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Global impact

Business researcher receives international nod for ‘timeless’ work


By Susan White

A Memorial University faculty member has earned a global accolade recognizing his impact on the field of information systems.

Dr. Jeffrey Parsons leans against a brick wall with his arms folded.
Dr. Jeffrey Parsons

Dr. Jeffrey Parsons was recently named a fellow of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) at the International Conference on Information Systems in Denmark.

The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions in research, teaching or service and have had significant local and global impact in the field.

‘Thrill to be recognized’

Dr. Parsons is the only Canadian to be recognized among the 2022 winners, which also includes researchers from Australia, China, Ireland, the Netherlands and the U.S.

“I’m deeply honoured by this recognition,” he said. “Prior awardees are people I have admired throughout my career, and it’s a thrill to be recognized as a member of this group.”

Dr. Parsons has aimed for “timelessness” in his research, he says.

“That’s not always easy in a field in which technology changes quickly and people are generally interested in the latest fads in technology.”

Staying ahead of tech fads

Taking a longer view has helped him stay ahead of trends, he adds.

Dr. Parsons wrote a paper in 2000, for example, that was instrumental in helping researchers understand how decisions about the way in which data are stored affect its quality.

“We’re on the cusp of tremendous changes in our lives due to rapid developments in artificial intelligence.” — Dr. Jeffrey Parsons

Later, along with Dr. Roman Lukyanenko, a former PhD student at Memorial, Dr. Parsons applied his earlier work to a new and growing form of data collection — crowdsourcing — with a paper focused on designing data collection interfaces to improve crowdsourced data quality.

It was named the best paper of the year by MIS Quarterly, the top journal in the information systems field.

“It has been gratifying to see how this longer-term focus has equipped me to study topics that have recently become more important,” said Dr. Parsons.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are on his radar for further study.

“We’re on the cusp of tremendous changes in our lives due to rapid developments in artificial intelligence,” he said. “Although it remains to be seen how exactly these technologies will change our lives, I look forward to better understanding the capabilities, opportunities and limitations of AI technology.”

Top-tier career

Dr. Parsons is a University Research Professor at Memorial and a professor of information systems at the Faculty of Business Administration.

In 2019 he was the first Canadian to be named a Schöller senior fellow by the Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Centre for Business and Society at the University in Nuremberg in Germany.

He has also been recognized as a distinguished research fellow from Technische Universität Dresden, and as an ER (entity-relationship) fellow from the International Conference on Conceptual Modelling.

He holds current grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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