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Emerging Perspectives on Health Information Needs

Special issue call for papers from Aslib Journal of Information Management

Guest Editors: Feicheng Ma (Wuhan University, China), Aylin Ilhan (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany), Yuanyuan Feng (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), Wenjing Pian (Fuzhou University, China)

The investigation into people’s information needs, seeking, and use has been a prominent research branch of information science. “Information needs”, a key conceptual construct in information retrieval and user behavior research, is considered as the motivator for people’s information-related decisions and behaviors.

Research on health information needs is multi-disciplinary. Information science researchers have focused on the theories and models related to information needs and their potential application on health-related fields. Medical and health science researchers have emphasized the operationalization of users' health information needs and subsequent behaviors, to measure and improve patient outcome; Human-computer interaction researchers have investigated how to design effective computer systems that support people’s health information needs and foster positive health behaviors. It will be beneficial for researchers from multiple disciplines to discuss different perspectives, which encourages cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in this area.

Recently, emerging consumer-facing technologies have profoundly shaped how the general public seek and interact with health-related information in their everyday life. For instance, various mobile health applications transform how people access their personal health information, wearable activity tracking technologies provide information about one’s daily physical activity, and social media impact the diffusion and communication of health information. These emerging technologies not only cultivate new contexts for health information needs but also significantly impact people's related health information behavior where information needs are embedded. Therefore, it is crucial to investigate the health information needs and related health information behaviors under such new technological contexts.

This special issue aims to navigate the changing research landscape of health information needs and related health information behavior, as well as to foster multi-, cross-, and inter-disciplinary innovations in this research area.

This special issue invites submissions on (but not limited to) the following topics:

Multi-, cross-, and inter-disciplinary perspectives on health information needs 

Innovative operationalization and frameworks for health information needs 

Empirical research on how emerging consumer-facing technologies impact health information needs and related health information behavior (e.g., health tracking, social media, and other novel health-related technologies)

Novel methods to examine health information needs and related health information behavior pertaining to emerging consumer-facing technologies (e.g. new methods and datasets made possible by such technologies).  

Authors in different disciplines, including information science, information systems, human-computer interaction, psychology, clinical medicine, and health sciences, are invited to submit original and unpublished papers. 

Since the special issue focuses on health information needs, research studies examining health information behaviors should be discussed concerning health information needs. Interdisciplinary research is particularly welcomed. 

All submissions will be peer-reviewed and judged on accuracy, originality, significance, quality, and relevance to the special issue. Papers should be 4,000 to 9,000 words in length (including references) and formatted in accordance with the journal’s author guidelines.

About the Journal 

Aslib Journal of Information Management (AJIM; ISSN: 2050-3806) is a peer-reviewed international journal providing key insights into the latest international developments in the research and practice of information management and information science.  Information about the journal can be found at

Scheduled dates and submission deadlines

Paper submission deadline: February 29, 2020

Notice of review results: May 31, 2020 

Revisions due: July 31, 2020