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Global Perceptions of Journals Publishing E-Commerce Research

Researchers rate publications by perception, quality, and how these factors determine where they would prefer their own e-commerce work be published.
  1. Introduction
  2. Journal Perceptions
  3. Conclusion
  4. References
  5. Authors
  6. Footnotes
  7. Tables

E-commerce encompasses all aspects of business and market processes enabled by Internet and Web technologies. E-commerce, like information systems, is interdisciplinary in nature, borrowing concepts and theories from computer science, psychology, economics, organizational theory, and the natural sciences, as well as from applied areas of study such as marketing, management, finance, accounting, engineering, and law.

Research findings in e-commerce can be disseminated to scientists and practitioners in the form of journal articles. But the interdisciplinary nature of e-commerce often makes it difficult to match the research being performed with the journals that currently exist in established disciplines and fields of study. While e-commerce articles are accepted in these traditional outlets, it can be a difficult process if they are perceived to be outside the scope of the journals. In an attempt to address this problem, multidisciplinary journals aimed specifically at e-commerce research have begun appearing over the last several years.

In academia, researchers strive to have their research published in top-quality journals, usually in those in which articles are refereed to the highest standards and have an excellent editorial board. But how do journals get recognized as being top-quality? This is normally done through the gathering of opinions, sometimes through a formal survey where results are published. While there have been many studies investigating the perceptions of journals that publish research in information systems [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], there have been none to date that specifically look at journals that publish research pertaining to e-commerce.

To begin to fill this void, we present the results of a study examining the overall perceptions of academic journals, both new and traditional, that are used as outlets for research pertaining to e-commerce. The insights provided by this study should benefit researchers (and their institutions) who publish in this area. This study should also help those researchers trying to find outlets for their e-commerce research and begins to address the issue of the quality of the e-commerce research published in these various journals.

The study1 was performed almost entirely by email correspondence using a questionnaire in the form of an Excel file attachment. Contact addresses were taken from the ISWorld faculty directory.2 The survey was also available for downloading from our Web site, and notices about the study were posted to the ISWorld discussion list. About 3189 email requests for participation were successfully sent. Of these, a total of 249 usable surveys were returned (10 of these were returned by regular mail). By region, there were 116 responses from North America, 67 from Europe, 53 from Australasia, and 13 from other areas. This response rate is encouraging given only a subset of all IS researchers are performing e-commerce research.

After answering several questions requesting demographic and academic information, respondents were asked to rate 62 journals according to whether they thought the publications were not appropriate, appropriate, significant, or outstanding as a publication outlet for e-commerce research. The publication list was created from a recent global study of IS journal preferences [4] and from a list of e-commerce journals that resulted from a query to the ISWorld listserv.3 Rating categories were consistent with previous studies of IS journal preferences [2, 3, 5]. Participants were allowed to add and rate any journals not on the list, and could skip those journals for which they had no opinion.

Table 1 summarizes respondent demographic information. Most (28%) of the sample was made up of assistant professors or equivalent; and these were followed closely by associate professors (26%) and full professors (23%). Responsibilities for most (56%) respondents included both research and teaching. In terms of geography, 47% work in North America, 27% in Europe, 22% in Australasia, and 4% elsewhere. Approximately 48% listed their institutions as being AACSB accredited. In terms of research areas, 76% listed information systems, followed by information science (5%), computer science (4%), and operations management (3%). Many respondents (12%) listed their research areas as “other,” and some wrote in descriptors including economics, management, marketing, e-commerce, and e-business. About 79% of respondents have conducted e-commerce research. Most respondents (34%) have published a total of 1–5 journal articles, while 16% have published more than 40. Of the total respondents, 40% have not published an e-commerce journal article, while 32% have published 1–3 articles. Some 55% of respondents think there are enough outlets in which to publish e-commerce research, 13% think there are not enough, and 33% are not sure.

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Journal Perceptions

The perceptions of journals publishing e-commerce research were first analyzed using measures of appropriateness and popularity. The first column of Table 2 lists the ranking of the top 25 journals based on the number of respondents who perceived these journals as appropriate outlets for e-commerce research. (For the complete list of the top 50 journals, see A journal was considered an appropriate outlet if a respondent rated it as either appropriate, significant, or outstanding as an e-commerce publication outlet. Popularity rankings give the total number of respondents who rated the journal, including those who rated it as not appropriate. Popularity is a measure of overall journal recognition. The following columns of Table 2 display the rankings based on what region of the world the academic institution of the respondent is located. Finally, the e-commerce rankings are compared with a recently published study for IS journals [4].

The most appropriate outlet for e-commerce research, based on the data collected, is Communications of the ACM, followed closely by MIS Quarterly and then by Information Systems Research. These are well-established journals highly regarded as outlets for IS research. The next two highest ranked journals in terms of appropriateness are “dedicated” e-commerce journals, which, as their names suggest, exist to publish only e-commerce research. These are the International Journal of Electronic Commerce and Electronic Commerce Research. In the top 10, there are two additional dedicated e-commerce journals, Electronic Markets and the Journal of Electronic Commerce Research. Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Management Information Systems, and the European Journal of IS are the more traditional journals that also made the top 10. Other dedicated e-commerce journals ranked highly (top 20) are the Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, the International Journal of Electronic Business, e-commerce Research Forum, and the Quarterly Journal of Electronic Commerce. Overall, the appropriateness rankings show a varied mix of traditional IS journals and newer journals dedicated solely to e-commerce research.

The five journals that received the highest number of ratings (the “most popular”) journals are IS journals, plus Communications of the ACM, and the Harvard Business Review. However, the four dedicated e-commerce journals that were rated most appropriate for e-commerce research still appear in the top 10 most popular journals. There is a downward trend for most of the dedicated e-commerce journals while the well-known IS journals move upward when popularity rankings are compared with the appropriateness rankings. For example, Management Science moved up to 13th in popularity from 29th in appropriateness, and Decision Support Systems moved up to 24th from 34th. This suggests that certain journals, while well known as outlets for other kinds of research, are not necessarily perceived as the most appropriate for e-commerce research. This statement is also supported if we compare our popularity rankings to those of a recently published survey on global IS journal popularity [4]. Some IS journals that were rated highly in [4] dropped dramatically in our survey popularity rankings. For example, Decision Sciences dropped from 8th to 28th, and Decision Support Systems dropped from 9th to 24th.

Appropriateness rankings were then further divided into global regions—Europe, Australasia, and North America. In the European rankings, some of the European journals moved up in the rankings, like the European Journal of IS, which moved from 10th to 6th and Information Systems Journal, which went from 15th to 11th. Other journals dropped, such as the Journal of MIS, which went from 8th to the 21st. In the case of dedicated e-commerce journals, most of the European appropriateness rankings did not seem to change significantly as compared to worldwide appropriateness, except for Journal of Organizational Computing and EC, which dropped from 13th to 20th. Respondents in Australasia do not consider Communications of the ACM as the top outlet for e-commerce research as its ranking dropped to 12th. Communications of the AIS also dropped from 11th to 21st. Similar to European respondents, Australasians also perceive the European Journal of IS and Information Systems Journal as appropriate outlets for e-commerce research publications. As compared to the worldwide appropriateness rankings, the International Journal of Electronic Business and e-commerce Research Forum are both more highly regarded in Australasia, rising to 6th and 9th, respectively. North American-based respondents do not perceive the International Journal of Electronic Commerce or the International Journal of Electronic Business as highly when compared to the worldwide rankings. However, the Journal of MIS (ranked 3d in North America) and Communications of the AIS (ranked 6th) are regarded more as appropriate outlets in North America than worldwide.

The current research supports the notion that the perceptions of journals as being appropriate outlets for e-commerce research differ from those for IS research.

The data was then analyzed based on the perceived quality of periodicals publishing research in e-commerce (Table 3). The average provided is the overall weighted average of the ratings given, where a value of 1 was assigned for not appropriate, 2 for appropriate, 3 for significant, and 4 for outstanding (consistent with [2, 3, 5]). Appropriateness values from Table 2 are also shown on Table 3 for comparison purposes. The metric we used for quality was the number of respondents who rated the publication as either a significant or outstanding publication outlet for e-commerce research. Looking at the journal rankings from this viewpoint of quality provides some interesting observations. The top four outlets for e-commerce research in terms of quality are all dedicated e-commerce journals, with the International Journal of Electronic Commerce coming out solidly on top. Furthermore, out of the top 20 quality outlets, nine are dedicated e-commerce journals. Quite a few e-commerce journals were ranked much higher when looked at from a quality perspective versus just appropriateness. For example, e-Services Journal moved up from 24th in appropriateness to 14th in quality, and the Journal of Internet Research went from 28th to 17th. On the other hand, many of the traditional IS outlets moved downward, such as Information Systems Research, which dropped from 3rd to 10th. The overall average values are fairly consistent with the quality rankings for the journals. In general, journals with higher overall averages are ranked higher in terms of the quality metric.

Respondents were also allowed to write in additional journals not on the questionnaire, and to rank these journals. Some 74 respondents chose to do this. A complete listing of these journals is available on the Web site. While none of these journals made the top 50 in terms of appropriateness, popularity, or quality, many were listed by multiple respondents. Those journals recognized as appropriate for e-commerce research by at least six respondents were Logistics Information Management, Journal of Global Information Management, Journal of Database Management, Journal of Global Information Technology Management, and Journal of Information Technology Cases and Applications. A few marketing journals (including Marketing Science) were also listed several times.

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This study sheds some light on the preferences of journals for e-commerce research. The current research supports the notion that the perceptions of journals as being appropriate outlets for e-commerce research differ from those for IS research. This is evident from the rankings of IS journals and dedicated e-commerce journals as well as the comparison of these rankings with that of a previously conducted global IS journal study [4]. While e-commerce as a research area is still in its infancy, researchers are forming their opinions about new and traditional outlets in which to publish e-commerce research. The analysis also presented some insights into the quality of these outlets. Overall, many of the newer e-commerce journals compare favorably in terms of appropriateness and quality against traditional IS journals.

While this study has answered some basic questions about outlets for e-commerce research, it leaves many unanswered, shown in part by the comments received during the data collection process. One major concern that needs to be addressed is whether or not e-commerce will become (or remain) a distinct field of research, or simply be absorbed into current disciplines such as computer science and/or fields such as information systems. While the results of this survey show preferences by e-commerce researchers for dedicated journals such as International Journal of Electronic Commerce and Electronic Commerce Research, there is definitely a place for e-commerce research in traditional IS journals.

While e-commerce as a research area is still in its infancy, researchers are forming their opinions about new and traditional outlets in which to publish e-commerce research.

Another concern is that while e-commerce is interdisciplinary in nature, this study approached outlets for e-commerce research only from the IS researchers’ perspective. There are certainly many high-quality journals in areas such as marketing, management, and computer science that have and will publish articles pertaining to e-commerce. This study is limited in that it does not poll preferences from other disciplines, nor does it include journals from other fields. There may also be some bias toward the traditional IS journals because of their existing reputations and previous ranking studies. Conference proceedings, where research ideas are often first presented, were also not included in this study. It may be beneficial to conduct a larger study at some point in the future that addresses these issues.

There are other possibilities to expand upon the current study as well. It may be useful to look at e-commerce research and journal preferences in terms of subcategories such as technology, strategy, marketing, economics, Web design, and wireless applications. There may be different opinions about journals based on the specific type of e-commerce research being considered. When similar studies are conducted in other fields and disciplines, a comparative interdisciplinary study will provide insight into the difference of perceptions among researchers.

This is the first study that investigates what IS researchers perceive as the most appropriate and best-quality journals for e-commerce research. The top 10 journals appropriate for e-commerce research include four dedicated to e-commerce, although the top three remain traditional IS journals, namely Communications of the ACM, MIS Quarterly, and Information Systems Research. The top four quality outlets for e-commerce research are International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Electronic Commerce Research, Electronic Markets, and Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, all of which are dedicated e-commerce journals. Overall, this study shows that perceptions of journal appropriateness and quality differ for e-commerce research when compared to more mainstream IS research.

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T1 Table 1. Respondent profile.

T2 Table 2. E-commerce journal perception rankings.

T3 Table 3. E-commerce journal quality rankings.

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    1. Gilleson, M.L., and Stutz, J.D. Academic issues in MIS: Journals and books. MIS Quarterly 15, 4, (1991), 447–452.

    2. Hardgrave, B.C., and Walstrom, K.A. Forums for MIS scholars. Commun. ACM 40, 11 (Nov. 1997), 119–124.

    3. MacMillan, I.C. Delineating a forum for business policy scholars. Strategic Management Journal 12, 2, (1991), 161–165.

    4. Mylonopoulos, N.A., and Theoharakis, V. Global perceptions of IS journals. Commun. ACM 44, 9 (Sept. 2001), 29–33.

    5. Walstrom, K. A., Hardgrave, B.C., Wilson, R.L. Forums for management information systems scholars. Commun. ACM 38, 3 (Mar. 1995), 93–102.

    6. Whitman, M. E., Hendrickson, A. R., and Townsend, A. M. Academic rewards for teaching, research, and service: Data and discourse. Information Systems Research 10, 2 (1999), 99–109.

    1The questionnaire and full results of the study (and complete tables) can be found at

    2The ISWorld faculty directory is available at

    3The list of e-commerce publications compiled by the Information Systems and Qualitative Sciences Department at Texas Tech University is available at

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