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JASIST Special Issue on “The Social Informatics of Knowledge”

In this special issue of the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, we are calling for papers that advance the concepts, methods and theories that support the social informatics perspective.  Social informatics as the study of the connections among people and the technologies they use is a lens to understand a wide variety of topics linked by a recognition of the “integration of information and communication technologies into organizations…[which has] now spread from organizations…[into] people’s social lives” (Fichman & Rosenbaum, 2014, p. x). We are particularly keen to see papers that look at questions about how knowledge – broadly conceived – can be better understood when we look at the social contexts in which knowledge is created, generated, organized, shared, and used.

Kling (2000) pointed out that in socio-technical models of ICT in society, “…knowledge and expertise are inherently tacit/implicit…” (p. 220) as opposed to explicit: all too often, the processes of knowledge generation and discovery are hidden behind (or within a black box of) technology. There is obviously considerable research on knowledge in a variety of outlets (see Hislop, 2013 for a comprehensive review). This said, many of these focus on specific practices of knowledge management and are often constrained to the realms of formal organizations (Grant, 2011) instead of the broader socio-technical questions of how knowledge practices are embedded within and enabled by technical systems. Ackerman, Dachtera, Pipek, and Wulf (2013) in their survey of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) highlight the development of our understanding of knowledge and information in organizations.  By way of comparison, Hara and Fichman (2014) argue that we can use social informatics and the concept of boundaries to better understand knowledge sharing in the social media space, while Auernhammer and Hall (2014) focus on how leadership and social conditions within organizations are reflected in knowledge creation processes.

For this special issue, we seek submissions that extend our understanding of how we can better explain knowledge practices by looking at the connections between people and technologies, which we have elsewhere called ‘examining the hyphen’ in the socio-technical sphere (Meyer, 2014) that represents the connections of the social to the technical. Interested authors are also encouraged to look at Kling’s foundational paper on the nature of the entanglement between the social and the technical in which he wrote that social informatics is “the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts” (Kling, 2007, p. 205).

Examples can be drawn from any domain or across multiple domains, but we will be particularly interested in papers which foreground this relationship between people and technology in their analysis.

Topics of Interest

The topics of this special issue include, but are not limited to, social informatics empirical research and/or theory development in the areas of:

  • Knowledge:
    • Creation
    • Dissemination
    • Screening / filtering
    • Validation / authentication
    • Consumption
    • Impact
  • Knowledge generation and sharing platforms
    • Online knowledge spaces
    • Changing knowledge standards in news and politics
  • Novel approaches to knowledge generation, including:
    • Big data approaches
    • Machine learning
    • Computational models
    • Topic discovery
    • Scientific workflows
  • Knowledge discovery techniques, including:
    • Corpora-based information extraction
    • Data mining
    • Data visualization and other exploratory efforts
    • Trace data collection
    • Multiple methods
  • Collaborative scientific practices, including:
    • The roles of teams in knowledge generation
    • Team-based memory and knowledge sharing
    • Distributed scientific collaboration
    • Knowledge and innovation

Submission Guidelines

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the JASIST Submission Guidelines ( The complete manuscript should be submitted through JASIST’s Submission System ( To insure that you submit to the correct special issue, please select “Special Issue on The Social Informatics of Knowledge” as your manuscript type.

Paper Development Workshop sponsored by SIG-SI at ASIS&T 2017

On the morning of October 28, 2017, the guest editors of this special issue will host an optional paper development workshop at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology in Washington D.C. (Crystal City, Virginia), USA. At this workshop, which will be held in conjunction with the SIG-SI (the Social Informatics Special Interest Group) pre-conference research symposium, participants will be given the opportunity to present their papers-in-development for feedback and discussion, and will also have the opportunity to discuss how social informatics can be embedded in their work.

Authors who are unable to attend the workshop will not be disadvantaged – all papers will go through a full peer review process to decide which papers to include in the special issue. The workshop is designed to help those who want some guidance that might not be as readily available locally to have access to the expertise they need to develop their papers. For more information on submitting your work to the workshop, see LINK. Extended abstracts of up to 750 words are due 15 August 2017, and should be submitted to kalpana.shankar@ucd.iu and with ‘SIG-SI Workshop’ in the subject line.

Submission Deadlines

Paper submission due: January 15, 2018
First round review notification: April 2, 2018
Revision due: June 1, 2018
Final notification: August 15, 2018

Guest Editors

Eric T. Meyer, University of Oxford, UK ( (ASIS&T SIG-SI Co-Chair)

Kalpana Shankar, University College Dublin, Ireland ( (ASIS&T SIG-SI Co-Chair)

Matthew Willis, University of Oxford, UK (

Sarika Sharma, Syracuse University, USA (

Steve Sawyer, Syracuse University, USA (

References cited

Ackerman, Mark S., Dachtera, Juri, Pipek, Volkmar, and Wulf, Volker. (2013). Sharing Knowledge and Expertise: The CSCW View of Knowledge Management. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 22(4), 531-573.

Auernhammer, Jan and Hall, Hazel. (2014). Organizational culture in knowledge creation, creativity and innovation: Towards the Freiraum model. Journal of Information Science, 40(2), 154-166.

Fichman, Pnina and Rosenbaum, Howard. (2014). Social Informatics: Past, Present and Future. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Grant, Kenneth A. (2011). Knowledge Management: An Enduring but Confusing Fashion. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 9(2), 117-131.

Hara, Noriko and Fichman, Pnina. (2014). Frameworks for Understanding Knowledge Sharing in Online Communities: Boundaries and Boundary Crossing. In Pnina Fichman and Howard Rosenbaum (Eds.), Social Informatics: Past, Present and Future (pp. 89-100). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Hislop, Donald. (2013). Knowledge management in organizations: A critical introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kling, Rob. (2000). Learning About Information Technologies and Social Change: The Contribution of Social Informatics. The Information Society, 16(3), 217-232.

Kling, Rob. (2007). What Is Social Informatics and Why Does It Matter? The Information Society, 23(4), 205 – 220.

Meyer, Eric T. (2014). Examining the Hyphen: The Value of Social Informatics for Research and Teaching. In Pnina Fichman and Howard Rosenbaum (Eds.), Social Informatics: Past, Present and Future (pp. 57-74). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholarly Publishers.