Transforming Content Through Transformed Systems

Virtual Conference

NFAIS Forethought Strategic Summit


Join us for talks by Daniel Ayala, Secratic, Cindi Blyberg, OCLC, Mark Gross, Data Conversion Laboratory, Steph Garrett, PodDB, Chris Iannicello, The Optical Society (OSA), Lauren Kane, Morressier, Kevin Muha, SAGE Publishing, John Shaw, SAGE Publishing, and Chris Shillum, ORCID.

Historically, scholarly publishing has focused on technology and platforms that primarily supported the handling of text. Systems were built to facilitate submission, review, editing, formatting, organization, storage, distribution, and discovery. Resources were poured into these systems and they became increasingly sophisticated.

Now, we are seeing the emergence of technology and systems optimized for support of the new content types, formats, and interactions that are of increasing importance and visibility in scholarly communication. Traditional publications are still with us, but users need and expect more.

New systems are required, but those striving to justify and build them face numerous challenges. Transformation requires extensive advance planning and buy-in from a variety of internal stakeholders. And it’s complicated. For example, over time, there may have been home-grown customization —  who remembers now what that code  or its associated metadata looks like? How many schemas might have been brought in at different times? How do you manage — and meet — the needs of multiple stakeholders, internal and external? Collaborative effort is essential even before any new system is introduced.  

In this program, we will explore the challenges from both a management and a technology perspective to consider how the information community can develop systems that continue to add value to scholarly communication and success.

Event Sessions


10:15am - 10:30am Welcome


10:30 am - 11:00am Keynote: Why Publishing Systems and Platforms Require Re-Engineering


Kevin Muha

President, Global Village Publishing
Sage Publications

Although we all likely work with applications within and outside of our organizations that have been in service longer than the most tenured employee, it is unlikely that they have been re-engineered and updated frequently to meet the demands and strains of our ever-evolving online businesses.  But why must we always re-invest and re-engineer these systems? If they are mature and/or even commoditized, is it really that important? YES!

This session will kickstart the discussions that will ensue over our two days around technical debt and the perils of often chasing the shiny objects while avoiding critical “housekeeping” until it’s too late; the constant change in technology and technology frameworks and the decisions of investment; dealing with End-of-Life technology and the risks it poses; how security and privacy must be constantly considered; the importance of accessibility and how it relates to re-engineering; being nimble and agile in our evolving businesses; and how outdated technology can cause all of this to seize up if not properly (re)invested in.


11:00am - 11:30am The Past is Prologue: Managing Change to Support an Expanding Research Ecosystem


Scholarly publishing has historically been slow to change, with underlying systems, formats, and workflows evolving incrementally over time. However, given the events of the last 18 months and the clear need for a more transparent, accessible, and comprehensive research ecosystem, we may be at an inflection point, with more rapid change ahead.

Sharing early-stage research findings and promoting discourse around initial experimentation, far before a published article, can be critical to expediting breakthroughs. The appetite for and appreciation of pre-published findings for a variety of content types including video, presentations, posters, datasets, and negative results seems poised not just to continue but to accelerate. 

But how can organizations and information managers practically integrate these traditionally analog or previously unavailable content formats into their existing systems and workflows? What are the key considerations in ensuring that this information is not just accessible but meaningfully connected and preserved, while respecting privacy and re-use limitations? And critically, how can this be done in a financially sustainable manner? In this presentation, we’ll explore these and related questions, drawing from industry examples of organizations that are innovating around new content types and successfully anticipating changing user needs. 

11:30am - 12:00 Noon Re-Thinking Products and Systems


Changes in technology and requirements nearly always outstrip organizational capacity. Without careful planning, tech debt can pile up, and new requirements for privacy, security, accessibility, smooth user experience, and culturally-sensitive language can fall to the bottom of the priority list. If an organization does not champion their staff's professional development in their technology and product teams, it can quickly fall behind. Tech infrastructure can age quickly if not updated, leading to security problems and customers unhappy with products and interfaces and their accessibility and language. At the same time, the tech teams must work behind the scenes to ensure that no major functionality (or data!) is lost when modernizing. Learn how the software creation process has evolved away from one person writing scripts to larger and more varied teams who review code, write tests, and make use of modern tools to compensate for the expanded time it can take to create, maintain, and roll out changes. Lastly, hear strategies for scheduling the potential disruption in our modern, 24/7 world.

Recommended Reading: The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most by Andrew L. Russell and Lee Vinsel

Resource shared by our attendees: Educause Information Security Guide: Effective Practices and Solutions for Higher Education

12:00 Noon - 12:45pm Lunch break

12:45am - 1:15pm Engage and Process (Discussion)

1:15pm - 1:45pm Planning: Engaging with Management and IT


Working through any significant system transformation can be a complex, challenging and risky undertaking for any publisher.  However, with the increase of not only the number of content resources, but also the sophistication of finding relevant content, publishers must keep up to date with new features and services to remain a compelling option for authors, researchers, and other stakeholders.

One of the key components of successful system transformation is effectively planning and communicating to both the technical and executive team members in a way that fosters collaboration and buy-in; ensuring that necessary information regarding requirements, timelines, and risk is understood by the people who need to know, and when they need to know it.

In this section, we will discuss the various aspects of how to best work effectively with both Management and IT through system projects and upgrades; including how to best establish and communicate priorities, how to best utilize project team members, and how to modulate communication styles based on the situation and audience. Using some of these tools and techniques will hopefully result in a more effective and successful system transformation for your organization.

1:45pm - 2:00pm Summarize - Wrap-Up


10:15am - 10:30am Welcome and Summarization

10:30am - 11:00am Building for the Future: Interoperability


The rise of cloud-hosted Software as a Service over the past 5-10 years, replacing traditional desktop or local server-installed software, has also lead to a transformation in the way that services interoperate. The traditional mode of interoperability, based on exchange of files in standard formats, has given way to an API-centric model, in which transactional data and messages are exchanged directly between cloud-hosted services using standards such as JSON, REST and OAuth2. This talk will briefly describe the new API-driven interoperability model, explain some of the benefits and disadvantages for users, and consider the implications of this shift for service providers.


11:00am - 11:30am Engage and Process (Discussion)

11:30am - 12:00 Noon Managing The Risks


Security has become a key part of business, education, and research. What was once seen and run as a cost-centre is now a key piece of keeping organizations operating and building the reputation and trust in that which it produces. With this increased role comes the need to ensure security operates on par with the rest of the business and technology practices of the organization.

In this session, we will discuss how reducing security debt and being proactive in securing your systems reduces the risks from and impacts of incidents; how to address the rise of ransomware and other attacks which have significant potential to disrupt the information and research space from a confidentiality, integrity and availability perspective; and how to approach finding the delicate balance on data use, retention and interchange that is right for your patrons/customers/company/institution.

Resource shared by our attendees: NIST Resource Repository on Privacy and Framework: Guidelines and Tools

12:00 Noon - 12:30pm Future Proofing The System


While no magic ball (or AI) exists to effectively predict how to future proof systems related to scholarly publishing, the industry is being shaped by the fundamental change in how journal content is consumed. The discovery ecosystem of journal content has shifted from formatting and optimizing an article to be read by a human to structuring and semantically tagging an article to be first consumed by a machine so that it can be directed to its proper target—a discovery platform, a search result, Google Scholar, CrossRef, OCLC, and others, many of which we don’t yet know about. The foundation of future proofing a system requires the input and output of content to be properly structured, semantically tagged, and easily accessible.


1:00pm - 1:30pm Engage and Process (Discussion)

1:30pm - 1:45pm Final Takeaways

Additional Information

NISO assumes organizations register as a group. The model assumes that an unlimited number of staff will be watching the live broadcast in a single location, but also includes access to an archived recording of the event for those who may have timing conflicts. 

NISO understands that, during the current pandemic, staff at a number of organizations may be practicing safe social distancing or working remotely. To accommodate those workers, we are allowing registrants to share the sign-on instructions with all colleagues so that they may join the broadcast directly, irrespective of their geographical location. 

Registrants receive sign-on instructions via email on the Friday prior to the virtual event. If you have not received your instructions by the day before an event, please contact NISO headquarters for assistance via email ( 

Registrants for an event may cancel participation and receive a refund (less $35.00) if the notice of cancellation is received at NISO HQ ( one full week prior to the event date. If received less than 7 days before, no refund will be provided. 

Links to the archived recording of the broadcast are distributed to registrants 24-48 hours following the close of the live event. Access to that recording is intended for internal use of fellow staff at the registrant’s organization or institution. Speaker presentations are posted to the NISO event page.

Broadcast Platform

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