JAIS Manuscript Categories – Information for Authors

Contributing to JAIS

The Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS), the flagship journal of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), publishes scholarly contributions that represent the highest quality in the field of information systems. JAIS particularly welcomes contributions that provide theoretical insights that advance our understanding of information systems and information technology in organizations and society. New insights may include proposing a new theoretical model, challenging or clarifying existing theory, integrating diverse strands of research in information systems so as to advance new concepts and relationships, or developing a compelling argument for the field to develop a new theory. JAIS is inclusive in its coverage of topics, level and unit of analysis, theory, method, and philosophical and research approaches - reflecting all aspects of information systems research globally.

Manuscript Category

Authors should designate the manuscript category during submission. Please note that it is not currently possible to indicate the different types of categories directly in the review system, and so, the authors are asked to designate the manuscript category in their cover letter.

JAIS has the following manuscript categories:

1. Research Articles

This category is the most general category for manuscripts. It covers a range of genres, including studies involving qualitative and/or quantitative empirical studies, modeling, and design research.

In addition, this category will include methodological notes, articles which discuss: a) methodological innovations, or b) in-depth and critical examination of how research methods are employed, or could be employed in information systems research, and the implications of doing so. Note that articles that are primarily tutorial in nature and explain techniques well-known in other fields are likely to be better placed in journals such as Communications of the AIS.

If authors are in doubt as to the category that is appropriate for their manuscript, they should submit the manuscript in this category and further explain the nature of the submission in their cover letter.

2. Research Perspectives (Senior Editor: Allen S. Lee)

There are different types of manuscripts that will fit the JAIS category of Research Perspectives.

In one such type of manuscript, the author does not take the same perspective as taken by the author of a traditional Research Article, in which the object of study is information systems, but instead takes a higher-order perspective, in which the object of study is information-systems researchers, their activities, and the research worlds that they have created. Much as the author of a traditional Research Article may strive to question, observe, understand, and/or explain the objective and socially constructed worlds of information systems, the author of a Research Perspectives Article may strive to question, observe, understand, and/or explain the objective and socially constructed worlds of information-systems researchers. The author of such a Research Perspectives article momentarily suspends his or her own identity as an information-systems researcher and steps into the role of the philosopher or scientist whose object of reflection is information-systems researchers, their activities, and the research worlds that they have created. Thus fitting the JAIS category of Research Perspectives would be manuscripts taking perspectives similar to those taken in philosophy of science, history of science, sociology of science, philosophy of technology, and other similarly reflective fields.

In another such type of manuscript, the author may remain in the role of an information-systems researcher, but still strive for a level of reflection beyond the one taken in a traditional Research Article. In this light, for instance, a manuscript that develops and introduces a new research method would more likely qualify as a Research Article than a Research Perspectives Article; however, a manuscript that strives to effect a paradigm change (for instance, a change from a natural-science paradigm to a design-science paradigm, like the change already effected by articles such as the one by Hevner, March, Ram, and Park (2004) published in the MIS Quarterly) would more likely qualify as a Research Perspectives Article than a Research Article.

In yet another such type of manuscript, a philosophical and critical review of the evolution of thought of a senior scholar in the information-systems field, including how the evolution of his or her thought can contribute to the field in ways not previously recognized, could be a Research Perspectives Article.

Finally, it is possible that a manuscript that is written to fit JAIS’ earlier description of the Research Perspectives category (please see below) can still qualify as a Research Perspectives article, as long as it takes a higher-order perspective so that, as in the examples described above, its level of reflection is higher than the one taken in a traditional Research Article.

[Earlier Description of Research Perspectives (April 21, 2011): “The Research Perspectives category aims to provoke exciting discussion about critical issues that shape the business of doing information systems research. Manuscripts are sought that debate and analyze issues that are important to researchers in the information systems field, but which are not research articles per se. These papers may question or critique our institutions, our assumptions, our blinders, our disputes, our paradigms, how we define the boundaries of our subject, how we define research domains, what we privilege in our research and what we do not publish, among other things. Research Perspective papers should conclude by offering constructive guidance that will help the field to progress and develop. We are interested in forays into issues that have a bearing on the community, its organization, and its mission. These issues are those that information systems scholars talk about in the hallways or debate during conference luncheons.”]

When submitting a Research Perspectives manuscript, authors should, in their cover letter, designate the manuscript as such, and nominate Allen S. Lee as the Senior Editor.

3. Review & Theory Development (Senior Editor: Dorothy Leidner)

Theory serves a central role in academic research both in explaining why things happen and in predicting what things might happen given certain circumstances. While borrowing theories from other disciplines is a highly accepted, and often encouraged, part of research design, there is also a need to develop original theory within a discipline to explain phenomenon that are new or difficult to explain with outside theory. Excellent theory is often a result of an excellent review, but an excellent review can also stand alone as a contribution. Reviews serve an important function of synthesizing the work in a research stream and uncovering the areas in need of theorizing and empirical study.

The Review and Theory Development (RTD) category of JAIS will encourage the development of several types of theory/review papers, including (1) pure theory developed from an assessment and interpretation of a broad array of research (2) a theoretical review of a narrow stream of literature (3) a pure review of a large stream of research and (4) a pure review leading to the development of a specific theory. These four types of RTD papers are distinct and bring with them their own series of challenges as well as their own contributions. Authors are encouraged to think reflectively about what type of paper they are writing. Some topics are more suitable for one type of RTD than another. For example, a relatively emergent phenomenon such as cloud computing might be more suitable to the first and fourth types, a well- established area of research such as virtual teams might be more suited to the third, and a specific niche within a well-established field, such as knowledge transfer in virtual teams, might be amenable to the second type. RTD papers are neither written, nor read, quickly. The process of shaping ideas requires time to reflect and interpret for both authors and reviewers. While the effort to produce a high quality RTD paper is great, so too is the contribution to the discipline.

Interested authors are welcome to contact the Senior Editor with their idea prior to drafting their manuscript in order to receive early feedback on the topic’s fit with the RTD mission. While it is not always possible to assess in the nascent stages how well an idea may germinate into an RTD paper, the Senior Editor will seek to help authors avoid overlap with existing submissions under review and provide feedback on ways to position their work. The page length with figures, tables, and references should be no longer than 50 pages.

When submitting a Review & Theory Development manuscript, authors should, in their cover letter, designate the manuscript as such, and nominate Dorothy Leidner as the Senior Editor.

4. Interdisciplinary and Path Breaking Research (Senior Editor: Varun Grover)

As digital technology continues to evolve and deeply penetrate every aspect of contemporary society, IS scholarship should reflect such changes in the technology and the society. By working with scholars in other fields, the IS community must provide the intellectual leadership in understanding emerging phenomenon driven by the rapid and continuing evolution of digital technology. While these new phenomenon can be studied through conventional theoretical frameworks and methodologies, they also offer potential opportunities to build new theoretical language and methodological tools.

The interdisciplinary and path breaking research section of JAIS invites scholars to submit bold new ideas that offer fresh insights on the role of digital technology through rigorous and reflective research on emerging phenomenon driven by digital technology. As digital technology is being enmeshed with various forms of human activities, tools and contexts, IS scholars must strive to work with scholars in other fields to gain deeper understanding on the transformative nature of digital technology. Such understanding can be gained only when we attend to both technology and the subject domain where technology is being used. Furthermore, the incessant developments in digital technology and the emergence of novel phenomenon demand fresh approaches to our scholarship. The focus should not be entirely on the novelty of the technology, but on the formulation of new theoretical language and empirical approaches that are necessitated by the novel phenomenon. Successful Interdisciplinary and Path Breaking Research submissions should challenge scholars in all disciplines including IS to rethink what has been taken for granted in the past, and provide an opportunity to break away from the familiar practice of scholarship. While the ideal submission should be simultaneously interdisciplinary and path breaking, submissions can emphasize either one of these aspects.

When submitting an Interdisciplinary and Path Breaking Research manuscript, authors should, in their cover letter to the EIC, designate the manuscript as such, and nominate Varun Grover as the Senior Editor.

5. Editorial Notes

JAIS editorial notes are essays, commentaries, or reviews written primarily by the JAIS editorial board members. They are typically invited, although we may consider some unsolicited submissions. These editorial notes should be short, pointed commentaries. They may point researchers into areas of research that editors feel have been neglected and that are important for the future of the field. They may provide guidelines for the journal’s potential authors or provide a forum for debate about JAIS publishing and reviewing practices. More specifically, such commentaries should offer thoughts about the journal’s review policies and practices, how issues of theory development and testing should be addressed in JAIS submissions, reports on JAIS editorial practices and performance, and general notes on the disciplinary policies and norms in the information systems field. At least two JAIS editorial board members review each published editorial note.

6. Dialogue

Dialogue articles are short essays that respond to an article published in JAIS. These articles can be unsolicited or solicited. A set of dialogue articles may be invited on occasion, for example, in response to a JAIS special issue.

The current aims of dialogue articles include:

  • Elaborating or extending the original article to show how it can be developed further;
  • Challenging or critiquing the views in the original article; and
  • Presenting alternative perspectives to those advanced in the original article.

Dialogue articles should be short. Authors of these articles may quote from the original article to indicate which points they are addressing. Moreover, dialogue articles should be submitted in a timely manner following the appearance of the original article.

Dialogue articles do not go through the usual JAIS peer review process. First, one or more of JAIS’s senior editors will assess whether the article will attract general interest, makes a contribution, and the article’s suitability. Further consideration depends entirely on the discretion of these assessors. If the article is believed to be sufficiently interesting, reviewer(s) who are knowledgeable in the field will further asses it. Authors should feel free to discuss an idea for a dialogue article with any member of the Senior Editors Board.

In cases where the dialogue article challenges or critiques an article, the author(s) of the original article is offered the opportunity to respond.

An example of a Dialog category paper published in JAIS is:

Goodhue, D. L. (2007). Comment on Benbasat and Barki’s "Quo Vadis TAM" article. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 8(4), 219-222.

Manuscript Length

JAIS does not have formal restrictions on length because as an electronic journal it does not have page limits. However, all manuscripts should be written concisely to avoid unnecessary length. Manuscripts that are more than 15,000 words are very likely to receive extra scrutiny from the editors, although some latitude can be expected for some types of papers, such as those that use qualitative methods or are review articles.

An approximate guide for Research Perspectives is 10,000 words, and for Research Dialog is 2,500-5,000 words.

Prospective authors for JAIS publication should submit their manuscript double-spaced using Arial 11pt. All references should follow the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) style. Reviews are double-blind, so the authors' names should not appear in any obvious way within the document. The JAIS Submission Style Guide is an excellent source for authors; Section 6 within the guide contains examples of APA-style in-text citations and references.

Author Information

Articles are to be submitted to the JAIS online review system: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jais.

The official language of the Journal of AIS is English. Therefore all submissions need to be checked and edited for correct English before submission. Submission to JAIS implies the authors' certification that the manuscript is not copyrighted and is not currently under review in any other journal or conference.

The body of the article is restricted to text, tables, and figures and should represent a stand-alone document. This will ensure the widest accessibility even in less technologically endowed environments. Authors can, if necessary, submit text, tables, figures, and appendices in separate files. Links and multimedia supplements should be included in one or more appendices.

To ensure validity of empirical studies and meta-analyses JAIS asks manuscripts which use SEM techniques to provide a full correlation matrix or covariation matrix as a part of the article’s appendix. Editors and reviewers can ask authors to provide a complete dataset during the review for testing and validation of executed statistical analyses. In such cases, authors are expected to provide the dataset as a condition for publishing the article. See JAIS Data Policies.

To avoid any misunderstanding regarding originality of submission, the authors are expected to provide full information about authorship, pre-submission history, earlier related publications and necessary acknowledgements.

During submission, authors can nominate 1-2 Senior Editors, and also nominate 2-3 reviewers either from the editorial board or from outside it who they think are appropriate and capable for reviewing their manuscript. Nominated Senior Editors and reviewers should not have potential conflict of interest with the authors. If they might have a conflict of interest, the authors should mention/discuss this point in the cover letter. Please note that the journal may or may not assign the paper to the nominated Senior Editor(s), and the Senior Editor managing the manuscript cannot guarantee that any of the nominated reviewers will be selected. The above information should be supplied in a cover letter and authors should include it when submitting a manuscript.

Submitting a Cover Letter

In the cover letter, please . . .

  1. Indicate the manuscript category of submission;
  2. Nominate the Senior Editor(s) appropriate to handle the manuscript (note that Research Perspectives, Review & Theory Development, and Interdisciplinary and Path Breaking Research manuscripts, in general, will be managed by the Senior Editors Allen S. Lee, Dorothy Leidner, and Varun Grover respectively)
  3. Nominate 2-3 Editorial Review Board members (or scholars not on the Editorial Review Board) who would be appropriate as reviewers;
  4. Provide a declaration of any closely related research that has been published or submitted for publication elsewhere;
  5. Provide a declaration of any closely related research that uses the same data or a subset of the data that has been used in this submission;
  6. Provide notification of any prior submissions of this paper to JAIS (even if this version of the paper is very different); also, if applicable, please mention if prior versions of this paper have been presented in workshops or conferences; and,
  7. Provide any other relevant information, including potential conflict of interest with nominated Senior Editor(s) and Reviewers.

If disclosures need to be made against points 4, 5 or 6 above, then the authors should provide an explanation as to why the current paper offers a contribution over and above what has appeared before or been submitted for publication elsewhere. For papers that have been rejected from JAIS on a prior occasion, the authors should explain how they have addressed reviewers’ comments from the previous submission, or why they have not addressed these comments.

For papers that have appeared in a conference proceedings, the authors should explain how they have improved and extended the paper over and above the conference publication.

Note that it is strongly recommended that authors obtain feedback on working versions of a paper before submission. Workshops and conference presentations are an excellent means of obtaining feedback, and information about prior presentations is generally viewed positively.

Reviews in JAIS are double blind. Authors do not know who reviews their paper, and reviewers do not know the names of the authors. The Senior Editor and the Editor-in-Chief know the names of all involved. Therefore, the authors should write their submission and use references in ways which does not reveal their identity.

Finally, please note that at least one of the authors of any manuscript submitted must be an AIS member.

Authors should familiarize themselves with JAIS policies for Code of Research Conduct and Copyright.