2016 ASIS&T President
University of Toronto
Building connections between ASIS&T and other information-oriented organizations is progressing through collaborations with the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) and the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). With data management a critical issue for scientific societies, the CSSP will focus its spring meeting in May 2016 on theoretical and practical issues around data, having ASIS&T and 4S jointly present the opening session. ASIS&T president Nadia Caidi serves on the CSSP executive board and co-chairs its scholarly publications and data committee. ASIS&T ties with ALISE are growing stronger through their joint hosting of a Presidential Session on Accreditation at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Copenhagen in October 2016. That meeting will also feature sessions on diversity and inclusion and opportunities to meet journal editors and to hear keynote speakers exploring bridges between industry and research. Other upcoming meetings include the ASIS&T Regional (East Coast) Meeting and ASIS&T Taipei Chapter workshop, both in April 2016.
Association for Information Science and Technology
information resources management
In my last column, I reflected on the importance of building more bridges between ASIS&T and sister societies. I am happy to report that ASIS&T has already embarked on such collaborations with several organizations, among them the Society for the Social Studies of Science, known as 4S; the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP), an umbrella organization representing a broad array of scientific disciplines; and the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE).
In conversations with 4S president Lucy Suchman, ASIS&T and 4S embarked in the co-sponsorship of a session for the May meeting of CSSP (https://sciencepresidents.org/spring- 2016-meeting/) on the topic of the challenges of managing data (big and small). There is evidence that many scientific societies and/or their members are greatly concerned about the integrity, security and re-use of their data, as well as about effective data access. The panel will examine the issues surrounding digital curation methods and practices; approaches to long-term data management; and policies, costs and mechanisms for ensuring data resilience, accessibility and reusability in the context of information risk and change.
The CSSP board subsequently decided to introduce this panel as the opening session for its May meeting in Washington, DC, and made data the central theme of the meeting. Suchman noted, “The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) welcomes the opportunity for interdisciplinary dialogue and debate, with ASIS&T and related scientific societies. Our concerns include the question of what we mean by data, not (only) as a theoretical matter but also in terms of the contingencies of data production, and the practical politics of naming (particularly qualitative) research materials as alienable data. We are committed as well to addressing concerns and initiatives beyond North America, the UK and Europe in our discussion.”
The speakers we selected for the panel are no strangers to ASIS&T. They include Liz Lyon, University of Bath, UKOLN Director and a recent Visiting Professor at the iSchool at Pittsburgh; Reagan Moore, chief scientist for data intensive cyber environments with RENCI and member of the DICE group in the UNC Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science; and David Ribes, Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. Our selection of speakers responds to the need for interdisciplinary perspectives on the complex issues surrounding data archiving, sharing and interpretation. We look forward to continuous engagement in these critical conversations with our colleagues at 4S, CSSP and elsewhere.
The ASIS&T relationship with CSSP has been further strengthened as a result of my election to the CSSP executive board. I am delighted to have the opportunity to represent the information field and bring our perspectives and sensibilities to the table. In addition, I will be co-chairing the CSSP scholarly publications and data committee. Taken together, these developments cement our engagement and outreach efforts outside the field of information.
ASIS&T has also strengthened its ties with ALISE. On February 12, 2016, the ASIS&T Board issued a position statement on accreditation that outlines its views on current accreditation reforms and the importance of taking stock of the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the information field. As an organization that represents thousands of information researchers and professionals across a broad spectrum, ASIS&T supports a pluralist agenda on accreditation. To contribute to the ongoing debate, ALISE president Louise Spiteri and I have joined forces and will be hosting a joint ALISE/ASIS&T Presidential Session on Accreditation during our Annual Meeting in Copenhagen, in October 2016. The purpose of this session will be to engage in a candid and open dialog about accreditation models with various stakeholders, so mark your calendars!
Other noteworthy sessions at the Annual Meeting will include the “Diversity and Inclusion Luncheon” and the “Meet the Editors” session, in which attendees will be able to engage with editors from several key journals in our field (including recently appointed JASIST editor, Javed Mostafa) and to hear about the findings from the publications committee survey of members’ perceptions of ASIS&T publications.
Two excellent keynote speakers promise to be a draw. Greg Welch is the Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Healthcare Simulation at the University of Central Florida, with appointments in the College of Nursing, Computer Science Department and the Institute for Simulation & Training. He is also the co-director of both the Synthetic Reality Laboratory and the Interactive Systems & User Experience Research Cluster at University of Central Florida and an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science at UNC Chapel Hill. He will be sharing his experiences with us on various healthcare related applications (including virtual and augmented reality, human motion tracking and computer graphics and vision).
Markus Bundschus is head of scientific and business information services at Roche Diagnostics Bavarian Site (Penzberg), one of the largest biotechnology centers in Europe. With a background in bioinformatics (Technical University of Munich) and a Ph.D. in informatics from Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, he is uniquely placed to unpack for us the art and science of diagnostics.
Both speakers epitomize the conference theme of building bridges between industry and research. Both have been applying information and technology in their respective sectors as a way of generating new knowledge and innovative ways of framing problems and solutions.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Meeting and hope you can take advantage of the cultural and historical richness that Copenhagen has to offer.
Finally, I also invite everyone to engage in local conversations that are taking place throughout the ASIS&T universe. Examples include the ASIS&T Regional (East Coast) Meeting on April 15th at Rutgers University (https://www.asist.org/events/asist-regional-meeting-2016- rutgers-university/), with a day-long opportunity to learn and network (check our website for more details). And across the globe, the ASIS&T Taipei Chapter will hold a stimulating workshop on data science, information visualization and infographics on April 29th at National Taiwan Normal University Library.
Remember that ASIS&T is your organization and your window into cutting-edge research and achievements in our field, so go ahead, get engaged and tell us about what is happening in your lab, classroom or workplace, and about the grants, initiatives, awards and programs you are involved in. We want to hear from you. Send us an email with the details at: firstname.lastname@example.org