The Leoni Warne Prize honours Leoni Warne’s contribution to promoting the role of women in IT in Australia. The Prize is worth $1500 and recognizes the best article published in the preceding calendar year in the broad area of women and IT. The prize is co-sponsored by the Australasian Association for Information Systems (AAIS), the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and the Australian Council of Professors and Heads of Information Systems (ACPHIS).

Eligibility – Authors

Australian academics or practitioners, working in any discipline, are invited to nominate an article that addresses any of the broad range of issues relating to the area of women in IT. The author needs to be Australian based and, in co-authored articles, one of the authors must be Australian based.

Eligibility – Papers

Authors are invited to nominate articles they have published (or have had accepted for publication) in the year prior to the award year of the prize. The article can be in any outlet; book, book chapter, conference or journal or other media. The lead author should only submit one article. Nominations can also be made on behalf of the author by another colleague, in which case the nominating party would be responsible for making the submission.

Important Dates

The submission deadline is announced annually via the AAIS mailing list (IS-Aus). These dates usually fall in October-November.

Deadline for submission: Saturday 6th November 2021

Outcome announced: at the Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS) dinner, which is usually held in early December. The winner will also be notified in writing.

Judging Panel

Each year the AAIS Executive will appoint a chair and two panel members to process the applications and make the recommendation to the AAIS Executive. The members will be three academics, at least two of whom must be from the Australasian region.

For 2021, the judging panel is composed of:

  • Professor Deborah Bunker, University of Sydney (Panel Chair)
  • TBA
  • TBA

Submissions

The prize is offered annually but will only be awarded if the panel considers that one of the nominated articles meets the selection criteria. The article must be published (or accepted) in the year prior to the year of the award.

Required Attachments

Selection is competitive, so please provide the required documents by the closing date for the application to be considered.

The nomination must include the following:

  • an electronic version of the article (published in the year prior to the year of the award)
  • a statement from the publisher relating to the paper acceptance year, if the article has not yet been published (confirming paper was accepted in the prior year to the year of the award)
  • a signed and fully completed Leonie Warne Prize application form.

Nominations are to be sent via email to the AAIS President and AAIS Secretary (please see the AAIS Executive page for details of email addresses) for distribution to the Judging Panel. All components of the nomination, as listed above, need to be submitted electronically. The files can be either Word (.doc/docx) documents or pdf files.

Selection Criteria

The panel will assess the nominated articles on the following criteria:

  • Significance of the article to academics and practitioners;
  • Exceptional contribution to an academic field relevant to the study of women and IT;
  • Potential of the article to significantly impact and/or influence the role of women in the IT industries; and
  • The quality of the writing and presentation.

Award Background

Remembering Leoni Warne

Leoni Warne’s career covered the areas of librarianship, academia and research into the human and organisational aspects of learning, knowledge mobilisation and network-centricity. From 1989 to 1998 Leoni was a lecturer at the University of Canberra in Information Systems and Information Management, whilst also pursuing her doctoral studies; her thesis title was Power and Politics in Information Systems Development: a new model of conflict and a challenge for project managers (1997). She joined Defence Science and Technology Organisation, DSTO, in August 1998, working as a Senior Research Scientist and then as a Science Team Leader. Leoni’s research was founded in Information Systems, focussing on social and human issues, and extended to include the cultural aspects of information and knowledge sharing. Her work challenged the notion that an individual’s control of information bestows organisational power and led her to identify teambuilding strategies that facilitate knowledge sharing and generation. This work was of great interest within DSTO, as it was a time when Defence, belatedly, was beginning to recognise that the transition of innovative science and technology into day-to-day practice was as much a social challenge as it is a technical one.

Leoni was deeply fascinated by and convinced of the importance of the human side of information systems, especially the impact people and organisational factors can have on the success or failure of information and knowledge management-related initiatives. She was an astute and careful observer and thinker about such matters, always emphasising the need for a more sophisticated and deeper understanding of the issues. She was, moreover, able to mobilise and drive multiple research approaches to her topics of interest, ranging for example from analytical argumentation on the relative merits of cultural or political approaches to understanding organisational data, to empirical data gathering and analysis regarding information systems failures, to simulation-based investigation of team functioning in dispersed and technologically mediated communication environments. Her research expanded the body of knowledge in the difficult areas of social learning, socio-technical systems, sensible organisation and network-centric configurations. The direction Leoni took is exemplified in the statement in the conclusion one of her papers. “The network centric paradigm is a return to recognition of the reality and value of human relationships, commitment, engagement and purpose, as the driving forces behind shared endeavour in any community”.

Leoni’s dedication to the human and social issues in Information Systems never waned and she worked relentlessly to highlight their importance, particularly in an environment dominated by ICT. The outcomes of her research showed that the issues surrounding trust and cultural differences needed to be understood and addressed in order to realise the informational benefits brought about by ICTs. In short, Leoni was a wide-ranging and versatile researcher whose career significantly added to the stock of knowledge available in the areas in which she worked. Not surprisingly her significant contribution within DSTO has been recognised by a DSTO prize for outstanding research in the area of human dimensions of military operations.

Leoni was respected in the academic world and worked to forge relationships between academic institutions and the DSTO. She held an Honorary Principal Research Fellow appointment at the University of Wollongong and was Adjunct Professor of Information Systems at the University of Canberra. She also contributed to a number of boards/committees of educational institutions and professional associations, challenging the fields of Information Systems and Knowledge Management to be more innovative and people-centric.

Leoni was a product of her times. She shrugged off her Eastern European background and, as they say, joined the revolution. For Leoni this also meant feminism and a life long concern with issues around gender politics and equity. Not surprisingly, her research interest in the human, social and cultural aspects of IS coincided with her feminism and this led her to a long term engagement and activism around the issue of Women and IT.

Those who worked closely with Leoni have described her as having a big heart, a wicked humour, strength of character, and courage in facing the challenges of life. She was empathic, and never seemed to mind being asked a favour. Leoni was also known as inspirational, as someone who would get things done, and as someone who had a unique ability to seize opportunities.

Leoni Warne died suddenly on Monday 14th June 2010. She is sadly missed.

Prior Winners

2019 – Helen Hasan and Henry Linger
The 2019 prize was awarded to Helen Hasan (University of Wollongong) and Henry Linger (Monash University) for their paper “Older Women Online: Engaged, Active and Independent.” published in the proceedings of the 2018 Australasian Conference on Information Systems.

2014 – Elena Gorbacheva, Annemieke Craig, Jenine Beekhuyzen and Jo Coldwell-Neilson
The 2014 prize was awarded to Elena Gorbacheva, Annemieke Craig, Jenine Beekhuyzen and Jo Coldwell-Neilson for their paper “ICT Interventions for Girls: Factors Influencing ICT Career Intentions” published in the Australasian Journal of Information Systems 18(3).

2013 – Madeleine Roberts and Tanya McGill
The 2013 prize was awarded to Madeleine Roberts (University of Wollongong) and Tanya McGill (Murdoch University) for their paper titled “Enabling and Encouraging Greater Diversity in ICT”.

2012 – Gail Ridley and Judy Young
The 2012 prize was awarded to Gail Ridley and Judy Young for their paper “Theoretical approaches to gender and IT: examining some Australian evidence” published in the Information Systems Journal (22: 355–373).

2011 – Catherine Lang
The inaugural Leoni Warne Prize was awarded to Dr Catherine Lang, Associate Dean (Student Engagement) at Swinburne University of Technology, for her paper titled “Happenstance and compromise: a gendered analysis of student computing degree course selection”. The panel decided to also award an honourable mention to a paper by Annemieke Craig, Julie Fisher and Linda Dawson titled Women in ICT: Guidelines for evaluating intervention programs.