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Abstract

This paper argues that Web 2.0 tools, specifically wikis, have begun to influence business and knowledge sharing practices in many organizations. Information Systems researchers have spent considerable time exploring the impact and implications of these tools in organizations, but those same researchers have not spent sufficient time considering whether and how these new technologies may provide opportunities for us to reform our core practices of research, review, and teaching. To this end, this paper calls for the IS discipline to engage in two actions related to wikis and other Web 2.0 tools. First, the IS discipline ought to engage in critical reflection about how wikis and other Web 2.0 tools could allow us to conduct our core processes differently. Our existing practices were formulated during an era of paper-based exchange; wikis and other Web 2.0 tools may enable processes that could be substantively better. Nevertheless, users can appropriate information technology tools in unexpected ways, and even when tools are appropriated as expected there can be unintended negative consequences. Any potential changes to our core processes should, therefore, be considered critically and carefully, leading to our second recommended action. We advocate and describe a series of controlled experiments that will help assess the impact of these technologies on our core processes and the associated changes that would be necessary to use them. We argue that these experiments can provide needed information regarding Web 2.0 tools and related practice changes that could help the discipline better assess whether or not new practices would be superior to existing ones and under which circumstances.

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