Guide to a Successful Submission
Message from the Program Chairs
ICIS is the most competitive IS conference, typically rejecting over 70% of submitted papers. Since preparing a paper for ICIS as the premier international IS conference requires a considerable amount of effort, we want to assure that this effort is goal-directed and the outcomes bring novel insights and contributions to the IS community. Thus, we hope to provide some guidance to authors preparing submissions to ICIS 2021.
Which paper type is the right one for my submission?
Oftentimes, papers have been rejected at ICIS for a lack of fit to the submission types offered at ICIS. Aside from the special paper types (Teaching Case, Panel, PDW, Paper-a-thon, TREO), papers are categorized as Completed Research Papers and Short Papers (in the past often called “Research in Progress”).
Completed Research Papers present fully developed papers on a specific scholarly topic, although they are shorter than journal submissions. In comparison, short papers present novel and promising work that is still in progress and not completed yet. Thus, short papers provide initial evidence that supports the arguments made, but final methodological steps related to the paper may not have been carried out at the point of paper submission. Accordingly, in addition to other typical criteria that research papers are assessed on (e.g., importance of research objectives, relevance and completeness of theory, appropriateness of methodology, etc.), short papers will also be assessed on the potential of their contributions, the feasibility of the proposed methodology, and likelihood of completing the proposed work plan by ICIS 2021 in December 2021. Short papers are thus required to report the expected progress between the date of submission and presentation at ICIS, and authors will be expected to describe the progress made during their ICIS presentations.
Which track should I submit to?
As an author, you decide which conference track best matches your paper and the most central contribution it makes. Hence, please choose your track wisely so that the paper reaches the right audience, and gets the right set of track chairs, associate editors and reviewers with the right expertise. You may also review past ICIS proceedings in the AIS electronic library to get an overview of the papers in various tracks. While ICIS 2021 has a number of new tracks, several tracks have traditionally appeared in past ICIS conferences. Nevertheless, a perfect fit to the track is not necessary. If your paper has a multi- or cross-topic focus, then please decide which track represents the best fit based on the main contribution of the work. At submission, you will be expected to very briefly state your rationale for choosing the specific track.
Understanding the review process
Like other high-caliber scientific conferences, ICIS relies on a peer review process where submissions are typically reviewed by 2-3 reviewers, as experts in the relevant field. A successful conference is highly dependent on having a quality review process. As authors submitting to ICIS 2021, you will be expected to also participate in the ICIS 2021 review process as you might also be asked to support the IS community as a reviewer for ICIS. Hence, please familiarize yourself with the ICIS 2021 review process.
You might also wish to familiarize yourself with the review criteria for different submission types available here. Keeping these criteria in mind when preparing your paper submission will help you prepare a stronger paper for submission. It will also help you in reviewing other papers for ICIS 2021.
Making a contribution to IS research
To get your submission accepted at ICIS, your submission should make a significant contribution (or has the potential to make such a contribution in the case of short papers). The contribution, therefore, should be original and extend existing IS research in significant ways while maintaining high standards of rigor. Given the breadth of IS research, the nature of contributions differ across methods (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, analytical, conceptual) and traditions (e.g., behavioral, design, data science, etc.).
Instead of giving authors of ICIS 2021 an extensive list of criteria that need to be fulfilled to make a contribution, we refer to recent editor comments that are also applicable to papers submitted to ICIS 2021. This list is not exhaustive, but offers less experienced authors very good insights into how they can craft a contribution:
- Gupta, A. (2018) Editorial—Traits of Successful Research Contributions for Publication in ISR: Some Thoughts for Authors and Reviewers. Information Systems Research, 29 (4), 779–786. doi: 10.1287/isre.2018.0825.
- Rai, A. (2017) Editor’s Comments: Avoiding Type III Errors: Formulating IS Research Problems that Matter. Management Information Systems Quarterly, 41 (2), iii–vii.
- Rai, A. (2017) Editor’s Comments: Seeing the Forest for the Trees. Management Information Systems Quarterly, 41 (4), iii–ix.