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Examining Digital Government Publication Trends


A purposive sample of the top five scholarly journals in public administration, public policy and management information systems was used, for a total of fifteen journals. These fields were selected because they are often recognized as three of the most important potential outlets for interdisciplinary DG research. The journals were selected by consulting several sources. These sources provided a ranking of the top journals in each field (Forrester & Watson 1994, Saunders 2002).

We scanned the table of contents of each journal issue between 1999 and 2003 looking at titles and abstracts; however, we did not systematically examine the body of the articles. Special issues on DG were noted. Our focus was on research articles only and did not include commentaries, professional practice sections, book reviews, notes, lectures or viewpoints.

Table 1. Selected Scholarly Journals

Public Administration
Public Policy
Management Information Systems
Administration and Society (A&S)
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM)
Communications of the ACM (CACM)
American Review of Public Administration (ARPA)
Journal of Public Policy (JPP)
Information & Management
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART)
Policy Sciences (PS)
Information Systems Research (ISR)
Public Administration Review (PAR)
Policy Studies Journal (PSJ)
Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS)
Public Performance and Management Review (PP&MR)
Policy Studies Review (PSR)*
MIS Quarterly (MISQ)
* This journal as of March 2003 is now called Review of Policy Research.

We counted, as DG articles, those papers that dealt with issues related to DG research and/or incorporated general themes and frameworks associated with this area of scholarship. Our guiding definition of DG research was the application of information or social science methods to investigate the information-related needs, management and policies of government or the information-related characteristics of a democratic society. In our view, DG research can be usefully divided in five components (See Table 2). In addition, we counted articles that looked at the impact of DG on traditional legal, public policy or international affairs frameworks. An iterative process was used among the investigators to determine whether an article counted or not; therefore, the inclusion of articles is based on our combined general understanding of DG research, themes and frameworks.

Table 2. Areas of Digital Government Research

The use of electronic communications to increase citizen participation in the public decision-making process.
The electronic delivery of government information, programs, and services often (but not exclusively) over the Internet.
The electronic exchange of money for goods and services such as citizens paying taxes and utility bills, renewing vehicle registrations, and paying for recreation programs, or government buying supplies and auctioning surplus equipment.
The use of information technology to improve the management of government, from streamlining business processes to maintaining electronic records, to improving the flow and integration of information.
The use of information technology for the design and implementation of a regulatory framework that facilitates and promotes the development of a information and knowledge society.