Recommendation regarding publication in the informatics/information systems discipline in Sweden

Research is a fundamental responsibility of faculty at all levels. Faculty members demonstrate their scholarly contributions through peer-reviewed books, articles, chapters, design artefacts, and other output. Supporting high-quality publication in the discipline is a shared responsibility of all Swedish informatics/information systems (IS) departments. Therefore, there is a need for guidelines that can facilitate suitable publication strategies in the discipline. However, it is probably infeasible to establish detailed instructions for publication across the many academic units at a university. Moreover, the very nature of the IS discipline is to be in, about and for change. Given this nature, perceptions of what is at the core and the periphery are in flux. Accordingly, a continuous discussion about the identity of the discipline is essential.

The IS discipline in Sweden can distinguish two complementary aspects of publishing. These two aspects capture our ambition to promote (a) high-quality publications that also (b) help build our identity and thus facilitate “disciplinary congruence” (a term borrowed from the criteria for the Börje Langefors award). Therefore, it is in the interest of SISA to support high-quality research that displays and helps build a strong sense of disciplinary belonging.

Regarding (a), there are differing opinions about what constitutes a quality outlet, and many different rankings exist. As the IS discipline has grown in importance, many journals traditionally seen as outside its core have become targets for our faculty. It is essential to embrace such diversity, which can help increase our discipline’s impact on other fields. Several Nordic universities have adopted the Norwegian ‘Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers’ as a benchmark (the NSD List, for short). Thus, it seems reasonable to promote publication channels with a Scientific Level of 2 in the NSD List (the highest level). Additionally, one may also consider Clarivate’s JCR Journal Impact Factor as a proxy for outlet quality.

Regarding (b), there is consensus in the international IS community that the AIS Senior Scholars’ Basket of Eight journals is important to our field. When AIS surveyed how IS scholars perceive the Basket of Eight (n=975), 62% thought the Basket had a positive impact on our discipline, only 21% thought it had had a negative effect. There were no significant differences among regions of the world. The journals currently on the list are, in alphabetical order: European Journal of Information Systems, Information Systems Journal, Information Systems Research, Journal of the AIS, Journal of Information Technology, Journal of MIS, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, and MIS Quarterly.

In addition to the Basket of Eight, the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of AIS have recommended journals essential to scholarship within the SIG’s specific area of interest. The resulting lists of journals (one list per SIG) provide an additional source of high-quality outlets, not in the Basket of Eight, that help build disciplinary congruence. The SIGs currently list 48 different journals, including ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Decision Support Systems, Government Information Quarterly, and IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. See for the complete set of SIG recommended journals.

With this backdrop, SISA recommends its members to encourage publication in:
1. Journals in the AIS Senior Scholars’ Basket of Eight.
2. Journals recommended by the AIS Special Interest Groups and included at Level 2 in the NSD List with a JCR Impact Factor of at least 1.0.

The recommendation is for the benefit and guidance of our current faculty, junior colleagues (PhD students and postdocs), and prospective job applicants for positions at all levels. In addition, it can help guide expert evaluators, current faculty, junior colleagues, and future job applicants towards publishing patterns in concert with national and international standards. It also provides a point of reference for publication elsewhere, which can be valuable and motivated in particular cases. It is neither desirable nor possible to define an abstract and universal measurement standard across departments and universities. Each case must be examined in detail by delineating particular strengths and acknowledging limitations or weaknesses.

SISA T&P Recommendation