Information Systems Solutions for Environmental Sustainability: How Can We Do More?



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Publication Details

R. Gholami, R. T. Watson, H. Hasan, A. Molla & N. Bjorn-Andersen, "Information Systems Solutions for Environmental Sustainability: How Can We Do More?", Journal of the Association for Information Systems 17 8 (2016) 521-536.


We contend that too few information systems (IS) academics engage in impactful research that offers solutions to global warming despite the fact that climate change is one of the most critical challenges facing this generation. Climate change is a major threat to global sustainability in the 21st century. Unfortunately, from submissions of our call for papers presenting IS solutions for environmental sustainability, we found only one paper worthy of publication. Given that IS have been the major force for productivity increases in the last half-century, we suggest that IS scholars should immerse themselves in creating solutions for environmental problems. Moreover, information is a perquisite for assessing the state of the environment and making appropriate decisions to ameliorate identified problems. Indeed, the IS scholarly community needs to help create a sustainable society. While there is an emerging body of IS scholarship under the banner of green IS, we strongly believe that we need to step up these efforts. Our experience indicates that the emergence of green IS as an academic discipline is still by far too slow relative to the needs of society. Too few people are working on green IS given its importance, and fewer still are publishing papers about IS solutions that could contribute to dealing with climate change. In this editorial, we speculate on some reasons for why and explore how the IS discipline can grasp the opportunity to contribute to one of the most important societal challenges of our time. We identify the major barriers that we assert curtail the involvement of IS scholars in green IS research; namely, incentives misalignment, the low status of practice science, data analysis poverty, identification of research scope, and research methods. We discuss each barrier and propose solutions for them.

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Journal of the Association for Information Systems

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