Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: There is a long tradition of writing about future work in research papers, and information systems design science research (IS DSR) is no exception. However, there is a lack of studies on (1) how IS DSR authors currently envision the next steps for their work and (2) guidelines to improve the communication of opportunities to accumulate knowledge.

Method: This paper contributes to this topic, building on a systematic literature review of 123 IS DSR papers published between 2018 and 2022.

Results: Design-oriented research requires the research team to decide which tasks to carry out immediately in building the future and which to postpone as research debt. The paper's contribution is threefold. First, we propose a research debt lifecycle to support (1) project stakeholders, (2) IS DSR community, and (3) societies looking for better futures. Second, we discuss the anatomy of future work in recent IS DSR. Finally, we suggest guidelines to manage and report the next research steps.

Conclusion: This paper presents a pioneering assessment of future work suggestions in the IS field, focusing on the design science research paradigm. Future work directions emerge from researchers' choices during the IS DSR process that must be continuously managed.