Communications of the Association for Information Systems


This paper responds to the question of whether it is ethical for a journal editor to request an author to cite papers from a journal to which one is submitting an article. To craft a response to this question, two sets of relationships are explored. The first set is an author-reader relationship, and the second set is an author-institution or community relationship. In these dual relationships, the author is considered to be an IS researcher who publishes and disseminates knowledge through the channel of research journals. The reason for articulating these twofold relationships is to go beyond the common belief that the author is the sole and autonomous source of knowledge creation and distribution. We posit that: (1) an author cannot exist isolated from the reader, and (2) an author exists only as a part of an institutional system which opens and at the same time constrains an author’s knowledge production. In other words, an author is destined to create knowledge within the constrained system. For that very reason, it is important to understand the author as a function of conditional discourse of a specific institution. We conclude that editors’ requests for an author to cite papers from a journal to which one is submitting an article is ethically critical to: (1) build a good author-reader relationship, and (2) produce rich and plural knowledge which is “good” for advancing learning in the global community.