ISJ Manuscript Types

ISJ publishes various manuscript types, the vast majority are Research Articles but there are other types, some of which are new – see below.

(Please select the relevant paper type for your submission and specify in the Wiley submission system.)

Research Articles

A Research Article is a regular article based on empirical research that is written by the researchers who did the research. Research Articles must be original and make a sufficiently significant contribution to warrant publication. Research Articles must normally reference theory, whether through validating, building, challenging, refuting or refining one or more theories. Research Articles may employ one or many methods. Researchers should specify their epistemological and ontological stance in the article. Research Articles must be explicitly linked to research about information systems in a specific and identifiable context. Normally a Research Article should not exceed 10,000 words of main text (excluding references and appendices). The vast majority of articles submitted to and published by the ISJ are Research Articles.

Research Opinions

A Research Opinion is a regular length article in which authors take issue with a topic of broad significance in the IS discipline. Authors of Research Opinions may choose to focus on such topics as methods, theories, epistemology or specific phenomena of interest to the IS researcher or practitioner. They should critically evaluate their subject matter and be prescriptive with respect to future research and practice in the area. Research Opinions should be articulated trenchantly and persuasively. Above all, we seek contributions that are both insightful and provocative, challenging the current orthodoxy and proposing new directions for investigation.

Research Commentaries

A Research Commentary is a short article (max 3000 words) in which authors analyse one or more published ISJ articles. Such a commentary would normally need to make a significant contribution to knowledge by engaging in a critical evaluation or otherwise elaborating specific issues that the original authors did not consider. All Research Commentaries will be screened by an Editor and a Senior Editor before being sent for review. If a Research Commentary is accepted for publication, then the authors of the original article(s) that is/are the focus of the commentary will be invited to write a brief response (max 500 words). However, no further correspondence or publication will be entertained beyond this response.

Research Impacts

Following a very successful and lively Senior Scholars’ panel at ICIS in Milan, the ISJ has resolved to introduce a new section on Research Impact. The panel argued that there is an increasing need for researchers to demonstrate the value of their research. Governments and accreditation bodies now require institutions to assess impact. However, despite substantial funding being distributed in some countries at least partly based on ‘research impact’, there is a poor understanding of the notion of ‘impact of research’, as well as how it can be measured and improved. The impact of basic and applied research differs. However, it is clear from the panel discussion that the implications, for theory and on practice, that journals routinely require authors to discuss are not the same as ‘impacts’. Most research is published too early in the impact cycle for the impacts to have been achieved. Specific impacts can be hard to conceptualise, especially if those impacts involve policy changes. Causality is difficult to establish or evidence and topics, methods, and approaches differ in their ability to generate impact. Further, much impact may be unexpected or unintended and takes a long time to emerge.

To begin to address these issues and to encourage the development of a better understanding of research impact, ISJ has launched a new section of the Journal, known as ‘Research Impacts’. Acknowledging the need in the usual publication cycle to contribute to the state of knowledge quickly and the publication pressures on academics, the Research Impacts section will offer an opportunity for scholars to reflect on impact at a distance from their original research. Initially, we will be inviting all those who have published in ISJ more than five years ago to reflect on that research and the impacts and outcomes that obtained since publication. It is not intended that these should be full papers, although they may be, or that they need to have the literature and theoretical underpinnings that an ISJ paper usually requires given that the original paper is readily available.

We hope that this new section will provide insights into the nature of impact, its scope and scale, its emergence and emergent properties, and how the unit of analysis has responded. Theories of impact may begin to develop, and evidence of research impacts becomes available to the information systems community.

Practitioner Paper

A Practitioner Paper is similar to a regular Research Article, but it is written by non-academic practitioners and is intended to provide insights into the practitioner perspective of information systems in organisations. While the structure of a practitioner paper should be similar to that of a regular research article, we would expect to see less emphasis on the theoretical underpinnings and contribution of the research, but more emphasis on the practical value of the research findings. Practitioner insights into what works and why it works are particularly valuable and have the potential to demonstrate a high degree of impact.