iSChannel Journal 2020 – 15th year anniversary.

I am proud that our MSc MISDI students have worked to publish our student-led academic journal the iSChannel this 15th anniversary year despite the COVID challenges. Below is the journal’s editorial. Take a look!

EDITORIAL – From the Associate Editor

In its 15th year of publication, the iSChannel again focuses on social aspects of information systems. The contributions therefore take neither technologically deterministic perspectives nor purely socially constructive viewpoints, but instead provide socio-technical analyses. This year we have
again received a large number of submissions and are delighted to publish seven excellent papers.

Two articles focus on data privacy. In her highly topical article, Amy Vatcha examines contemporary forms of digital employee surveillance which in Corona times and massively increased remote work have gained high importance. Andrei Volkov discusses decentralised identifier systems as a new technical possibility for individual data control. However, they have to be modified to overcome the two key challenges of scalability and interoperability.

Three further articles concentrate on big data. In her critical literature review, Lisa Schaefer analyses big data in smart cities from a bounded technical-rational and a socially embedded viewpoint. The benefit of increasing cities’ efficiency must be balanced with inherent privacy issues. Sanveer (Sunny) Rehani analyses how the technical infrastructure of social media platforms advances filter bubbles. Especially personalisation algorithms favour filter bubbles and thereby amplify opinion polarisation. Keisuke Idemitsu examines socio-technical problems of mining social media data to create economic prediction indicators. The author substantiates his analysis on the example of the Japanese government using Twitter and blog data to predict industrial production.

The three remaining articles centre around socio-technical consequences of datafication developments. Yiduo Wang describes in her critical literature review how the abundance of automatically collected big data has triggered an epistemic change within research theory generation. Jiao (Joanna) Peng summarises two opposing theories on business-technology alignment, namely rationally planned and improvised alignments. Christian Poeschl analyses how the adoption of a new technology transforms decision-making processes in the public sector. Based on the novel digital German tax declaration system Elster, he finds that decision speed and discretionary power are changed and a more formalised as well as homogeneous decision-making process emerged.

We would like to thank all authors and reviewers for their outstanding contributions for this year’s 15th anniversary edition. Additionally, we would like to thank Will Venters, our faculty editor and the previous long-term senior editor, Marta Stelmaszak for their support in creating this issue. Covid-19 has considerably changed our studies at LSE and digitised our student community and campus life. It did not prevent us from jointly creating this issue, though, which we hope will find curious and kind readers.
Barbara Nitschke, Associate Editor