» Go to news main

SIM Research Update [2020]

Posted by SIM on November 16, 2020 in Research, News

The School of Information Management’s faculty and students engage in research initiatives designed to answer significant questions in the field of information management. Our research falls into seven overlapping clusters. Click here to learn more about our research.

Here are some 2020 research highlights that showcase the breadth of our research impact:

Colin Conrad:

  • COVID definitely limited neuroscience-type research as two of the ongoing studies I had earlier this year ground to a halt due to safety concerns. Nonetheless, I had the pleasure of once again serving on the committee and co-authoring in-progress articles in the 2020 NeuroIS retreat:
  1. Conrad, C., Aziz, J., Smith, N. and Newman, A. (2020). What do users feel? Towards affective EEG correlates of cybersecurity notifications. Proceedings of the 2020 NeuroIS Retreat.
  2. Godfrey, D., Findlay, C., Mulchandani, D., Subramanilyer, R., Conrad, C., and Newman, A. (2020). Information systems applications for a tri-hybrid SSVEP, P300 and N170 brain-computer interface. Proceedings of the 2020 NeuroIS Retreat.
  3. Schlechtinger, M., Klesel, M., Oschinsky, F., Conrad, C. and Niehaves, B. (2020). Detecting mind wandering episodes in virtual realities using eye-tracking. Proceedings of the 2020 NeuroIS Retreat.
  • We also have one forth coming conference paper to be presented at the 2020 International Conference for Knowledge Management: Gone, P. and Conrad, C. (forthcoming). Comparing changes in attitudes towards COVID-19 expressed on social media: the case of USA and Canada. Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM).
  • I had the pleasure of serving in some supervisory capacity (masters theses, masters projects, masters papers and directed readings) for 20 students since January. These students have largely been from the MEC/MDI and MI programs, though some have been in neuroscience and computer science as well. Of these students, 12 have finished their degrees, 4 have been coauthors in some published work (all described above), and 3 have highly promising data that will likely lead to publications in the first half of 2021. It is a pleasure to play a part in bringing so much student work to fruition!
  • I have served as a reviewer for six conference papers (1 at the Americas Conference on Information Systems, 1 at International Conference on Information Systems and 3 at the NeuorIS Retreat). I also had the pleasure of reviewing a paper for the Journal of the Association for Information Systems as well as Information Technology & People.
  • Though both of the major grants that I applied to were declined, I had the pleasure of attracting a SSHRC Explore grant ($5000) for the project called What factors lead to gainful university online community experiences during COVID-19?

Bertrum MacDonald:

  • In a year when greater emphasis has been placed on open access to information, open science, and the role of social media in disseminating information (and misinformation), Bertrum MacDonald and members of the Environmental Information: Use and Influence (EIUI) research team have published two timely papers about their research on these issues:
  1. MacDonald, B. H., Cadman, R., Martin, C., Ryder-Burbidge, S., Soomai, S. S., Stewart, I., & Wells, P. G. (2020). Is the production and use of grey marine literature a model for open science? The Grey Journal, 16(2), 73–83.
  2. Martin, C., & MacDonald, B. H. (2020). Using interpersonal communication strategies to encourage science conversations on social media. PLOS ONE, 15(11), e0241972. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241972
  • In addition, in research being conducted within an Ocean Frontier Institute research group, Bertrum has co-authored an essay with Dr. Patricia Manual of the Dalhousie School of Planning that highlights the importance of including local governments and communities in coastal and marine planning initiatives: Manuel, P., & MacDonald, B. H. (2020). Local governments and coastal communities are more than “stakeholders” in marine spatial planning. The Journal of Ocean Technology, 15(2), 128–129. https://www.thejot.net/article-preview/?show_article_preview=1172
  • Evidence-based decision making has been front and centre this year as the ravages of the pandemic continue to play out globally. This subject is the focus of the graduate course, Information in Public Policy and Decision Making, which students discussed each class in the Winter 2020 term. COVID-19 quickly became a massive case study for consideration as a blog post about the course notes.

Philippe Mongeon:


  • On the relationship between journal fit and scientific impact (METRICS2020)
  • “For-profit publishers are parasites”, as part of the Perspectives on academic publishing panel (CAIS2020)
  • Do researchers cite what they tweet? (7:AM Altmetrics Conference)
  • Cartographie de la recherche en sciences de l’information au Canada (invited presentation in INFO 6700, OttawaU)
  • From Research Evaluation to Research Behaviour: Shifting the focus of bibliometrics (2020 International Library and Information Science Forum for Young Scholars)
  • The Global Production and Use of Open Access Research (16th Nordic Workshop on Bibliometrics and Research Policy) *Presented by co-authors

Grant applications

  • The mobilization of science in a global health crisis (SSHRC insight grant with co-pi Vincent Larivière)
  • Muzzled no more? Perceptions of Canadian environmental scientists’ abilities to communicate and conduct research without interference (Dean’s collaborative research grant with co-pi Alana Westwood)
  • The mental health crisis in academia: tracking mental health signals from academics’ tweets (Dean’s collaborative research grant with co-pi Anika Cloutier and Colin Conrad)

New projects involving SIM colleagues

  • Mapping Canadian LIS research, with Cora-Lynn Munroe Lynds, Marc-André Simard, Ratna Dhaliwal, Azka Gowda, Vinson Li, Yifan Liu, Emily McClean
  • Digging the archive, with Kendell Fitzgerald, Grace Bourret, Jordan Audas, and Ana Roeschley
  • Tackling social justice in LIS research, with Ratna Dhaliwal, Alison Brown, Amber Matthews and Jessalyn Hill
  • The visibility of shark research in the news and social media, with Tamanna Moharana, Kory Melnick, Rémi Toupin, Pallavi Gone, and Bertrum MacDonald

Other research-related activities

Louise Spiteri:

  • Over the past year, I have engaged in a new area of research, namely the information behaviours of members of online zero waste communities. I’ve incorporated different disciplines into my research, including consumer behaviour, social theory, economic theory, and environmental theory. In the first stage of this research plan, I conducted a thematic analysis of over 2,000 posts across five popular zero waste Instagram communities. This research has been featured in the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Information Science, as will be published soon in the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science. The next phase of this search is underway and will examine in more depth a number of matters that were revealed in the thematic analysis, including environmental racism and eco-feminism.
  • I am working with a multi-disciplinary and international team on a project that seeks to address the value gap problem arising in the creative industries by taking a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to explore the potential implementation of blockchain-based solutions capable of enabling neutral trusted exchanges in otherwise highly politicised environment of copyright. Team members from Dalhousie University, University of Copenhagen, Erasmus University, Bocconi University, University of Plymouth, and Warsaw University represent a variety of disciplines, including copyright law, computer science, political science, economics, and information management. We have applied for a New Frontiers in Research Fund and are awaiting the results.
  • I am working on a SSHRC Partnership Grant that explores trauma and violence informed outreach with women affected by violence. This project features researchers from the University of British Columbia, as well as Dalhousie University (Scott Comber, Greg Hebb, and Sandra Toze). The Dalhousie team will be working with local organizations that provide outreach services to victims of domestic violence.

Sandra Toze:

  • Over the past six months I have been working to complete some ongoing research projects, and to initiate some new ones. I have a paper related to our work with Digital Skills in the Federal GovernmentSmart Technologies, Digital Competencies and Workforce Development: An Examination of the Government of Canada’s Current and Future Capacities which is currently being reviewed. The final report from that study Building Digital Capacity: Report On The Training Needs Analysis is available in DalSpace: http://hdl.handle.net/10222/76333
  • I am excited to be working as part of the Halifax team, led by Dr. Scott Comber and including  Dr. Louise Spiteri, Dr. Greg Hebb, and Dr. Liz Wilson on a SSHRC Partnership Grant – Scaling Up Trauma and Violence Informed Outreach with Women Affected by Violence. The Dalhousie team is exploring objectives within this project related to tailoring the example from Vancouver to the local context, how to best evaluate the success, as well as how to increase and measure engagement with women and services.
  • The fall I was successful in receiving a SSHRC Explore grant for Exploring Business-to-Business Information Sharing in Two Nova Scotian Industries. The proposed research seeks to understand information sharing habits of competing businesses within two rural-tourism industries in Nova Scotia: the wine industry and the artisanal cheese industry. I look forward to completing this research over the next year.
  • I have submitted a proposal to extend the pilot study by Dr. Louis Beaubien, Dr. Colin Conrad Janet Music and myself – that examined Evaluating simplified web interfaces of risk models for clinical use related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The aim of the proposed research is to address the critical need for better testing, diagnosis and education related to COPD in Nova Scotia, to reduce the burden, and positively affect health care and the patient experience. The goal is to determine how better information sharing among COPD clinicians and patients can create a more cost effective, efficient, and effective way to manage COPD assessment, diagnosis and treatment.