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Abstract

Social Computing and online communities have ushered in a new era of the web, where information and communication technologies are facilitating organized human endeavor in fundamentally new ways. The broad impact of social computing in diverse domains and the complexity of features that span diverse disciplines pose new challenges for Information Systems researchers. Information Systems research should expand its scope and adapt theories and methodologies from even more disciplines to address this challenge. This phenomenon has diverse theoretical connections and bridges social and technical aspects. Thus, it offers an ideal opportunity for IS researchers to take the lead in demonstrating the focus of IS in cross-disciplinary research and emphasizing praxis. We outline salient traits of social computing as a precursor to discussing research challenges. Research issues related to organization theory, property rights, motivational and social aspects, and network dynamics are discussed. We emphasize aspects where social computing may offer insights for reference disciplines. We also discuss research issues in the business deployment of social computing, including network effects, trust and reputation, business models, market structure, and customer interaction. We indicate that the field of IS can point the way to using social computing in transforming research and education.

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