Communications of the Association for Information Systems


We agree with Cuellar et al.’s (2019) main premise that, for a research field to advance, scholars must be able to openly exchange ideas. For such an open exchange to exist, the contexts and methods that evaluate scholarly output must encourage this interchange. Cuellar at al. argue that the current process for evaluating scholarly output (which they call “counting articles in ranked venues” (CARV)) creates pressures that result in a distorted discourse that inhibits the field’s growth. In this article, we extend the conversation by adding clarifications, further insights, raising questions, and providing different solutions. Specifically, for the sake of logical clarity of the ensuing debate, we separate individual research contribution (IRC) and field research discourse (FRD). We explain and clarify the pairwise relationships between CARV and IRC and between CARV and FRD in order to discuss the role of CARV or lack thereof in assessing research contribution and discourse. We posit that CARV may assess IRC but not FRD and offer insights into how to improve IRC and FRD. We provide anecdotal evidence that a CARV-free world could exist but that it would entail high agency cost. We also offer an alternative solution that could supplement or substitute CARV. We conclude that any attempt to measure IRC without adequately incorporating attributes of FRD habitat is destined to be flawed.