World Beater

Ranked #1 on the planet for information systems research, Yong Tan is the fulcrum of a department on the rise

When it comes to information systems research, Yong Tan is #1 on the planet.

Tan, the Michael G. Foster Endowed Professor of Information Systems at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, tops the global list of most productive IS scholars that is produced by the Association for Information Systems (AIS), the discipline’s preeminent scholarly organization.

The research index is derived from a tally of papers published over the past three years (2019-2021) in the discipline’s two most influential and prestigious journals: Information Systems Research and Management Information Systems Quarterly.

Tan published an extraordinary 14 papers in the two journals over the span—five more than the next-highest ranking scholar. If you extend the ranking period to eight years, he still tops the list.

And his own prolific record has propelled his IS colleagues in Foster’s Department of Information Systems and Operations Management to earn a collective #5 world ranking in the same research index on the strength of 22 publications in the past three years.

Instant impact

Tan joined the Foster School faculty full-time in 2000, after earning PhDs from the UW in physics (1993) and information systems (2000).

During his two-plus decades at Foster, he has produced research of the highest quantity and quality. His record adds up to more than 80 published papers to date, the vast majority gracing the most important journals in the fields of information systems and operations management, including Management Science, Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly and Operations Research.

A senior editor of Information Systems Research and Production and Operations Management, Tan’s prolific research explores a vast range of topics including online social networks, mobile commerce, digital distribution channels, information security, fintech, AI and data pricing, sharing economy, micro-charity, online opinion, healthcare IT, digital distribution channels, online trust and pricing of Internet services.

Tan’s tally

Tan has received numerous accolades for research and leadership.

In 2017, he received the Best Paper Award in Information Systems from Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In 2016, he received the Distinguished Fellow Award from INFORMS, considered to be the most prestigious award in the field of information systems.

In 2015, Tan was named a Chang Jiang Scholar by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Foundation, one of a select few international researchers chosen for outstanding contributions to the disciplines of science, engineering, medicine and management.

And in 2013, he received the Management Science Meritorious Service Award and the AIS Best Publication Award.

Foster leadership

At Foster, Tan has won about every research award on offer. Among them, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (2018), the Andrew V. Smith Award for Excellence in Research (2016), the Dean’s Faculty Research Award (2006) and the Dean’s Junior Faculty Research Award (2005).

He has received the Pacific Banking School Dean’s Leadership Award (2017) and is a six-time recipient of the school’s PhD Program Mentorship Award (most recently in 2021).

Tan and Xiao-Ping Chen, the Philip M. Condit Endowed Chair in Business Administration, were instrumental in establishing the Foster School’s Institute for Global Business and Finance Innovation, in partnership with the University of Science and Technology in China (USTC). He served as associate director from 2017 to 2020.

Faculty of the Foster School Department of Information Systems and Operations Management.

Deep bench

Tan also serves as chair of Foster’s Department of Information Systems and Operations Management, where he is surrounded by a roster of talented colleagues.

In the department’s robust information systems research group, Tan is joined by veterans Ming Fan (recipient of the 2021 Dean’s Research Award) and Debabrata Dey (2020 Information Systems Society Distinguished Fellow)—plus Kamran Moinzadeh (2017 Dean’s Leadership Awardee) and Shi Chen (2020 Dean’s Research Awardee), operations management specialists who also publish in top IS journals.

But he also points to a strong cohort of accomplished junior faculty, including Elina Hwang (winner of the 2021 Information Systems Society Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award), Yingfei Wang (recipient of an Amazon Research Award), Stephanie Lee, Uttara Ananthakrishnan and Mingwen Yang. And two stellar hires will add significant research chops when they arrive this summer.

“I’m very proud that we have assembled such a group of young talents, from the best business schools and IS programs, who are working on timely and important topics such as AI, technology and social justice, social media, online platforms and fintech,” says Tan. “The future is bright.”

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array of people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.