The candidates for the Slutzker Center for International Services director position will be on campus for presentations open to the campus community. Each candidate has been asked to prepare a presentation addressing the biggest challenges, opportunities and priorities for a…
Zhang establishes new academic journal, serves as founding editor in chief
Zhang establishes new academic journal, serves as founding editor in chiefSeptember 04, 2008Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
In 1995, Ping Zhang, a Ph.D. candidate at the time, began interviewing for her first professorship and faced one of the key critical comments that has since spurred her research and much of her academic career. “Nice presentation. But where does it fit in? This isn’t mainstream information systems (IS) research.”
At the time, her work bridged multiple disciplines-psychology, computer science and management-areas that typically didn’t work together much. For an up-and-coming young scholar, it was a risky area to study, as there were few academic journals that would consider publishing this interdisciplinary research.
Yet to Zhang, it did not make sense that her research interest in human-computer interaction (HCI) was not considered part of the mainstream IS field, which is concerned with developing and utilizing information technologies to benefit people, organizations and societies. She told herself that someday she would help make HCI research integral to mainstream IS work.
The Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool at Syracuse) and then-Dean Raymond F. von Dran agreed with Zhang and saw the potential in this eager young mind. Zhang was hired at the iSchool in 1995 and was granted tenure in 2001. That same year, she set out to establish a Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction (SIG-HCI) within the premier professional organization of information systems researchers, the Association for Information Systems (AIS). Her proposal was one of the first six approved by AIS. Since then, SIG-HCI has become the largest and most active group within AIS.
In 2008, Zhang and several SIG-HCI advisors responded to the increasing interest in HCI research and established a new journal. The quarterly online journal, AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, was approved in June 2008 by the AIS council as the first transactions journal of AIS. The new HCI journal complements its general research flagship publication, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, of which Zhang serves as senior editor.
The new international journal is open to research from all disciplines that communicate knowledge concerning the interplay among humans, information, technologies and tasks. The new journal is scheduled to begin publishing in July 2009 and will begin accepting submissions soon.
Zhang serves as the founding editor in chief with her colleague Dennis Galletta from the University of Pittsburgh. The iSchool’s associate dean for research, Jeff Stanton, is on the journal’s editorial board, and Ph.D. student Janet Marsden is the managing editor.
“It is such a great honor to be part of this journal’s creation,” Zhang says. “Being the editor in chief, I am able to work closely with Dennis and other advisors and senior editors to set the goals and visions for the journal. In addition, all submissions will pass through Dennis and me. We will have a direct impact on the field.”
Zhang expects the journal to do well, as it meets a need for an increasingly popular area of research. “We’re seeing a growing realization among scholars that people really matter,” Zhang says. “This school understood that from the very beginning. It can be a brilliant technology, but if people don’t use it, it is a waste. The same is true in business. You can have a brilliant business plan and model, but if it doesn’t attract and serve human customers, it goes nowhere. HCI issues and phenomena can be found in many social contexts. The Transactions journal is an outlet for scholars and practitioners to disseminate their discoveries and opinions. It is also a statement that HCI research is an important part of the IS field.”