Interface of Digital Transformation, Data Science and Public Policy

Prof. Arpan Kar
Associate Professor, Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi, India (View Full Profile)

The Exhilarating Journey of Prof (Dr.) Arpan Kar, 2nd Prize Winner, Basant Kumar Birla Distinguished Research Scholar Awards 2019: Working in the Interface of Digital Transformation, Data Science and Public Policy.

Indeed, it is a great privilege to have been selected for the prestigious BK Birla award for my research contributions in the field of management. I am grateful the selection committee of BIMTECH that has chosen me for this award. I am humbled by the recognition and this will inspire me a lot to try and achieve greater impact in the years to come in the field of research.

Since the award has been on the basis of very highly respected journals in the field of management like ABDC A*, ABS 4 and FT 50 journals, getting shortlisted for this recognition along with 12 others in India, means that high quality research in India is increasingly getting its due recognition from academia and corporate alike.

Also, this means that Indians sitting in India can produce research papers which can have very high impact and recognition, and increasingly this trend is becoming more and more evident as there are increasingly very highly rated publications coming out from my peers in my institution and outside my institution. As an academic, it is our core duty and privilege not only to contribute in sharing knowledge that is published by others, but take an active part in co-creating such knowledge and directly contributing to the body of literature.


However, research ecosystem in India is not really without challenges. As compared to the universities in many of the developed economies, an academic professional in India, to be successful, has to be a master of many trades. He has to be practically a superman of sorts. He/She has to handle a lot of classroom teaching and a lot of administrative responsibilities and then find time for conducting research in an otherwise resource constrained environment.

The student-teacher ratio in most of the Indian institutions are way worse than that of our counterparts in developed economies. Infrastructure and research ecosystem is a challenge. Further, many of us do not have formal training. So, the journey is often filled with self-learning and lots of rejection letters. More than moments of inspiration, the journey is filled with perspiration. So when some of us strive to put down our footprints in terms of increasing our number of high impact publications and day by day, watch our citations grow slowly, the satisfaction that come with such recognitions as this award, is the cherry on the cake.  Pursuing research in India is mostly driven by intrinsic motivations and such recognitions help a lot to fire us up.


I work in the interface of Information Systems with other functional areas of management like operations and marketing. To be more specific, I work in the interface of Digital Transformation, Data Science and Public Policy. My special moments in research were when I started my journey with Data Science a decade back, and the journey has been extremely rewarding since then. At that time, concepts of Data Science and their applications was relatively new in management discipline, though they were more prevalent in Computer Science.

I have used Data Science methods in different complex problems and have been able to produce very high impactful publications. Such contributions in different areas have touched upon social problems, political problems, human behavior in communities and group intelligence. Further, I have also worked extensively in pure public policy space like smart cities and digital nations. In recent times, I have also started exploring Digital Service Science and Sharing Economy where I see a lot of potential application of my research skills.

In this context, my institution provides me a lot of supportive ecosystem for trying and publishing the best in class research. My colleagues in my Department in IITD have also been extremely supportive and motivating so that everyone gets inspired to produce high quality publications. We have stalwart researchers in IITD who have citations in five digit numbers and they become inspirational for the others to try and achieve similar impact.


I would really like to thank our research scholars also, who have helped a lot in this journey. Some of them have been extremely productive as researchers. Last, but not the least, the support of my family has been immense in this journey. Without them shouldering many of my responsibilities, my commitment towards research and the journey undertaken so far would not have been possible.

Recently, I have started undertaking a new journey as Editor in Chief of a journal published by Elsevier. The journal name is IJIM Data Insights. This is a companion journal of the very established journal, IJIM. I look forward to using my knowledge in shaping the world of Big Data driven research towards theory building in Information Management Systems.

I have obtained some editorial experience when I acted as an Associate or Coordinating Editor for quite a few reputed and established journals like Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management,  International Journal of Electronic Government Research, Information Systems Frontiers, and few more.

I have also obtained some editorial experience as a guest editor in journals like Information Systems Frontiers, Journal of Advances in Management Research, Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Industrial Marketing Management and International Journal of Information Management. 

I have also received a lot of reviewer recognition awards from reputed journals like Information and Management, Government Information Quarterly, International Journal of Information Management, Land Use Policy, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Journal of Computational Science and Expert Systems with Applications. However, taking the overall charge of a journal as an Editor in Chief is a new responsibility for me.

I look forward to the learning experience and the challenges ahead as an editor and I hope to make this journal as established over the years to come. I look forward to the support of my colleagues as I venture in this new journey.

Without any further ado, I would like to conclude, by again gratefully acknowledging this recognition from the BIMTECH and the Birla Family. Such recognitions mean a lot to all the aspiring researchers like us, as we travel forward in our academic journey. It helps to motivate us in this journey towards academic excellence. Thank you for this honor.

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