A copy of my research statement in PDF format is available for download by clicking on this link: Radu Vlas research statement (PDF)

Research Statement

We are currently witnessing a comeback, through the Association of Information Systems (AIS) and other well established communication channels in the field of information systems, of the discussion on the crisis of the information system profession and brand. Suggested solutions to the IS relevance problem that was highlighted in these discussions are focusing around the concept of "engaged scholarship." My research is lined up with these suggestions since it is driven by my strong belief in the importance of consistent and impactful contributions. My research program emphasizes these beliefs and is built around current technology-related topics, such as open-source software development, perceptions of technology, and social media communication.

On the methodological aspect of my research, I am trying to take advantage of the benefits of both design research and explanation research. These two types of academic research complement each other to provide the means for developing comprehensive research streams. While explanation research provides an understanding of the phenomena of interest, design science research proposes solutions to relevant problems faced by practitioners. My research agenda is inspired by my belief that the role of research is to be a driver of progress through advancements in understanding and technology.

This research philosophy motivates a number of commingled research streams that I developed and work on, with few papers meeting the goals of more than one stream:

  • Open-Source software development and requirements engineering
  • Pattern-based text analytics
  • Perceptions of technology
  • Social media communication


Research Stream 1: Open-Source Software Development and Requirements Engineering

Software products created by communities of open-source contributors are being successfully used in a wide range of areas and for a large spectrum of purposes, such as various industry domains, government offices, military and security institutions, infrastructure projects, education, scientific projects, and personal use. The Information Systems and Software Engineering academic communities showed that open-source software is often of similar or better quality than traditional closed-source software. While research on the open-source phenomenon is predominantly focused on social and empirical aspects, I aim to explore the design and architectural aspects of open-source software development projects.

The existence of open-source requirements in software projects has been first highlighted by Walt Scacchi in a series of studies exploring within project communication in open-source. My research confirms Walt Scacchi's findings and is focused on proposing flexible methodologies and techniques for the analysis of open-source requirements. Current results include two complementary parsing approaches for discovery and classification of elements of open-source requirements, as well as an initial requirements-oriented taxonomy of open-source software development projects. Future research in this stream focuses on two main directions: the evolution of open-source requirements throughout the project lifecycle, and an exploration of the requirements-based indicators of software quality.

Published Work

  • Vlas, R., Robinson, W. (2012). "Two Rule-Based Natural Language Strategies for Requirements Discovery and Classification in Open-Source Software Development Projects", Journal of Management Information Systems.
  • Vlas, R., Vlas. C. (2011). "A Requirements-Based Analysis of Open-Source Projects", Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), Detroit, Michigan. August 4-7, 2011.
  • Vlas, R., Robinson, W. N. (2011). "A Pattern-Based Method for Requirements Discovery and Classification in Open-Source Software Development Projects", Hawaii International Conference on Software Systems (HICSS), Kauai, Hawaii. January 4-7, 2011. Best Paper Award


Papers under Development

  • "Open-Source Requirements Lifecycle" with W. Robinson (targeted for Requirements Engineering Journal)
  • "Patterns of Software Quality Evolution in Open-Source Projects" with C. Ruiz and W. Robinson (targeted for ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems)
  • "Three Musketeers: The Life and Success of Open-Source Projects" with C. Ruiz, T. Deng, and W. Robinson (targeted for the Journal of Management Information Systems)


Research Stream 2: Pattern-Based Text Analytics

A large part of the communication within open-source communities is conducted via electronic channels. Consequently, large volumes of textual data are being generated within these communities. My interest in text analytics is a direct response to the existing need to develop text analysis tools and techniques that exhibit the level of flexibility and adaptability that would make them efficient for highly heterogeneous data. As part of this research stream, I developed and refined a rule-based technique for the pattern-oriented analyses of open-source data included in my first research stream. Therefore, the analysis tool and technique I developed has already been proven efficient in the open-source domain. Current and future research projects aim to use this technique in a number of different environments, such as IT governance, social media communication, and human emotional reactions to technology changes.

Published Work

  • Vlas, R., Robinson, W. (2012). "Two Rule-Based Natural Language Strategies for Requirements Discovery and Classification in Open-Source Software Development Projects", Journal of Management Information Systems.
  • Vlas, R., Robinson, W. N. (2011). "A Pattern-Based Method for Requirements Discovery and Classification in Open-Source Software Development Projects", Hawaii International Conference on Software Systems (HICSS), Kauai, Hawaii. January 4-7, 2011. Best Paper Award


Papers under Development

  • "An Analysis of Emotions in Social Network Communication" with E. Park and V. Storey (targeted for MIS Quarterly)
  • "A Model-Based Method for Analyzing IT Policy Documents" with J. Lee and W. Robinson (targeted for MIS Quarterly)


Research Stream 3: Perceptions of Technology

Human behavior is mainly determined by emotions, habit, and reflexes. In the case of technology-oriented environments, all these three factors are shaped by an evolutionary process of knowledge and experience accumulation. In this research stream I explore human perceptions of technology through this lens and aim to discover and define taxonomy of technology users. Future research directions concentrate on performing an in-depth analysis of the emotions and the knowledge and experiences that shape human perceptions of technology. This leads to proposing a comprehensive model of human perception formation.

Published Work

  • Vlas, R., Vlas, C. (2011). "A Threefold User-Based Software Evaluation Framework", Midwest United States Association for Information Systems Conference (MWAIS), Omaha, Nebraska. May 20-21, 2011
  • Vlas, R. (2011). "A Dichotomous Stakeholder-Centric Software Evaluation Framework", Southern Association for Information Systems Conference (SAIS), Atlanta, Georgia. March 25-26, 2011


Papers under Development

  • "Technology Perception Formation: A Model of Emotions Evolution" with C. Vlas (targeted for European Journal of Information Systems)
  • "The Penguin Lesson: A Model of User Perception in Social Interactions" with C. Vlas (targeted for ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems)


Research Stream 4: Social Media Communication

In addition to the three research streams described above, I am also interested in developing a fourth stream focusing on social media and social networking, with an emphasis on drivers of participation and communication patterns. The tools and techniques developed for the pattern-based text analytics stream will be used in the context of social media communication. I aim to use a combination of qualitative and design science research methods in order to achieve an in-depth understanding of social media participation.

Papers under Development

  • "An Analysis of Emotions in Social Network Communication" with E. Park and V. Storey (targeted for MIS Quarterly)
  • "Is It All Fun? An Exploration of Negative Emotions and Participation Incentives in Social Networks" with C. Vlas (targeted for Journal of the Association for Information Systems)
  • "The Penguin Lesson: A Model of User Perception in Social Interactions" with C. Vlas (targeted for ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems)