Special Issue: Re-thinking information technologies & information systems: from informing pandemic preparedness to managing business disruptions and endemic responses

Nadja Damij, Co-Lead Guest Editor
Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Tsan-Ming Jason Choi, Co-Lead Guest Editor
Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, SAR
Zoran Levnajić
Complex Systems and Data Science Lab,
Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto, SI
Xiaohang Yue
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA
Jana Suklan
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative,
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Jiaguo Liu
Dalian Maritime University, China
Jason Cross
Chief Strategy Officer, Rymedi & IP Subgroup,
IEEE Standard Association Working Group on Blockchain in Healthcare and Life Sciences, & Duke University, USA
Rahul S Mor
National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management,
Sonepat, India
Dolores Modic
Nord University Business School, Bodø, NO
Xuting Sun
Shanghai University, China


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world seems to have jumped off the hinges. At the start of the pandemic countries needed to take number of steps to contain the spread and subsequently find their way to exit the pandemic and release the lockdowns. In the next steps the societies will need to prepare strategies to efficiently manage the consequent global endemic. In so doing, the role of information technologies and information systems will be pivotal.

The role of technology and engineering management has been instrumental and will continue to be significant in supporting economic growth, business development, and corporate strategies. The nationwide lockdowns as well as the logistics, transportation, and trade restrictions have led to huge disruptions in both demand and supply. Moreover, for healthcare related supplies and resources, government bodies, NGOs and industries worldwide are collaborating to fulfil the demand. Information technologies and information systems play significant roles in managing business operations as well as making society more resilient during pandemic situations inter alia to help establish versatile and timely data analytics tools in addressing business disruption challenges. From communication (Daim et al. 2012) and information transparency perspectives, technologies such as blockchain can enhance traceability among the blocks of the value chain (Zelbst et al. 2019). This allows the related parties and stakeholders to adopt the sense and respond strategy (Haeckel, 1999; Araz et al. 2020; Choi 2020).

On this basis, proper emergency plans, including the updated project management (Křečková et al. 2020) schemes and drug development programs (Simões-Freitas et al. 2019) can be established.  Moreover, the use of information technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and business analytics (Einhorn et al. 2019; Elmousalami 2020), and Internet of Things (IoTs) can help create effective and efficient managerial decisions to enhance forecasting (Pereira et al.2019), smart disaster management (Neelam and Sood 2020), logistics service operations (Tsai et al. 2012), and healthcare industry (Yin et al. 2016; Firouzi et al. 2018; Thibaud 2018; Chung and Jung 2020). As a result, proper risk management (Sun et al. 2020) plans and tools should be developed to reduce the loss incurred by disruptions.

In a pandemic, decisions have to be made ad hoc based on incomplete and sometimes unreliable information. A good example is the social distance that individuals are recommended to keep while in physical proximity. Depending on the country/context, this distance varies between 3 feet and 2 meters (Helsenorge, 2020; CDC, 2020; Australian Department of Health, 2020; GOV.UK, 2020), since clearly, reliably calculating the safe distance requires virologic and epidemiologic information that was/is not (immediately) available (Blocken et al, 2020). There is an array of similar examples. Scientific community has already recognised this gap (Jewell et al, 2020; Wenham, 2020). Consequently, the research concerning pre-disaster plans and post-disaster responses are crucial (e.g., Sadiqi et al. 2017; Basu et al. 2018; Shavarani et al. 2019). Furthermore, COVID-19 can become a disease that is present at an approximately constant level within society i.e. endemic, but new pandemics are likely to emerge. The scientific communities can support the shift to more evidence-based policy-making (Marston and Watts, 2003) in times of pre-pandemic, pandemic, post-pandemic and endemic.

Bridging these gaps is essential for all future pandemics as well as handling the pandemics occurring alongside endemics. Re-thinking the existing information technologies and information systems can support bridging the gaps, as it is information systems that help decision makers by providing accurate and timely information, which can be critical for authorities to make right decisions in turbulent environments (Alkhaffaf, 2012). In contrast, unreliable information can result from conflicts that arise when trying to create local information systems for pandemic response within centralized healthcare systems (Timpka et al, 2011). While each of the stakeholders have relied on modern information technology during recent infectious disease outbreaks, insufficient attention has been paid to the fact that the theoretical possibilities of this technology are limited by characteristics of the health system of which the information system is but a part (Sandiford et al, 1992). Connecting various information systems must be comprehensive, and only as such can it consequently lead to understanding new and more robust implications of information systems adoption, as well as provide evidence-based information to support effective and efficient decision-making process and policy changes (Leidner et al, 2015). There seems to be more value to be derived from information systems support – with advances possible in terms of system functions, technical components or pandemic evidence compilation (Timpka et al, 2011).

Aims & Scope

Firstly, we are calling for original and high-quality academic papers that address how companies respond to emergencies and disasters from Engineering Management (EM) and technological solution perspectives; and how to build advanced information technology-based systems and models to address the challenges created by the outbreak of diseases and sudden shocks. At the same time, this call for papers also welcomes research exploring the social and economic impacts brought by engineering and technology management tools to cope with disruptions such as the COVID19 outbreak. We aim to develop solutions to better deal with the related challenges and contribute to society with engineering management tools.

Secondly, this Special Issue investigates how existing information systems as socio technical constructs (Salahuddin et al., 2020) consisting of interactions between people, their roles and activities they carry out as well as their use of technology, support the mitigation of COVID-19 consequences or other external swift shocks, help exit the crisis and inform the future crisis-related challenges. We are also inviting submissions addressing questions of what is missing in the current information systems’ components and data collection approaches, and how to ensure a better data gathering with the goal to enable evidence-based results in times of swift external shocks when stakeholders’ pressures (public, government) on the scientific community are high. We hope this will invoke a rich interdisciplinary debate.

Thirdly, we are in particular aiming for submissions that would address making sense of the chaos of predictions in regard to the current pandemic, provide suggestions for re-configuration of information technologies and information systems as well as help understand the process of their outputs informing policies, which aim to mitigate the effects of the crisis and help exit the crisis. We expect this might be of great help in any future pandemic, including possible new waves of the current one.

Indicative list of anticipated themes:

Building advanced EM models and technological solutions for real-world problems to deal with sudden shocks Designing EM systems to ensure the company’s operational efficiency in response to disruptions Determining the optimal timing for implementing emergency management using technological solutions such as blockchain and IoTs Developing emergency plans to achieve goals such as low cost or lost, and fast response Applying information technologies to coordinate different transportation and logistics modes to meet the manpower and material needs of post-disruption Identifying the optimal project management plans when value chains are broken Advantages/disadvantages of shared resources, especially the technological-based ones, in response to disruptions Empirical based EM models and case studies on the economic and social impacts of sudden shocksThe role of information systems for relevant, efficient and reliant pandemic evidence compilation The variety of inputs and models leading to chaos of predictions and their influence on the quality of information systems outputs Towards comprehensive pandemic risk management and smart disaster management with the support of information systems The role of information systems in evidence-based strategies and decision making amidst and post pandemic Evaluating data driven approaches to pandemic monitoring Lessons learnt, good practices and missed opportunities of digital policies, tools, and the use of information systems to support regulations Understand the limits of information systems in a pandemic situation Information technologies, information systems and AI: new robust solutions for pandemic responses


We are calling upon the science communities to enhance the role the scientists play to help understand the (new) phenomena and new realities. We believe that the body of knowledge acquired within the COVID-19 pandemic will be used constructively in informing all the future planning efforts. It is the contribution of the research as such, responsibilities of the scientists to uncover the value behind the data, the usability of the on-going research and open dissemination, that will crucially feed into the decision-making process.

The impact of this Special Issue on the real world will be mostly noticeable by attracting submissions that investigate the role of information technologies and information systems play in this process by comparing and contrasting short term aspects and consequences with the potential long term ones, and the creation of the new body of knowledge in order to comprehensively understand what is happening at this moment.

We hope that the results of this special issue will eventually reach policy-making bodies and other relevant stakeholders to help create better strategies of coping for all future pandemics. In particular, these results could trigger new ideas in applicative aspects of information technologies and information systems, leading to actual implementation of some of these ideas. This could serve as a testable proof-of-concept for practitioners and authorities to embrace new information technologies and systems.

Notes for Prospective Authors

We invite the submission of original manuscripts that advance empirical, theoretical, and conceptual understanding of the consequences and effects of the various uses of information technology and information systems in decision making processes and policy changes. Manuscripts must have substantial implications for theory and practice and need to contribute to the existing body of knowledge. We welcome both empirical papers and conceptual theory development papers, as well as other genres. Manuscripts need to incorporate a sound methodological rigor to give the reader a high level of confidence that the results are valid and generalizable.

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper. Submissions will be reviewed according to the journal’s rigorous standards and procedures through a double-blind peer review by at least two qualified reviewers.

Submission Process

Please prepare the manuscript according to IEEE-TEM’s guidelines ( and submit to the journal’s Manuscript Central site ( Please upload the paper on the IEEE TEM Editorial Manager clearly indicating it is submission for the IEEE TEM Special Issue on Rethinking IT and IS: from informing pandemic preparedness to managing business disruptions and endemic responses.


Papers submitted by December 31 2022. Papers will beevaluated on a rolling basis.

Guest Editor Bios

Nadja Damij is an Associate Professor in Business Information Management at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK. Dr. Damij is a Chair of Applied Information System Research Interest Group at NBS. Her research interests include information system and business process management, specifically developing process-oriented TAD methodology.

Tsan-Ming Choi is Professor of Fashion Business at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR. He has authored/edited 16 research handbooks and published over 200 papers in Web of Science listed citation journals, including Production and Operations Management, Journal of Operations Management, Naval Research Logistics, Transportation Research Part B, Transportation Research Part E, Automatica, Decision Sciences, EJOR, and over 50 papers in various high impact IEEE Transactions (TAC, TASE, TCYB, TEM, TIE, TII, TITS, TSMCS).Dr. Choi is also the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Transportation Research Part E, a Senior Editor of Production and Operations Management, and Decision Support Systems; Associate Editor: IEEE Transactions SMC Systems, Information Sciences and a Board member of several academic journals such as International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Production Research, etc. He received the Best Associate Editor Award of IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society in two consecutive years (2013 and 2014). He is currently a member of the engineering panel of Research Grants Council (Hong Kong).

Zoran Levnajić is a Head of Complex Systems and Data Science Lab. Dr. Levnajić research focuses on understanding and characterising complex systems. He employed framework of networks to develop computer simulations that capture their emergent properties. This approach allows for profound insights in natural social and technological complex systems, including fields as diverse as medicine, physics, biology, sociology and engineering.

Xiaohang Yue is a Professor of Supply Chain, Operations Management & Business Statistics at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA.

Jana Suklan is an Associate Researcher at Newcastle University. In her current position Dr. Suklan is evaluating diagnostic medical devices as a part of NIHR Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostic co-operative (MIC). In her work she is applying both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to support developers in gathering high quality evidence to gain authorities’ approval for commercialisation and recommendations to UK healthcare providers. Newcastle MIC is a part of CONDOR – COVID-19 National DiagnOstic Research and Evaluation Platform.

Jiaguo Liu is a Professor of Supply Chain, Maritime Operations Management at Dalian Maritime University, China. He has published more than 80 papers in peer review journals and has been the principal investigator of close to 10 research grants.

Dolores Modic is a Researcher at NORD University Business School. Dr. Modic has published several articles on (innovation) policies both in relation to grand challenges (e.g. the brain big project) as well as new emerging technologies (e.g. high-performance computing). She participates in several big data projects (either as a team member or principal investigator).

Rahul S Mor is Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Food Engineering, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Sonepat, India. His recent research focuses on ‘managing disruptions due to COVID-19, benchmarking, performance analysis in the food industry’, etc. Dr. Mor is also the Managing Guest Editor: Int. Journal of Logistics Research & Applications, Taylor & Francis, and Operations Management Research, Springer Nature; Associate Editor: Supply Chain Forum: An Int. Journal (Taylor & Francis); Editor: Int. Journal of Supply & Operations Management (KU). Dr. Mor is editing a book on ‘OSCM in food industry’. He is also a member of the Editorial Board: Journal of Dairy Science (Elsevier), Int. Journal of Lean Thinking (SU).

Jason Cross is Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Rymedi, a technology company enabling healthcare systems to capture, track and share data with blockchain, IoT and AI. Dr. Cross is also Chair of the Intellectual Property Subgroup of the IEEE Blockchain in Healthcare and Life Sciences Working Group. Dr. Cross was a Professor of innovation and entrepreneurship law, policy, and business at Duke University, where he was founding Executive Director of the Innovation & Technology Policy Lab. At Duke, he led research, consulting, and venture incubation for enhancing the efficiency and accessibility of innovations across global health, energy, education, and smart infrastructure.

Xuting Sun is an Assistant Professor at Shanghai University, China. She has published in journals such as Decision Sciences, Decision Support Systems, Transportation Research Part B, and Transportation Research Part E.


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IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is journal of the Technology and Engineering Management Society of IEEE, published quarterly since 1954. It is dedicated to the publication of peer-reviewed original contributions, by researchers and practitioners, regarding the theory and practice of engineering, technology, and innovation management.

Editor in Chief

Tugrul U Daim, PhD PICMET Fellow
Professor and Director
Technology Management Doctoral Program
Department of Engineering and Technology Management
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science
Portland State University, Portland OR
United States

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