International Conference on Information Systems panel

We have a panel at the International Conference on Information Systems  titled, “Energy Informatics: Designing a Discipline (And possible lessons for the IS community)”, and we  invite you to comment on the questions the panel will address.

Focus of the panel
The panel will address the following question: If we were to design a new scientific field with a clean slate perspective, what might be the outcome?

Questions for discussion
The panel will address key questions that it thinks should be considered by those designing a new discipline. Specifically, they will address the following critical questions with regard to Energy Informatics.

How do you enhance research community effectiveness?
Starting with the assumption that a science must ultimately serve humanity, we need to decide what social value a science should create, as this is how you can assess its effectiveness. Comments may include answers to two subquestions: (a) What societal value should Energy Informatics create and what are possible measurable societal outcomes? (b) What are potential mechanisms to increase Energy Informatics community effectiveness and how can we design information systems to support them?

How do you enhance research community efficiency?
Research is a cumulative process, and scholars need efficient mechanisms for discovering what is known or has been created to build upon prior knowledge when tackling new problems. Much of what we know is buried within the text of journal articles rather than codified for machine searching. What are potential mechanisms to increase Energy Informatics community efficiency and how can we design information systems to support them?

What are the central activities and key resources?
A science has a set of key skills and resources that participants deploy to answer the central problem that the science addresses. For instance, at this stage, we have a few established courses and research programs in Energy Informatics. What is the content of an Energy Informatics course for undergraduate or masters students? What skills do Energy Informatics researchers need?

How do you assess an effective contribution?
Academics gains recognition in several ways, including publication in reputable peer-reviewed journals, acceptance of papers at prestige conferences, grants, and citation counts. These often become counting rather than evaluation mechanisms. How do we create an effective and reliable system for evaluating scientific work that also ensures that participants in the creation and evaluation process are appropriately rewarded?

These questions follow directly from the panel’s contention that a new field should make every endeavor to avoid accepting legacy systems as an appropriate infrastructure for conducting research in today’s world.

We seek your comments.

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