ICSTI's 40th Anniversary

ICSTI anniversary icon

In the early 1980s, the pace of scientific information creation had begun to surpass the capability of traditional cataloging, classification, and abstracting methods. This resulted in the International Council for Scientific Unions (ICSU) Abstracting Board to change in response to shifting information needs. At a meeting in Philadelphia on 20th June 1984, the ICU-AB changed form to become the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information.

In June 2024, ICSTI will celebrate its 40th year as an organization. In that time, it has brought together leading players in Scientific and Technical Information worldwide. This is especially true of our 2024 Annual Conference, which will be collocated with PiDFest in Prague on June 13th-14th. Join us for this amazing opportunity to meet in-person and explore the ever-expanding field of persistent identifiers.

ICSTI Connections: Data Management and Sharing Policy

ICSTI Connections

At the first ICSTI Connections event of 2023, Taunton Paine, director of the Scientific Data Sharing Policy Division in the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Science Policy, provided an overview of the NIH's current Data Management and Sharing Policy (DMSP). The DMSP went into effect in January 2023 and is aimed at both promoting trust in publicly funded research and advancing the rigor and reproducibility of research supported by taxpayer funds. Sharing data helps to validate research results, make high-value data sets accessible, accelerate future research, and increase opportunities for collaboration and citation of research products.

Paine explained that the DMSP is an evolution of the data sharing policies that NIH has had in place since 1989, and now applies to all research supported by NIH funds awarded on or after the policy went into effect in January. Despite NIH's 30 years of policy support for data sharing, accessing research data remains a challenge. Taunton cited several recent studies demonstrating the difficulties of obtaining datasets underlying peer-reviewed publications:

  • In one study, researchers were only able to obtain 39.5% of the underlying data for 875 papers published across nine disciplines from 2000-2019.
  • In an evaluation of 193 experiments reported in 53 high-impact cancer biology papers, researchers were unable to obtain 68% of the supporting data.
  • Another study examined 1,792 BioMed Central papers that included published data-sharing statements and found that, 93% of authors either did not respond or declined to share data.

The studies indicate the ongoing challenges of data sharing, and support the rationale for policies such as the NIH's DMSP to promote accountability and transparency in publicly funded research.

After Paine's presentation, the audience, which included representatives of over two-thirds of ICSTI's member organizations from 9 different countries, participated in an in-depth question and answer session. Attendees expressed curiosity about the impact of the NIH DMSP over the first few months of implementation. Paine emphasized that it remains too early to observe the policy's impact, but noted that NIH is continuing to develop both federal and independent resources to support both researchers and NIH institutes with compliance. While the DMSP does provide more guidance than previous NIH policies, Paine noted that the NIH has chosen to take a template-free approach to the DMSP requirements. In lieu of templates, NIH has provided example data management and sharing plans that meet the updated NIH recommendations. In this way researchers have greater flexibility to create plans that work for their specific study.

In response to audience questions and several members who shared more about their organizations' own data management and sharing efforts, Paine added that NIH looked at examples from international research funders as well as other federal agencies in developing the DMSP. They will continue to pay attention to data management and sharing policymaking and implementation efforts around the world, and will continue to test different approaches to implementing the DMSP at NIH to establish best practices.

Data sharing is an evolving area of scientific and technical information management, and ICSTI looks forward to hearing more about other member organizations efforts to support data sharing at future ICSTI events.

ICSTI Annual Conference: Global Progress in Open Science Implementation

ICSTI Connections

In December, ICSTI hosted a virtual annual conference centered around the theme of global progress in open science implementation. The full-day event spanned multiple time zones, allowing attendance from across ICSTI's global membership and wider public audience: around 350 people affiliated with over 150 different organizations in 33 countries registered for the conference. Demonstrating ICSTI's growth from 2021 to 2022, the 2022 conference featured almost three times as many speakers as the 2021 iteration.

During the two public workshop sessions, attendees heard from eight different expert speakers representing a pool of experts drawn from both ICSTI's member organizations and elsewhere. ICSTI member workshop speakers included Dr. Zhang Zhixiong, vice director of the National Science Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Renee Venne, acting director of library & information management services at the National Research Council - Canada. Dr. Zhang shared a presentation on the impact of the ChinaXiv pre-print service, while Renee gave an update on the Federal Open Science Repository of Canada (FOSRC), an initiative designed to develop critical open science infrastructure to support Canadian researchers.

Additional workshop presentations from-non-members included:

All of the above-mentioned public workshop presentations are available for viewing on our Resources page. Special thanks are due to two ICSTI members in particular for their conference support. The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) provided live translation services for Workshop 1, improving accessibility for ICSTI's Japanese-speaking audience, while the German National Library for Science and Technology (TIB) continues to provide efficient hosting for ICSTI event recordings in keeping with open science principles.

In addition to two public workshops, the Annual Conference included a members-only session featuring the following presenters:

Member representatives also participated in a General Assembly business meeting to discuss ICSTI matters and approve changes for the coming year.

The 2022 ICSTI Annual Conference offered a great opportunity for both ICSTI members and non-members to share their open science projects, services, and broader challenges and policy issues. The diverse presentations highlighted the scope of the work being done across the open science space while also bringing both the common goals and the many shared challenges facing information management and infrastructure organizations into focus. ICSTI looks forward to future events that continue to bring ICSTI members and non-members together to support progress in open science policy and implementation.

ICSTI Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in Harvesting Open Access Materials

ICSTI Connections

In October, ICSTI hosted its third entry in the Connections series, with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities of harvesting open access materials led by Brian Bales, coordinator of the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). INIS hosts one of the world's largest collections of published information on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

In this session, Brian shared his perspective and experiences with harvesting open access data and making data openly accessible in both his current role and in a previous role with the United Nations. In his work with the UN, he created a platform for public access to records from the UN Tribunal on Genocide in Rwanda. He found that multiple repositories copied those UN records, meaning that researchers were no longer accessing those records through the UN platform and therefore were not crediting the platform. Brian shared this story as a means of illustrating the questions that continue to play a role in open data and open access policies.

As a counterpoint, Brian explained how INIS has benefited from harvesting open data, allowing INIS to provide more comprehensive coverage of nuclear science activities. Harvesting open data is no simple task, and Brian made note of some of the challenges INIS encounters, such as varying copyright terms, varying metadata standards, varying character sets, problems of filtering content from megajournals, information loss, etc. While there are many challenges making the harvesting of open access materials difficult, the benefits outweigh the difficulties.

Following Brian's presentation, attendees representing 13 different ICSTI member organizations in 13 different countries joined in the discussion. The conversation covered a wide range of technical and philosophical issues related to data harvesting from repositories. The participants discussed various mechanisms that they use to harvest metadata, and the possibility of sharing collected APIs and harvesting methods to avoid duplication of effort. In addition to many internally developed methods, tools like OpenAIRE, ROR, DOAJ, and OpenAlex were mentioned.

The participants also talked about how loss of control can sometimes lead to a loss of credit to the originating repository. While the lack of credit can be frustrating, several in attendance acknowledged that data harvesting ultimately increases the visibility of and access to authors' work, raising the question of how important credit is to a repository if the goal is to provide increased access to information. Many noted their experiences with a major drawback of harvesting: once data is harvested, it does not receive the same level of ongoing maintenance as the data in the original repository, highlighting the need for a standardized methods of metadata creation, mapping, and merging, alongside robust integration and adoption of persistent identifiers.

In concluding the session, Brian Bales thanked all in attendance for the lively discussion, noting that the opportunity to gather in a more informal space to share problems and learn more about what other organizations are doing reflects the true value of ICSTI.

ICSTI Connections: Research Data Services

ICSTI Connections

The ICSTI Connections series continued in June, this time offering ICSTI members an informal discussion forum for sharing experience and expertise on research data services. Timo Henne, operations manager for the eResearch Alliance (eRA) at the State and University Library Göttingen (SUB) , presented an overview of the eRA's services, which are available to the large and diverse community of researchers affiliated with the Göttingen campus.

The eRA was founded in 2014 with the goal of establishing a campus-wide knowledge infrastructure supporting researchers in all disciplines, avoiding the development of redundant and potentially noninteroperable research data solutions in silos across the Göttingen campus. Timo detailed the eRA's four pillars of support for researchers:

  • Consulting: The eRA acts as a comprehensive research data management (RDM) resource for consultation throughout the research process, from project planning to publication and data sharing. The eRA further acts as a central contact point helping researchers discover and connect with services relevant to their research elsewhere on campus.
  • Training: The eRA provides research data trainings in various settings, and tailors those trainings to address project- or discipline-specific needs.
  • Networking: The eRA supports and participates in national and international projects relating to RDM, driving the development of knowledge infrastructures and research data services beyond Göttingen.
  • Services: The eRA provides many unique services, including an institutional data repository that can be used to store and share working data, and an open source and adaptable research data management organizer tool.

Watch Timo's presentation here and feel free to contact him with follow-up questions.

Following Timo's presentation, the audience, representing 13 ICSTI member organizations joining from 11 different countries, had the opportunity to ask questions and participate in discussion. There was a particular interest in learning more about the eRA's tailored trainings and methods of raising researcher awareness of research data services.

Responding to questions, Timo shared more about the process of tailoring trainings. He explained that the eRA has established standard trainings covering research data basics common to all disciplines. To tailor these trainings, staff meet with researchers to evaluate their needs and questions, and then use this information to adapt or amend standard trainings to address project- or discipline-specific issues, and make recommendations for services that will further support the work. While tailoring trainings in this way takes about 1-2 days of work, that time is well worth it because the specificity emphasizes the importance and relevance of RDM to the particular project or discipline. Tailored trainings also serve to ensure that researchers feel confident returning to the eRA for further consultations.

Several in the audience noted that raising awareness of available research data services at their institutions is quite difficult, and asked about the eRA's approach. Timo stated that trainings are an important element of raising awareness, but that the eRA also participates in informational events across the campus to promote their services to different research stakeholders. Such events not only raise awareness of the eRA, but also build awareness of the general need to integrate RDM into daily research practices. One attendee noted that their institution has established a designated time during doctoral student orientation during which they present available research services and support to ensure awareness from the earliest days of study. Such an approach could be useful to other ICSTI members as well.

Other topics of discussion included:

  • Availability and accessibility of data management planning tools and trainings at the eRA and other ICSTI member organizations, including whether tools and trainings are open-source, publicly available, and support international/multi-lingual usage.
  • Data publication, addressing 1) data repositories, including discussion of use cases for institutional vs. discipline specific vs. public repositories, and 2) the use of descriptive data papers to improve discoverability and increase reuse of published research data.

In all, it was a robust and engaging discussion, and we are excited that the Connections format is proving its potential. We are grateful to Timo Henne for leading the session, and we thank all who attended for contributing to the discussion. Connections sessions are member-driven, so all ICSTI members are invited to send session topic ideas to ICSTI's executive manager (

Launch of ICSTI Connections

Launch of ICSTI Connections

Last month, ICSTI launched a new event series, ICSTI Connections, which offers our members an informal discussion forum for sharing experience and expertise on key topics in STI. ICSTI members propose Connections topics and provide a volunteer moderator, who makes a short presentation and then guides the conversation that follows.

The March Connections topic was portfolio analytics, and Mary Beth West, an information technology specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), shared a presentation detailing OSTI's prototype researcher profile tool. This tool is being developed to leverage data resources, tools, and methodologies to support activities such as assessing programmatic impact, identifying collaboration opportunities, and facilitating peer review. Mary Beth explained the wide array of data sources that OSTI uses to inform their researcher profile tool and wider portfolio analytics efforts, including the OSTI.GOV database, other governmental databases such as the USPTO's trademark search, and external resources such as Web of Science, OpenAlex, Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), and ORCiD.

To provide an example for the open discussion portion of the Connections event, Mary Beth shared screenshots of the prototype researcher profile tool, which generates a composite profile of an individual researcher in the form of a dashboard displaying various metrics for impact comparison, e.g. bibliometric index indicators. Mary Beth then opened the floor to discussion amongst session attendees about their use of portfolio analytics as part of their own research evaluation efforts.

With attendees representing 12 different ICSTI member organizations, the conversation was wide-ranging. The following points summarize a few significant topics of discussion:

  • Qualitative forms of assessment and how alternative metrics such as social network analysis (SNA), leadership activities, press presence, etc., can be factored into portfolio analytics efforts
  • OpenAlex as a quality data source, in comparison to both MAG and to traditional publisher-funded citation indexes such as Web of Science and Scopus
  • Evaluation of researcher openness in support of institutional or national Open Access requirements or commitments, including the concept of Openness Profiles for assessing research
  • Challenges around disambiguation, including mention of Semantic Scholar's author disambiguation algorithm, as well as the ReCiter algorithm and analysis of the accuracy of its author prediction in relation to PubMed publications

By the end of the session, those in attendance came away with new resources to investigate, new questions about their own portfolio analytics efforts, and new connections to others in the ICSTI community doing the same kinds of work.

We thank Mary Beth West for moderating such a fruitful discussion, and thank all who participated for their willingness to exchange information. We look forward to bringing ICSTI members the next Connections session in May. ICSTI members are invited to send session topic ideas to ICSTI's executive manager (



ICSTI and FORCE11, a “community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders” that aims “to bring about a change in modern scholarly communications through the effective use of information technology,” have been exploring a potential partnership and collaboration opportunities since 2019. ICSTI is proud to finally have collaborated with FORCE11 on the FORCE2021: Joining Forces to Advance the Future of Research Communications conference earlier this month. ICSTI's executive manager Lisa Curtin has been a member of the FORCE2021 Organizing Committee since April, working with representatives from FORCE11 and many other collaborating organizations, including the AGU, COAR, and Software Sustainability Institute. The Organizing Committee was responsible for planning and hosting the December 7-9 conference.

Lisa provided input and support to the organizing committee throughout the year, including review of community submissions for lightning talk and poster sessions, live-tweeting during the conference, and creating a conference welcome video. ICSTI was further responsible for planning the conference's final keynote session on December 9. The final keynote topic, “The future of science work: Pandemic implications for the future of scientific communication & collaboration” was selected by ICSTI's ITOC chair Margret Plank.

ICSTI invited Dr. Anindita Bhadra, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at IISER Kolkata and immediate past Co-Chair of the Global Young Academy, to discuss changes to scientific communication and collaboration between and beyond scientists that we have seen over the past two years. The Tuesday and Wednesday keynote speakers were Dr. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle of UNESCO and Dr. Leslie Chan of the University of Toronto Scarborough. All FORCE2021 session recordings will be available here.

By collaborating on the FORCE2021 conference, ICSTI has made progress towards our goals of outreach and increased awareness of our organization. 1,364 people from 71 countries attended and participated in FORCE2021, reaching a global audience consisting of researchers, publishers, library and information professionals and service providers, policy-makers, and research funders. Working with FORCE11 and many other partners to organize this unique and well-attended event was a unique and much-appreciated opportunity to build ICSTI's network, and we look forward to working with FORCE11 again in the future.

ICSTI thanks FORCE2021's sponsors, including ICSTI member ISSN, for making it possible to offer the conference as a free event. We hope that all ICSTI members enjoyed the conference, and we appreciate any feedback.

ICSTI General Assembly 2021

ICSTI Virtual General Assembly

ICSTI held our annual General Assembly virtually for a second time this year on October 19, offering both a closed business meeting session and an open Members' Fair session featuring presentations on Open Data and Open Science topics from five ICSTI members.

At the business meeting, a full 90% of our voting members were represented, along with several of our valued partner organizations. Major meeting topics included an update on ICSTI's Executive Director search and needed changes to ICSTI's governance, as well as discussion and a vote on a merger between ICSTI and the WorldWideScience Alliance (WWSA).

With regard to ICSTI staffing and governance, ICSTI president Jan Brase recommended ending ICSTI's Executive Director search. Based on the successful implementation of the interim Executive Manager role, he further recommended shifting ICSTI's staffing and governance model to include an Executive Manager and Board of Directors, which will replace the existing positions of Executive Director and Executive Board. The membership approved this recommendation and voiced their support for retaining Lisa Curtin, who has acted as ICSTI's interim Executive Manager since February 2021, as the permanent Executive Manager.

Along with the WWSA operating agent Lorrie Johnson, Lisa presented the benefits and technical details of a merger between ICSTI and WWSA. Investigation into the feasibility of a merger has been ongoing since ICSTI's 2020 GA meeting. WWSA was born out of connections between ICSTI members, and the two organizations have shared a close relationship and largely duplicate membership since WWSA's inception in 2009. During the business meeting, the ICSTI membership voted to approve a formal merger between the two organizations, which will create greater membership value and offer expanded opportunities to grow organization membership. The details of the merger will be finalized and implemented over the coming year.

Following the business meeting, ICSTI offered a Members' Fair session featuring excellent presentations on Open Data and Open Science from five ICSTI members:

  • ISSN shared details on the international interoperability of metadata within the ISSN portal and other ISSN tools.
  • AII of CAAS detailed their wide-ranging efforts in support of open science in China, as spurred by their joining the OA2020 alliance.
  • TIB provided an explanation of the ongoing German National Research Data Infrastructure project, as well as details of TIB's individual participation.
  • NRC shared an update on Canadian federal open science policy development and the work being done across federal agencies to support government wide open access to research data.
  • KISTI presented the functionalities of their DataON national research data platform which allows users to store, manage, share and analyze data.

The Members' Fair featured these excellent presentations along with great questions and discussion from the audience.

Both sessions from the 2021 General Assembly provided a reminder of ICSTI's most essential value—that of bringing members together to exchange experience, expertise, and understanding. We look forward to offering future events like this as well as other opportunities for learning and collaboration amongst ICSTI's members.

ICSTI Events October – December 2021


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Margret Plank and Brian Hitson, ICSTI's ITOC & TACC chairs, respectively, and Lisa Curtin, ICSTI's Executive Manager, have been working to prepare three virtual events for the final quarter of 2021.

On 19 October ICSTI will host our annual general assembly (GA). At the GA business meeting, ICSTI member representatives will review ICSTI's activities and finances for the 2020-2021 period and discuss and vote on future ICSTI programs and offerings. Following a short break, anyone affiliated with an ICSTI member organization is invited to join us for a Members' Fair on Open Data (register here). Five invited ICSTI members will share short presentations on Open Data-related projects and initiatives. Q&A and discussion time will follow.

ICSTI has been working with FORCE11 and other community-led organizations since April on the virtual FORCE2021: Joining Forces to Advance the Future of Scholarly Communications conference. The conference will take place from 7-9 December, and is free to attend, so we invite anyone who is interested to register and attend. FORCE2021 will feature curated keynotes and panel discussions alongside community-submitted posters and lighting talks. Proposal submissions are open through October 15. Please contact the ICSTI office if you need assistance submitting a proposal.

ICSTI has organized the final FORCE2021 keynote session on the future of science work, with a focus on the long-term effects of pandemic-induced changes to the ways that researchers connect, communicate and collaborate with one another and with the public and policymakers. Dr. Anindita Bhadra, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at IISER Kolkata and immediate past Co-Chair of the Global Young Academy, will discuss the implications of these changes and how they can be carried forward to continue improving accessibility and equitable participation in scientific work.

Finally, also in December (date TBD), ICSTI will offer a virtual session on artificial intelligence and machine learning use cases in scientific and technical information. We look forward to seeing all of our member organizations at these events. Please contact the ICSTI office with any questions.

ICSTI General Assembly 2021


For our 2021 Annual Conference, ICSTI is collaborating with FORCE11 and other participating organizations to present a multi-day virtual event in mid-October. FORCE11 is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers, and research funders working towards shared goals of improved knowledge creation and sharing in scholarly communications. The conference, titled "FORCE2021: Joining Forces to Advance the Future of Research Communications,” will take the form of a curated virtual conference with pre-selected topics and speakers, organized in collaboration with multiple community-led or advocacy groups and organizations working towards the future of scholarly communications. The conference program will consist of keynotes, panels, lightning talks, and informal interactive discussion sessions, as well as poster sessions.

Lisa Curtin, ICSTI's Interim Executive Manager, joined the conference program committee starting in April 2021 to represent ICSTI's interests and help guide the choice of topics for each day of the conference. Conference session topics have been finalized and the program committee has begun seeking speakers and panelists. Lisa is working with ICSTI's ITOC and TACC chairs, Margret Plank and Brian Hitson, to identify and nominate potential speakers.

The collaborative nature of the FORCE2021 conference entails pre-conference virtual events, to which ICSTI will contribute. In addition to the FORCE2021 programming, ICSTI will schedule a program of ICSTI member presentations as well as ICSTI General Assembly and Executive Board business meetings.

Renewing ICSTI for 2021 and Beyond

ICSTI Virtual General Assembly

In furtherance of the ICSTI mission to facilitate cooperation between scientific communications stakeholders, in 2021 we are focused on initiating new partnerships and renewing old ones to foster a greater and more diverse membership and to move beyond mere cooperation to collaboration and mutual benefit amongst ICSTI members and partners.

After the pandemic led to the cancellation of ICSTI's planned co-located conference with FORCE11 in 2020, we are moving forward on a collaboration with FORCE11 and other related groups on an October 2021 virtual event addressing the future of scholarly communications. FORCE11 is a truly international organization, whose membership encompasses stakeholders at every level and part of the scholarly communications process. Bringing FORCE11's diverse community of individual researchers, students, librarians, publishers, funding officers, and service providers together with ICSTI's institutional members will create unique opportunities for learning, cooperation, and growth. The panel- and education-focused nature of the virtual event will foster conversations that might otherwise never take place.

ICSTI is also working to strengthen our existing partnerships, including our sponsorship of the WorldWideScience Alliance. The ICSTI Executive Board has commissioned a white paper to explore strengthening the ICSTI/WWSA strategic relationship even further. We will also be seeking to host virtual events in addition to the FORCE2021 conference for ICSTI members and partners and their staff later this year, as we move to demonstrate the value and vitality of our organization.

ICSTI Appoints Interim Executive Manager

Lisa Curtin

ICSTI is very pleased to welcome Lisa Curtin as our new interim Executive Manager. She began her work in February 2021. In her position, Lisa will help keep ICSTI alive and agile. About her mission, Lisa says:

"As the interim executive manager, I will focus on communications, relationship development, and financial management, and I will begin planning for the ICSTI General Assembly meeting in October. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve ICSTI, and hope that my term will set ICSTI up for renewed success as a facilitator of communication and collaboration between diverse STI stakeholders. You can expect regular email communications from me providing updates and seeking your input."

Lisa holds an M.A. in literature from Purdue University and an M.S. in information sciences from the University of Tennessee. She has worked in records and information management positions in a wide variety of fields over the past ten years, including energy, transportation, construction, education and law. It is great to have Lisa with us and we look forward to a constructive collaboration with her!