The transdisciplinary character of InformSciJ requires that we be willing to publish a broad array of contributions. In many of our client fields, most published research contributions can be characterized as either theory-building or theory-testing. While submissions of this type are, of course, encouraged, we will also consider a broader range of contributions, including:
• Synthesis: An existing body of theory and observations are organized into a more cohesive whole. A literature review may fall into this category, but only if it attempts to propose a novel systematic organization for the existing literature.
• Illustration: The meaning or implications of a particular theory are explained and clarified through an illustrative example. In the business literature, for example, nearly all practitioner-directed publications use this technique extensively.
• Unexplained Observation: A rich observation, often having properties not well explained with existing theory, that is offered without serious attempt to incorporate it into theory. It is interesting to note that while research of the form “I observed this but I can’t explain it” would be nearly impossible to publish in any social science journal known to me, such anomalous observations often form the basis for scientific revolution (Kuhn, 1970)— such as the Michelson Morley experiment, which paved the way for Einstein’s special relativity.
We must never forget that our transdisciplinary mission demands that we view facilitating informing across the client disciplines as an important form of research. Providing a reader in one discipline with a novel perspective—even if that perspective is not necessarily novel in the discipline of the author—is a necessary part of transdisciplinary knowledge creation. We will also consider publishing promising research findings that are in their later formative stages—during which the ideas being presented are still somewhat malleable—rather than demanding that all ideas be fully tested. A manuscript that proposes a well developed and conceptualized theory, for example, need not include a rigorous empirical test of the same theory.
Accepting submissions that have room for further development is completely consistent with the journal’s mission of mentoring. Selfishly, it also increases the likelihood that we will have the opportunity to publish novel and important ideas before anyone else. Indeed, from the Informing Science discipline’s perspective, the ideal scenario would involve InformSciJ’s publishing of a formative work that is subsequently refined, finalized, and then published in an elite client discipline journal. This scenario particularly serves the “encouraging interest in informing” component of our mission and is a critical part of diffusing our knowledge to client discipline communities.
Although we offer unusual flexibility in terms of the types of research we will consider, there are three immutable criteria for publication in InformSciJ:
- The research topic must be explicitly related to informing. InformSciJ must never become a catch-all for unsuccessful efforts to publish in better known client discipline journals. If the editors and I do not see a clearly articulated link between informing and the topic being covered, it will be sent back with the request that such a linkage be established. To better understand what we mean by informing, potential authors can look at Cohen (2009). Additional insights can be found in Cohen (1999), Gill and Bhattacherjee (2007) and Gill and Cohen (2009).
- Only submissions that are properly referenced and well supported from an empirical, mathematical or conceptual/logical standpoint will be considered. Although we gladly consider novel ideas and research approaches, these can only be taken seriously if the author has presented a strong case—which may be built upon any combination of empirical, mathematical, or conceptual/logical grounds. High quality formative research may not be complete but it is not sloppy!
- All published articles must be written in grammatically correct, understandable prose. Nothing would undermine the credibility of InformSciJ than publishing articles that appear to have been slapped together. Because this particular requirement places an unfair burden on the many researchers whose native tongue is not English, we will do our best to aid such authors in bringing their manuscripts up to an acceptable level.