Dr Jonathan Foster

BA, MSc (Brunel), M.Ed. (Sheffield), PhD (Sheffield)

Information School

Senior Lecturer in Information Management

Jonathan Foster
Profile picture of Jonathan Foster
+44 114 222 2665

Full contact details

Dr Jonathan Foster
Information School
Room C228
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

My principal teaching and research interests are in information governance and ethics. I have higher degrees in Information Systems and in Education (M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning from the University of Sheffield), and received a PhD in Information Studies (Social Sciences) from the University of Sheffield. I have been Principal Investigator for projects externally-funded by the AHRC (digital archives), EPSRC (accountability and ethics in digital ecosystems), and the Wellcome Trust (data sharing and public health). 

I have also led a number of internally-funded learning and teaching development projects including Unlocking Value: From Marketplace to Marketspace (funded by the University of Sheffield/HEIF) and Managing Innovation in the Digital Economy (funded by University of Sheffield/White Rose Centre for Enterprise). In 2018 I was awarded a University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching for my work on Deliberation Days. 

I am currently Principal Investigator for Understanding Fairness in Data-Driven Artificial Intelligence for Mental Health (AHRC), and Co-Investigator for Eliciting Cybersecurity Narratives: Bricoleur Story Completion, Decision-Making and Security Design (ESRC).

University responsibilities

I am currently head of the Information Knowledge and Innovation Management (IKIM) Research Group within the Information School.

I have also previously acted as Programme Coordinator for the MSc in Information Management, Research Ethics Administrator, UG Examinations Officer; and Sub-Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield.

Research interests

My principal research interests are in information/data governance and ethics, data sharing, and the digital economy. I welcome PhD proposals from prospective applicants in these areas.

I have published more than 50 research outputs, including sole-authored papers in leading journals in information science and information management (e.g. Journal of Documentation, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology,  Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Journal of Information Science, Education for Information, and the British Journal of Educational Technology), and two edited books on Collaborative Information Behavior, and Consumer Information Systems and Relationship Management.

I am head of the Information, Knowledge and Innovation Management research group.


Edited books

  • Foster J, Lin A & Scifleet P (Eds.) (2013) Consumer Information Systems and Relationship Management: Design, Implementation and Use. Hershey (PA): IGI Global. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Walsh D, Clough P, Hall M, Hopfgartner F, Foster J & Kontonatsios G (2019) Analysis of transaction logs from National Museums Liverpool. TPDL 2019 Proceedings : Digital Libraries for Open Knowledge (pp 84-98). Oslo, Norway, 9 September 2019 - 12 September 2019. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ, Lin A & Cornford A (2018) Implementing and sustaining infrastructures: a question of when not what. Proceedings of UKAIS 2003, 9 April 2003 - 11 April 2003. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Yu H & Foster J (2017) Towards Information Governance of Data Value Chains: Balancing the Value and Risks of Data Within a Financial Services Company. Knowledge Management in Organizations (KMO 2017), Vol. 731 (pp 336-346), 21 August 2017 - 24 August 2017. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Walsh D, Hall M, Clough P & Foster J (2017) The Ghost in the Museum Website: Investigating the General Public’s Interactions with Museum Websites (pp 434-445) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Barton R & Foster J (2016) Is a Virtual Learning Environment a One-Size-Fits-All Solution? A Survey of Cognitive Styles Within a University Student Population (pp 301-308) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Walsh D, Clough P & Foster J (2016) User categories for digital cultural heritage. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol. 1611 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ (2015) Implementing e-Learning in a Vietnamese University: A Configurational Approach. iConference 2015. Newport Beach, California, 24 March 2015 - 27 March 2015. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lin A & Foster J (2011) Understanding knowledge transfer for social enterprise: some preliminary findings.. iConference (pp 708-709) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ (2007) Understanding collaboration in learning-related information seeking: a dialogic approach. Proceedings of the 2nd International Network-Based Education 2007 Conference: The Power of Media in Education (pp 61-73) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ & Lin A (2003) Making a case for collaborative business planning: educating information management and systems graduates for the knowledge-based economy. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Electronic Business, 10 December 2003 - 13 December 2003. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster J (2001) Towards a democratic education for e-government - A study of deliberative decision-making via information and communications technology. Towards the E-Society E-Commerce, E-Business, and E-Government, Vol. 74 (pp 671-682) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ, Bowskill N, Lally V & McConnell D (2000) Negotiating practice: an analysis of an institutional dialogue about networked learning. Networked Learning 2000: innovative approaches to lifelong learning and higher education through the internet: Proceedings of the second international conference jointly organised by Lancaster University and the University of Sheffield (pp 98-105) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bowskill N, Foster J, Lally V & McConnell D (2000) Networked professional development: Issues for recipients and providers. Networked Learning 2000: innovative approaches to lifelong learning and higher education through the internet: Proceedings of the second international conference jointly organised by Lancaster University and the University of Sheffield (pp 49-56) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster J (1999) On the interpretative authority of information systems. Exploring the Contexts of Information Behaviour (pp 506-518) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Black S, Foster J & Gore J () Ethical Considerations in Data Governance Theory: Qualitative Explorations of Job Advertisements. Reimagining Business and Management as a Force for Good. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Al-Wahshi J, Foster J & Abbott P () An Investigation into the Role of Data Governance in Improving Data Quality: A Case Study of the Omani Banking Sector. ECIS 2022 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster J () Deliberation Day: An I-School Educational Project. iConference 2016 Proceedings RIS download Bibtex download
  • Walsh D, Clough P, Hall M, Hofgartner F & Foster J () Clustering and Classifying Users from the National Museums Liverpool Website. TPDL 2021, 25th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, Vol. LNCS 12866 (pp 1-13). Virtual conference, 13 September 2021 - 17 September 2021. RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

  • Foster JJ Governance of information is becoming vital. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ From Amazon to iTunes, digital economy is the way forward. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Foster J, Al Wahshi J & Abbott P (2021) An investigation into the role of information governance in mitigating the risks of money laundering: A case study of the Omani banking sector. iConference 2021. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster J & Lin A (2011) Discourse 2.0 and the New Reputation Economy. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT) 2011. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Liu L The Role of e-Commerce in the Economic Empowerment of Women in China. iConference 2016: Partnership with Society. RIS download Bibtex download

Theses / Dissertations

  • Foster JJ Structuring Information Tasks: An Analysis of the Discourse Context Collaborative Information Seeking. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster JJ Deliberating for democracy: An Educational Inquiry into the Public Sphere. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Foster J & Lin A () Contextualising data work in healthcare: A preliminary analysis of the Care.data project. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Foster J, Price D, Benford S & Giannachi G () Navigating beyond text: On conversation and visualisation in the development of a digital archive. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Current PhD students

  • Hooria Ali Hafedh: Knowledge transfer from the perspective of a “Quadruple Helix”:  The banking sector in Bahrain
  • Jihad Al Wahshi: Data Analysis for Business Intelligence: A Critical Evaluation of the role of Business Intelligence and Data Analysis in Money Laundering and Fraud Detections in Oman Banking Industry
  • Elijah Chirwa: An Examination on the impact of digital disruptive innovations on central banks and formulating a strategy for the digital age
  • Meichengzi Du: Understanding Citizens Acceptance of Smart Transportation Applications in Shenzhen, China: A Mixed Methods Study
  • Ofulue Nchemko: Understanding Motivation and its Impacts on Governance within Crowdsourcing Platforms
  • David Walsh: Supporting information access in digital cultural heritage

Completed PhD students

  • Tuan Dang: E-learning Implementation in Vietnamese Universities.
  • Hasan Hashim: Developing Infrastructure for E-Government to Business Services: A Case Study of the e-Umrah System in Saudi Arabia.
  • Nabhan Al Harrasi: Understanding Omani Academic Library Collaboration: A Soft Systems Approach.

Research Projects

The Elicitation of Cybersecurity Narratives: Bricoleur Story Completion, Decision-Making and Security Design

ESRC Co-investigator £196,000 (Sheffield: £116,127) 1 May 2022 12 months

Understanding Fairness in Data-Driven Artificial Intelligence for Mental Health 

AHRC Principal Investigator £81,205 1 February 2022 12 months

Accountability and Ethics in a Digital Ecosystem

EPSRC SPRITE+ Principal Investigator £49,683 1 April 2020 24 months

Tools for Life: Data Sharing and Public Health

Wellcome Trust Principal Investigator £97,799 1 October 2019 20 months

Data Diplomacy: Political and Social Dimensions of Data Collection and Sharing

Worldwide Universities Network Investigator £35,712 1 January 2015 12 months

Data Diplomacy is an emerging construct that integrates concepts from data science, technology, and computing, with social science, international relations, and diplomatic negotiation; and in some cases offers a new diplomatic tool that facilitates global relationships. Equally, questions surrounding burgeoning data creation and data sharing provide areas of tension in this new space e.g. issues related to privacy, security, free expression, and regulation as well as variances particular to national and international contexts. The project brings together stakeholders representing global, bilateral, and institutional interests and will engage the broad concept data diplomacy and explore this in a number of topic areas e.g. agency, privacy, ownership and freedom of information.

Collective Intelligence

University of Sheffield Investigator £11,209 1 September 2013 12 months

Riders Have Spoken: Designing and Evaluating an Archive for Interactive Performances

Arts and Humanities Research Council Principal Investigator £97,000 7 December 2009 9 months

New Research Processes and Business Models for the Creative Industries

EPSRC Co-Principal Investigator £210,000 1 April 2008 12 months
Teaching interests

I have made a sustained contribution to curriculum innovation for our information management and information systems students; having created new elective module in Information Governance (topics explore decision-making, management, and governance of information and data in organizational and networked contexts) and in Digital Economy (internally funded by the University of Sheffield).

I led a PGT curriculum review group (2012-13) aimed at enhancing the Information School’s MSc Information Management programme, an initial outcome of which was the decision to make Information Governance core to our curriculum, since it reflects the problems and issues of how to govern information and data in a digitally networked age.

My teaching is research-led and is concentrated on the areas of information governance, and the digital economy.