Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Information Systems (IS) research is undertaken to advance the body of knowledge on IS-related phenomena at the individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis. The goals of conducting IS research range from individual learning—e.g., the intellectual development of individual scholars over community learning; e.g., the enhancement of research in the broader IS academic community to the improvement of practice in organizations. Whereas IS research has been criticized for having limited practical relevance, many scholars have assumed that IS research is succeeding in having a major impact on the IS academic community itself. This article challenges the assumption. Using citations as a proxy for contributions to subsequent research—or research importance—this study presents average citation figures for 1,992 papers published in six peer-reviewed IS journals between 1996 and 2010. It finds that citation figures are strongly skewed, with a vast majority of works published in top IS outlets being cited rather rarely. The article offers a discussion of the factors that may account for this finding and closes with a brief summary and outlook.