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Abstract

This paper puts forward an academic identity for the IS discipline which emerges out of its displayed academic artifacts – namely, papers published in two of the discipline’s major journals (Information Systems Research and MIS Quarterly) between 1977 and 2006. Our study focuses on two specific attributes of these papers: the focal IT Artifact and the IS Theme. An analysis of 1056 papers reveals an academic identity characterized by a relatively persistent focus on a small set of IT Artifacts and a similarly small set of IS Themes. The analysis suggests that our academic identity is indicated by two central and enduring intellectual cores associated with a handful of IT Artifacts and IS Themes, which have captured the attention of IS researchers over three decades. This academic identity may be described as the scientific study of the design, development, and management of information technologies, as well as their use by and impact on individuals, groups, and organizations. Of particular interest are information technologies (and their specific components) that enable communication, collaboration, and decision making. A follow up analysis of the papers published in 2007 and 2008 provides support to the central and enduring nature of our discipline’s intellectual core.

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