Research standards for promotion and tenure in information systems

Alan R. Dennis, Joseph S. Valacich, Mark A. Fuller, Christoph Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


What constitutes excellence in information systems research for promotion and tenure? This is a question that is regularly addressed by members of promotion and tenure committees and those called upon to write external letters. While there are many elements to this question, one major element is the quality and quantity of an individual's research publications. An informal survey of senior Information Systems faculty members at 49 leading U.S. and Canadian universities found 86 percent to expect three or more articles in elite journals. In contrast, an analysis of publication performance of Ph.D. graduates between the years of 1992 and 2004 found that approximately three individuals in each graduating year of Ph.D.s (about 2 percent) published 3 or more articles in a set of 20 elite journals within 6 years of graduation. Only 15 individuals from each graduating year (11 percent) published one or more articles. As a discipline, we publish elite journal articles at a lower rate than Accounting, yet our promotion and tenure standards are higher, similar to those of Management, Marketing, and Finance. Thus, there is a growing divergence between research performance and research standards within the Information Systems discipline. As such, unless we make major changes, these differences will perpetuate a vicious cycle of increasing faculty turnover, declining influence on university affairs, and lower research productivity. We believe that we must act now to create a new future, and offer recommendations that focus on the use of more appropriate standards for promotion and tenure and ways to increase the number of articles published.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Promotion
  • Publishing standards
  • Tenure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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