History of ISJ

The ISJ was created by David Avison and Guy Fitzgerald around 1989 when they persuaded Blackwell Scientific to publish the Journal. Blackwell’s (now Blackwell Publishing) were a very well established Oxford-based publishers of world renown with many hundreds of mainly scientific and medical journals to their name, but they wished to expand their portfolio and were happy to take on the Information Systems Journal.

However, the Journal was conceived somewhat before this in the mid 1980s when David and Guy contemplated the state of information systems (IS). It was essentially a field of applied computing, then known as DP (data processing). The perspective was different to that of computer science at the time, and they took the view that IS stood with its back to the machine and looked outward towards the world at large, whereas computer science stood in much the same place but looked inwards towards the technology. For David and Guy the context was broad and included important issues beyond the technology, including business, organizational and social issues and impacts. It was felt that the impact of technology was not just concerned with efficiency, i.e. that it allowed existing activities to be undertaken more quickly and cheaply, but that it was a significant change agent with an ‘enabling’ quality. This wider perspective meant that IS had to embrace a number of associated disciplines and their research approaches, some of which were of considerable distance from the generally quantitative and positivistic methods of computer science. In particular it was found that existing journals did not provide suitable outlets for research adopting this IS view of the world. Neither did they embrace the associated pluralism of research methods. As a result (although this makes it seem more straightforward than it was) the Journal of Information Systems was established, which was launched at ICIS in December 1990, with the first issue dated January 1991.

Name Change
It quickly emerged that the choice of name, originally Journal of Information Systems, was somewhat problematic. The American Accounting Association also had a Journal of Information Systems, although strictly speaking its full title was The AAA Journal of Information Systems. Nevertheless there was enough overlap to cause confusion and as the newcomer it was decided to change our name. So in 1994 with the first issue of that year the journal became the Information Systems Journal, and with it, its widely-used acronym, the ISJ. The name change proved only a minor set back and the ISJ went from strength to strength.

In 1995 Associate Editors were appointed for the first time, and in 1997 Philip Powell became Managing Editor. This enabled the sharing of the ever-increasing workload and positioned the ISJ as a major international information systems journal.

In 2007 the ISJ announced it was to become an associated journal of the Association for Information Systems (AIS).

In 2008 the ISJ, due to continuing success and volume and quality of submissions, moved to 6 issues per year. Also in 2008 the Editors reviewed the progress of the ISJ over its 17 year history and reflected on the IS discipline in the period in relation to teaching, research and practice, resulting in a paper published in ISJ in January (Volume 18, Issue 1).

New Editors
In July 2012 David Avison and Guy Fitzgerald retired as Editors and Robert Davison, Philip Powell and Eileen Trauth took over as Editors-in-Chief – see their inaugural Editorial here.

In January 2017 Eileen Trauth and Philip Powell stepped down as editors and Robert Davison became sole Editor-in-Chief of ISJ.

ISJ History timeline:
1990 – Journal established as Journal of Information Systems with David Avison and Guy Fitzgerald as Editors
1991 – January – 1st Issue launched
1994 – January – Name change to Information Systems Journal (ISJ)
1995 – First Associate Editors appointed
1997 – Philip Powell appointed Managing Editor
1999 – Blackwell Publishing ‘Synergy’ launched, enables on-line electronic access to ISJ
2003 – Editors Web Site launched
2006 – Over 70,000 downloads
2007 – Issue size expanded by 25%, Blackwell Publishing merge with Wiley
2008 – Move to 6 issues per year, ISJ becomes an official journal of AIS (Association for Information Systems)
2012 July – New Editors-in-Chief appointed (Robert Davison, Philip Powell and Eileen Trauth)
2015 – ISJ Downloads pass the 100,000 mark
2017 January – Robert Davison becomes sole Editor-in-Chief