A professor at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) has been selected for a prestigious professional award that recognizes the quality of his program of research and the impact of his research contributions to the field of information science.  

Kevin Crowston, Associate Dean for Research and Distinguished Professor of Information Science, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Research in Information Science Award, presented by the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T).

Nominees were judged by the intellectual quality of their research contributions; the impact of those contributions to research theory, practice and society; the way their research work has contributed to methodology, including the development and evaluation of software, corpora, and other research tools; and the degree to which their research work has helped shape or reshape the information field and connect with related research areas.

ASIS&T is the preeminent professional association in the information science and technology field. The Association has been leading the search for new and better theories, techniques, and technologies to improve access to information for the past 80 years. Thousands of researchers, developers, practitioners, students, and professors in the field of information science and technology, hailing from 50 countries, are members. They are bound by their interest in improving the ways society stores, retrieves, analyzes, manages, archives, and disseminates information.

Crowston’s research examines new ways of organizing made possible by the use of information technology. He approaches the issue through empirical studies of coordination-intensive processes in human organizations (especially virtual organization); theoretical characterizations of coordination problems and alternative methods for managing them; and design and empirical evaluation of systems to support people working together. Specific domains of interest include free/libre open source software development projects, citizen science projects, and research data management.

Upon learning of his selection for the honor, Crowston remarked, “It is a great honor to be chosen to receive the ASIS&T Research in Information Science Award, knowing the many fine researchers in our field. I strive to connect information science research to other research areas and to show how it enriches interdisciplinary projects. It is gratifying for these contributions to be recognized.”

He was nominated by iSchool faculty associates Caroline Haythornthwaite and Carsten Oesterlund, who wrote how Crowston’s “outstanding record comprises over 20 years of research on the new forms of work, organization, and coordination emerging with the use of information and communication technology. His empirical studies of real estate agents, virtual work arrangements, Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) development, citizen science, and the impact of artificial intelligence have been a guiding voice for many subsequent studies; and his theoretical work on document genre and stigmergic coordination have likewise shaped academic debates. He not only studies the future of work; he is also actively engaged in system building and experimentation that facilitates and shapes these areas.”

Crowston is a co-principal investigator on the National Science Foundation project, “INSPIRE: Teaming Citizen Science with Machine Learning to Deepen LIGO’s View of the Cosmos,” which has produced the Gravity Spy system. He formerly served as co-principal investigator on the NSF grant, “Collaborative Research: Focusing Attention to Improve the Performance of Citizen Science Systems: Beautiful Images and Perceptive Observers.” With colleagues, he has built several citizen science projects and the FLOSSmole.org repository. He also has three patents associated with his work on coordination. In addition, he has served as a National Science Foundation program officer for Cyber-Human Systems and Human-Centered Computing, and as a member of the Steering Committee of the National Research Program on Digital Transformation for the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The award will be presented along with other annual recognitions at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in October in Melbourne, Australia.