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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

UALR professors earn Best Publication Award in Milan; award dedicated to Saudi women

Two professors of information science at UALR received the Best Publication Award yesterday at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) in Milan, Italy.

Rolf Wigand

Dr. Rolf Wigand

The article was chosen from among all information systems journals worldwide by the Senior Scholars Consortium of Association for Information Systems.

Distinguished Professor and Maulden-Entergy Chair Rolf T. Wigand, who also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Business Information Systems, and Associate Professor Nitin Agarwal received the award for their article “Raising and Rising Voices in Social Media: A Novel Methodological Approach in Studying Cyber-Collective Movements.”

The article appeared in “Business & Information Systems Engineering” in 2012.

Dr. Nitin Agarwal

Dr. Nitin Agarwal

The article stemmed from a National Science Foundation Research grant of more than $740,000 that Wigand and Agarwal received to study how blogs and other various social media platforms contribute to social movements.

Dr. Merlyna Lim of the School of Social Transformation-Justice and Social Inquiry Program at Arizona State University collaborated with Wigand and Agarwal on the research.

“Despite extensive media coverage of cyber-collective social movements, there is a lack of systematic methodologies to empirically study such movements in complex online environments,” said Agarwal.

The researchers developed new methodology to better understand cyber-collective social movements from individual, community and transnational perspectives.

Observing female activists in Saudi Arabia who used social media platforms to protest against gender-biased laws and practices in that country, the authors explained in the article how cyber-collective social movements work in cross-cultural settings.

Wigand told the conference attendees that he and Agarwal wanted to dedicate the award “to the many Saudi women who do not have the right to drive.”

Agarwal said such research is of particular interest to information system scientists exploring the influence of social systems on user behaviors. Scientists seek to understand the ties between people, technology and institutions, while also examining organizational structures, roles and crowd processes, he said.

According to the ICIS, Senior Scholars have annually recognized up to five papers since 2006 with a Best Information Systems Publications Award to recognize the breadth of high quality work that is being published in the information systems discipline.

Each year, journal editors issue a call for the best paper published in their journal in the preceding year. A committee composed of Senior Scholars reviews the nominations and selects a group of semi-finalists for further consideration.

ICIS is a major annual meeting with over 4,000 members representing universities in more than 95 countries worldwide. It is among the most prestigious gathering of academics and practitioners in information sciences.