Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The question of relevance of the IS discipline is critically important. The issues at hand are: Has the IS discipline fundamentally changed the way we perceive the world? Have the contributions to scholarly research in IS in any way shaped the way we evolved and continue to evolve as individuals and organizations? Who leads whom between academic research and industrial innovations? Are there symbiotic synergies between the two or are they traveling on separate tracks oblivious of the existence of on another? The IS field is unique compared to other disciplines when viewed in the light of these questions. First, the time gap between research and practice is very narrow (unlike other, comparable disciplines such as computer science and management science where research is mostly way ahead of practice) and the two alternate in leading one another. The relevance question arises only when this gap widens either laterally or linearly, and is unique to IS. Second, because the IS field grew out of the efforts of individuals from several other disciplines, its foundations rest on its interdisciplinary thrusts. Third, given the revolutionary impact of IT in contemporary times, these thrusts have to be tempered with the realism borne out of practice. In this regard, IS is faced with tremendous opportunities, leverages, and challenges. Our thesis is that IS research is not a myth, includes several seminal contributions that basically altered our views of the world, and has a rich and promising road ahead.