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ECIS-Blog - Behind the Scenes and More


Wed, 2015-03-25 15:47

ERCIS Logo Some of you may have noticed a small logo reading "ERCIS" on the ECIS webpage and may have wondered what it is all about. The logo is even similar to this year’s ECIS logo (which was, as you might guess, intended). The Germans would say "Ein verwandelter Elfmeter ohne Torwart": "A converted penalty without goaly", at least we think so. This makes us talk about "ECIS @ ERCIS".

So, what is ERCIS about?

ECIS 23 Let’s start with the acronym: ERCIS stands for the "European Research Center for Information Systems". It is NOT ERICS! This would be, maybe, Erics Angling Centre: "Erics Angling Centre is widely regarded as one of the best tackle shops in the country." Not us, not really. It is also not Erciş. That's a village in Turkey. Makes us receive funny spam emails.

ERCIS is pronounced [ɛər:zis]. We are an international research network in the field of Information Systems, which was founded in 2004. And who is "we"? Let’s try: The administration, i.e. the headquarters is located at the Department of Information Systems at the University of Münster. All the staff running around at the Department are members of the ERCIS. Our partner research institutions are universities from around the world, working with us on various IS-related topics and forming the ERCIS network. Apart from conducting research together we also advanced our teaching portfolio by conducting international PhD seminars and virtual seminars for Master students, or co-supervising Bachelor or Master theses with different partner institutions from the network. Oh, and we also, for example, organize ECIS 2015!

Jörg is Academic Director of ERCIS, Jan is our partner from Liechtenstein, and Marco is our old friend and first partner from Italy. In addition, the ERCIS has an advisory board consisting of several companies working with us on current topics and discussing our research projects.

If you are interested in our various activities, our partners, opportunities to collaborate or you just want to find out more about our network, have a look at our webpage or get in contact with us via If you are bored, think about the reason why it is "Center", although it is an European institution... ;-)

About the author: Armin Stein

Armin Stein

Since 2010, after finishing his PhD at the University of Münster, Armin is Managing Director of the ERCIS network. Together with Katrin (see her other blog entry), Sara (one of our post docs), and the directors, he shapes and puts into actions the network's ideas. Oh, and aside from this, he organizes ECIS together with Katrin and Michael. If you handed in a paper, you for sure received an email from him ;-)

If you would like to know more about the author, check out the author's website.

On Westphalians and Rhinelanders

Thu, 2015-02-12 11:08

In times of German carnival, the old (and probably overestimated) debate of the clash between Rhinelanders and Westphalians is warmed up every year. Rhinelanders are called people from the region around the big cities along the Rhine river, such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Mainz. Westphalia includes the regions around cities like Münster, Paderborn, and Dortmund. After World War II, the two regions were merged to the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Before, they had been politically separate as different districts of the kingdom of Prussia. During that time, Münster has been the capital of the district of Westphalia.

The big cities along the Rhine (Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Mainz) are Germans carnival strongholds. On Rose Monday, they organize huge celebrations with parades and dancing, usually accompanied by a heavy drinking general public in fancy costumes. In Münster, there is also a quite big parade on Rose Monday. However, Rhinelanders usually do not take it seriously. In their view, Westphalians and carnival are two things that are mutually exclusive. Frankly speaking, Rhinelanders assert that Westphalians are rather silent and not able to have fun at all. A famous joke goes like this:

A Rhinelander meets a Westphalian with a parrot on his shoulder. The Rhinelander asks: “Can he speak?” The parrot answers: “How the hell should I know?” 

In contrast, Westphalians naturally oppose to this view by saying that Rhinelanders talk way too much and are always happy without any substantial reason. In fact, Rhinelanders occasionally start singing “Viva Colonia” – all over the world, unrequested, unappreciated, and without any prior notice. “When a Westphalian starts to be funny – even at a very rudimentary level, the Rhinelander lies drunk on the ground already”, said once Westphalian comedian Rüdiger Hoffmann.

Beside of the Rhineland and Westphalian rivalry, there are a lot of inner-regional clashes between Rhinelanders (Düsseldorf vs. Cologne) and Westphalians (Bielefeld vs. Everybody else). Key issues usually include the quality of the local beer and the performance of the local football team.

Now, what has that to do with you as non-Westphalian researcher?

Münster lies in the heart of Westphalia and people in Münster are usually happy to live there. Hence, when you are in Münster for ECIS 2015, they will appreciate your Westphalian cultural know how. Here is some ultimate advice:

  • Many people in Germany have a higher identification with their home region or the city they are currently living in than with the nation as a whole. Exploit that fact for placing good jokes!
  • Small talk with Germans – especially when from Westphalia – can get a bit lengthy. Be patient and appreciate that they talk with you at all!
  • Rhinelanders will laugh about any joke you do – whether they are good or not. Do not assume that the person actually likes you or your jokes.
  • Moreover, when you next check for demographic differences in your empirical surveys, you may consider sampling Rhinelanders and Westphalians to go deeper into the matter.

Any more advice? Please let me know via Twitter or E-Mail.

About the author: Sebastian Köffer

Sebastian Köffer

Sebastian Köffer works as research assistant at the European Research Center of Information Systems in Münster (Westphalia). He was born in Dinslaken (Rhineland) and has lived for several years in Paderborn (Westphalia) and Düsseldorf (Rhineland). His Twitter account is @koeffi.

If you would like to know more about the author, check out the author's website.

Ten Days to Go... Write if you can!

Tue, 2014-11-18 22:53

Ten days before the end of the submission deadline, you are hopefully working hard on finishing your ECIS paper. What else is there to do? If you still have no idea for a nice little paper, it’s now officially time to panic!

But honestly… saving your ideas for other upcoming conferences is not an option this time.  You know that Münster is perfect for ECIS 2015 and your paper! Just see all the ToWs we offer! So, pull yourself together and write! In case you are running out of time, I have some ultimate advice for random cuts (not to be taken too serious).

Cut the content!

Carefully review the contents of your paper. Do you really need the second paragraph of your background section …well… who needs a background section at all? This will probably reduce the chance to get an “accept”, but after all, your chances will be better than in the Journal of Universal rejection. At least you can maintain your dream to come to Münster until decision letters in February 2015. And still, by then – come to Münster and have a drink during the various social events while your fellow colleagues still practice their talk!

Cut the method!

No research is perfect, so isn’t yours. Explain in the method section, why it was impossible for you to finish the paper properly, pointing out why you nevertheless ultimately deserve the travel to Münster. Afterwards, you may share your approach as overly honest method.

Cut the sleep!

The Internet is full of advice how to stay awake. Drink water, add a little coffein, eat well, avoid distraction, and hire somebody that constantly wakes you up. In the end, the easiest way to stay awake is NOT TO SLEEP! For ECIS 2016, you may recapitulate your findings in an action research paper.

Please share your advices or experiences on twitter with #ECIS2015 and #deadlineApproaching. And now, Go! Write, write, write, eat, drink, write, write, write, drink, write, write, eat, sleep, write!

About the author: Sebastian Köffer

Sebastian Köffer

Sebastian works as a research assistant at the European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS). Currently, he is in "writing mode" to get his paper ready for ECIS 2015. His Twitter account is @koeffi.


If you would like to know more about the author, check out the author's website.

ECIS 2015 and the resigned Pope Benedict XVI

Fri, 2014-10-24 13:53

As the ECIS is not a theological conference you may wonder what the title of this blog entry is all about. Well, if you are going to listen to the welcome speeches or one of the keynotes of the ECIS 2015, you will sit in the lecture hall where Joseph Ratzinger, later known as Pope Benedict XVI, hold his inaugural lecture as professor at the University of Münster in 1963. It was Friday the 28th of June in the Fürstenberghaus (the ECIS 2015 venue) and Joseph Ratzinger had been appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the Faculty of Roman Catholic Theology in Münster. The lecture hall 1 was extremely crowded because everyone was curious and wanted to listen to this young and modern theologian.  And one last anecdote about the resigned pope: he also liked to eat at the Café Himmelreich, which is described in our treasures of the week section.

Inaugural lecture of Joseph Ratzinger in the Fürstenberghaus, lecture hall 1, in 1963 (source: Westfälische Nachrichten)

About the author: Katrin Bergener

Katrin Bergener

Katrin is Postdoc at the Chair of Information Systems and Information Management at the University of Münster. Her research interests include innovation and creativity management as well as creativity and virtual team support. She is also very creative in organising her research, her teaching, her two kids, and ECIS 2015.

If you would like to know more about the author, check out the author's website.

Welcome to the ECIS 2015 Blog!

Fri, 2014-10-17 14:08

You may think that conference websites are rather functional and dull. You may think that there are already too many academic blogs online. You may even think that coming to Münster is not worth the effort considering your shortage of time and numerous other beautiful places around the world. Despite what you may think, it is now half a year until ECIS 2015 in Münster opens its gates. And yes, we are so excited about this that we feel a need to share it with everybody! If we manage to change your mind in any of the above-mentioned thoughts, our mission will be accomplished! Today we introduce two new areas on our website that will hopefully express our excitement in words and pictures: This blog and the “Treasure of the Week” (ToW).

The ToW (yes, that’s the official acronym) will provide you with the insider tips you won’t find in any travel guide. We forced kindly asked our research assistants at the European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS) to share with you their favourite places in and around Münster. Their hints will be collected in the ToW section of this website from now on and until the Conference starts.

This blog will be regularly updated with new stories about ERCIS, Münster, and research in Germany and Europe. Thus, we will offer a look “behind the sc(i)en(c)es” of ECIS 2015. Blog posts will be concise, as we know that researchers have to read tons of other stuff. Moreover, we would like to invite the whole community to contribute to this blog! So if you have any relation to Münster and would like to post something to this blog, please send your thoughts to and we will be happy to publish it! We will work a bit on the layout and the functionality to add comments, but it's not gonna last as long as BER...

Together, the ToW’s and this blog will give you the opportunity to make the most out of your stay in Münster. Promise!

About the author: Armin Stein

Armin Stein

Armin is Managing Director of the European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS). His research interests include diversity of IS workforce, workflow management, conceptual modelling, and supply chain management. However, at the moment, being a member of ECIS 2015 organizing team, his main research focus lies in the areas of self-management and time-management :)

If you would like to know more about the author, check out the author's website.

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