Paper Number



“Grand challenges” can provide an important orientation regarding whether research deals with societally relevant problems. Yet, many IS scholars have claimed that IS research is often dealing with issues that are of rather little relevance to societal grand challenges. In this “research-in-progress” study, we examine to which degree IS research is concerned with societal grand challenges. We approach this question by thus far analyzing 329 papers published in the leading AIS ‘Basket of Eight’ (AIS 8) IS journals in the year 2020. Using coding analysis rooted in justification theory to clarify why IS research was performed, we map the justifications given in those papers against the grand challenges as set out in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. The findings indicate that IS research seems to be contributing to some societal challenges (e.g., industrial innovation, economic growth or health), while neglecting many others (e.g., societal equality, environmental sustainability and challenges in developing countries).



When commenting on articles, please be friendly, welcoming, respectful and abide by the AIS eLibrary Discussion Thread Code of Conduct posted here.