Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


Welcome to the second issue of volume 28 of the Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems. As the issue is published close to the end of the year, we take the opportunity to wish our authors, reviewers and readers a Happy New Year and thank you for your support for the journal.

This issue of the journal features two research papers and a debate section with one paper and four commentaries, focusing on the inability of the IS discipline to address the challenges of digitalization of our society. Both research papers address healthcare information systems and more specifically electronic records, but from different angles. Nevertheless, they, among many other articles published in the Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems during the past few years, underscore the prominence of this topic in Scandinavian IS research.

Lotte Groth Jensen and Claus Bossen study how physicians create overview of patient cases. They conceptualize this creation as ‘distributed plot-making’, which highlights the distributed nature of information processing between various actors and artefacts as well as the filtering, sorting and ordering of information into a narrative made coherent by a plot. Through their empirical study, they report on various ways of how the characteristics of paper-based and electronic patient records supported or hindered the creation of the overview.

Ian McLoughlin, Karin Garrety, Rob Wilson, Andrew Dalley and Ping Yu examine the role of boundary objects in health information infrastructure projects. They rely on a sociomaterial lens and study the possibility for boundary objects to do infrastructural work, which is seen necessary for enabling infrastructures to evolve; specifically for enabling the materialisation of ‘generative mechanisms’. They reveal mixed results as regards their effectiveness of the boundary objects to do infrastructural work.

In addition to the two research papers, a debate section is included in this issue. Inspired by the keynote by Carsten Sørensen in the Scandinavian Conference on Information Systems (SCIS) 2016, the debate section addresses the current limitations of IS research in addressing the fast-paced and continuous changes brought on by the digitalisation of society and exponential increase in computational capabilities. Carsten Sørensen, in his paper “The Curse of the Smart Machine? Digitalisation and the Children of the Mainframe” argues for smarter, more agile and more societally responsible IS research. He labels us, IS researchers, as the children of the mainframe—the mainframe and organization-centric perspective has acted as our organizing vision or paradigm thorough the years—while now he calls for academic agility to be able to address the current changes and challenges in society and technology, and places some responsibility also for IS journals and journal editors in making a change.

We also received four commentaries. Margunn Aanestad, relying also on her SCIS2016 keynote, agrees with Carsten in many respects and considers remedies for academic stiffness. She calls for more engagement with neighboring disciplines as well as for more studies on the larger societal, political and historical implications of technologies and on the consumption of and living with technology. She encourages us to carry out critical studies and studies utilizing and revitalizing the Scandinavian tradition in IS research. Jan Pries-Heje, then again, disagrees with Carsten and argues that it is not the mainframe perspective that characterizes our research anymore, whereas the distinction between old science versus new science could help explain some of the challenges brought in by Carsten. He also argues for smarter and more agile publication mechanisms. Sara Eriksén, in turn, sees the mainframe as a metaphor for a management information systems (MIS) approach and challenges research to go beyond informing the ‘smart manager’. Finally, Gro Bjerknes, experimenting with a more visual delivery of her message, points out that although our discipline is still organization-centric, the basis of the discipline does not necessitate it, but it is the reward system that is to be blamed. The future will show whether critical research, Scandinavian tradition in IS research or new science type of research will succeed in resolving the challenges identified here as well as whether we have succeeded in gaining more agile and smarter publication and rewarding systems.

We hope that you find this issue interesting. We look forward to receiving your best papers with a view to publishing them in the Scandinavian IS community’s own journal—the Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems.

Netta Iivari, Bendik Bygstad, Magnus Bergquist and Helle Zinner Henriksen



Doing Infrastructural Work: The Role of Boundary Objects in Health Information Infrastructure Projects
Ian P. McLoughlin Professor, Karin Garrety, Rob Wilson, Andrew Dalley, and Ping Yu

Responses or Comments


Smart(er) Research
Jan Pries-Heje