Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Information Systems research often uses article citation counts to judge the impact of articles, journals, and authors, and even to assess the maturity of the discipline. Yet little is known about the drivers of article impact. Motivated by the continued debate on the importance of theory development, methodological rigor, and tradeoffs between rigor and relevance, the authors of this paper examine the structure of theory-based empirical IS articles as a potential determinant of their scientific impact. Using the straightforward measure of page counts, the authors assess the structure of these articles at the macro level and develop hypotheses on article impact. Results indicated that, as hypothesized, the structure of IS articles does determine their impact. Conceptualization and theory development in articles tends to payoff in citation counts, while emphasis on methodology and implications does not. They discuss recommendations for review systems and for authors, as well as for the field as a whole. Supplemental analyses show that highly-influential IS research tends to be theory-based empirical and that, consistent with the evolution of the field, concept to method ratio has been going up in IS articles over time; a synchronization that has paid off in terms of impact.