: Implement this proposal no later than 2022 with annual performance metrics reporting and corrections taking place to 2025. [Responsibility: Professional Development Committee]
  • OBJECTIVE 3.4: Develop and implement a plan for a research/practice institute that can operate at a break even or profit.
    • TACTIC 3.4.1: Develop a proposal by January 2021 to develop and implement a research/practice institute. Consider using the previous IA Summit mode as a guide. [Responsibility: Professional Development Committee]
    • TACTIC 3.4.2: Implement this proposal no later than 2022 with annual performance metrics reporting and corrections taking place to 2025. [Responsibility: Professional Development Committee]
    • TACTIC 3.4.3: Develop a business plan for an externally-focused training program utilizing ASIS&T member experts to train private and/or public-sector leaders in information management and data governance by January 2022. Pilot test training program by January 2023. [Responsibility: Executive Director and Director of Meetings and Events].
  • OBJECTIVE 3.5: Document and share the history of ASIS&T.
    • TACTIC 3.5.1: Develop a publication for debut at the 85th Annual Meeting in 2022. [Responsibility: History Committee]
    • TACTIC 3.5.2: Monitor, promote and further develop/share the history of ASIS&T up to 2025. This would include the examination and possible implementation of digital platforms (such as Omeka or Archon) to support existing digital collections and initiatives to generate displays of a timeline for the 85th anniversary, as well as a report from the Curator at Annual Meetings. [Responsibility: History Committee]
    • TACTIC 3.5.3: Establish a task force, composed of individuals with experience in archives and records management, to create records management and archival policies for the Association by 2021. Have this task force annually report its progress on implementing a records management strategy for the Association. [Responsibility: Curator; ASIS&T Headquarters]
  • OBJECTIVE 3.6: Make improvements to the Annual Meeting.
    • TACTIC 3.6.1: Re-vamp the current paper, panel and poster submission process to the Annual Meeting to facilitate high-quality submissions that disseminate ground-breaking, timely developments in the field starting in 2021 and throughout to 2025. This includes the possibility of giving authors the option of submitting a full paper without it having to appear in the conference proceedings. [Responsibility: the President of ASIS&T and the Chairs of the Annual Meeting].
    • TACTIC 3.6.2: Ensure all SIGs have a guaranteed time-slot to host a panel at the Annual Meeting starting in 2021. [Responsibility: the President of ASIS&T and the Chairs of the Annual Meeting].
    • TACTIC 3.6.3: Ensure all SIGs have a guaranteed time-slot to meet at the Annual Meeting starting in 2021. [Responsibility: the President of ASIS&T and the Chairs of the Annual Meeting].
    • TACTIC 3.6.4: Ensure that JASIS&T will allocate a special issue (or some other conduit) each year for high-quality papers submitted to the Annual Meeting starting in 2021. [Responsibility: the JASIS&T Editor, the President of ASIS&T, the Chairs of the Annual Meeting, and the Publications Committee]

GOAL 4: Develop and Implement Co-opetition Opportunities with Affiliate Information Associations, Global Organizations, Industry Partners, and Practitioner Organizations

  • OBJECTIVE 4.1: Explore collaborative opportunities with affiliate information associations and global organizations.
    • TACTIC 4.1.1: Reach out and begin discussions with affiliate information associations and global organizations in 2021 and bring back ideas for collaboration to the Board that advance mutual interests and address society’s grand challenges for possible implementation throughout 2022 to 2025. [Responsibility: the President and the Executive Director of ASIS&T]
  • OBJECTIVE 4.2: Reach out, develop and implement collaborative opportunities to work with industry partners and practitioner organizations.
    • TACTIC 4.2.1: Reach out and begin discussions with industry partners and practitioner organizations in 2021 and bring back ideas for collaboration to the Board for possible implementation throughout 2022 to 2025. [Responsibility: the President and the Executive Director of ASIS&T]
  • OBJECTIVE 4.3: Monitor affiliate information organizations on a regular basis to better understand how best to position the Association.
    • TACTIC 4.3.1: Develop an approach for monitoring affiliate information societies in 2021 and implement that approach throughout 2022 to 2025. [Responsibility: the President and the Executive Director of ASIS&T]