Academic journal article Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Leveraging Multimedia to Advance Science by Disseminating a Greater Variety of Scholarly Contributions in More Accessible Formats

Academic journal article Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Leveraging Multimedia to Advance Science by Disseminating a Greater Variety of Scholarly Contributions in More Accessible Formats

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

Scholarly contributions that have the potential to advance knowledge and practice come in many forms. However, the primary dissemination medium for scholarly contributions is the print-style paper. Although the print-style paper proliferates certain types of scholarly contributions well, it does not do so for many others. While rigorous empirical and/or theoretical research may best suit print, other contributions such as tutorials, panel discussions, demonstrations, simulations, teaching materials, advanced visualizations, and many others may better suit alternative formats. Therefore, many of these other forms of contributions inevitably fall by the wayside in the effort to produce recognizable (and rewardable) scholarly contributions through journal papers. These lost opportunities hamper potential growth for our field and science in general.

Beyond this primary problem, we also observe that, in academia, the educational and publishing landscape is swiftly changing due to often-disruptive innovations. Several efforts, such as Udacity, Coursera, and EdX, have brought free online education to the world. Similarly, free open access journals offer academic research to the public1. Such revolutionary changes have occurred concurrently with sharp rises in tuition, textbook prices, journal access fees, and ever-lengthening review and publishing cycles resulting from increases in scholarly output and simultaneous decreases in the number of "top" journals (Lowry et al., 2013). The traditionally slow and highly limited publication cycles found in the information systems (IS) field place IS academics at a disadvantage compared to those in other fields (Templeton & Lewis, 2015; Valacich, Fuller, Schneider, & Dennis, 2006).

History provides countless examples of what happens to organizations, societies, and domains if they do not innovate during periods of radical change or embrace disruptive innovations (Christensen, 1997). Consider recent and ongoing developments in the journalism business that have caused some slow-toadapt iconic brands to wither (Time and Newsweek magazines; the Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune newspapers). Even the brands that have survived (The New York Times) and prospered (Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal) have done so only by adapting to the digital revolution by revising both their product offerings (more timely and accessible content enabled by radically reduced publishing cycle times and the innovative use of video technology) and their revenue models (various pay-for-access pricing schemes). Add to these trends the threat of open access journals and alternative publishing, the current journal revenue models will likely face challenges in the future. To address the potential threats-and opportunities-that digital technologies present to scholarly IS publishing, we propose that we need to learn from the success of the surviving journalism publishers by proposing a strategy that emphasizes complementing both the current product offerings and the revenue model.

In this paper, we propose using multimedia as a complementary format for disseminating the natural variety of scholarly contributions found in academia. First and consistent with the strategy of revising product offerings, we argue that the evidence-based use of multimedia materials will help expand the "market share" and the accessibility of existing products (i.e., scholarly contributions that are currently disseminated via print journals) and bring to market a new array of multimedia products for disseminating artifacts, insights, discoveries, and conversations that are crucial to the process and progress of scientific inquiry but that one omits (and, thereby, largely loses) when shaping print-based scientific contributions. Second, we argue that revising the product offerings can (and must) be sustained with a revenue model that features new and repeating revenue streams that the introduction of market-based incentives to the existing manuscript review process will support. …

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