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PHD-DESIGN  July 2008

PHD-DESIGN July 2008


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Design Research Journal Study -- preliminary results 2/3


Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>


Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>


Wed, 30 Jul 2008 20:55:50 +1000





text/plain (472 lines)

[2/3 continued from previous post]

Problems for Journals in Design and Design Research

At this point, we will examine some specific problems that affect design
and design research journals. The status of the world’s two leading
design journals in the ERA proposal makes the general problem clear. 

The world’s leading design journals are Design Studies from Elsevier and
Design Issues from MIT Press. Both are listed in the ISI indices.
Interviews suggest that these are the most highly respected journals in
design research. The empirical evidence of this study demonstrates that
they rank at the top among all design research journals in numbers of
times mentioned. Both are mentioned nearly twice as many times as the
third and fourth ranked journal, and four times as often as the fifth
ranked journal in the field. 

Each of these journals is two decades old. A leading scientific press
published the one. A world-renowned university press published the

The ERA proposal ranks Design Studies as a B journal and it ranks Design
Issues as a C.

The level of the leading journals in any field is significant in two
dimensions. One involves visibility and impact. The other involves
generality. An article in the largest general journal in a field will be
visible to all scholars in the field, regardless of sub-discipline or
specialization. The leading journals of an entire field therefore seek
articles with the greatest possible conceptual, methodological, or
empirical value. These articles are valuable to all researchers in the
field. That level of general important and the level of specialized
journals would generally determine the A* ranking in many fields.

The ERA ranking proposes several journals for A* rank. None of these
warrants that level. 

One is Architectural Engineering and Design Management. This journal is
two years old, from the Earthscan Institute, a twenty-year old firm.
Earthscan is a good firm, but it does not match 125 years of scientific
and scholarly publishing at Elsevier or a history dating back to the
1920s at MIT Press. 

Another proposed A* design journal is Design. No longer in print, it was
not a scholarly journal but a design magazine once published by the UK
Design Council.

The first A* journal to appear on the ERA proposal that also received a
reasonably high rank in our study is the International Journal of
Technology and Design Education. This is a respectable journal from
Springer, a well-reputed scholarly and scientific publisher.
Nevertheless, scholars in design and design research rank this journal
at 24. In our view, this is a B journal rather than an A* journal. It
ranks far below Design Studies and Design Issues.

The next A* entry is the Journal of Interior Design from Blackwell,
ranked at 35 among scholars in design and design research. Other
comparable gaps appear throughout the list.

The first journal ranked A in both our survey and the ERA proposal is
the Journal of Design Research. It is ranked A in the ERA proposal and
it has the 6th position in this survey. Another A ranking in both lists
is Co-Design, the number 8 journal on our survey.

A comparison between two hypothetical papers for the next annual meeting
of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand will clarify the

The Art Association of Australia and New Zealand is comparable to the
College Art Association in North America. Just as Australia and New
Zealand design historians present at AAANZ, so North Americans present
their work at the CAA Design Studies Forum. Both are comparable to the
specialist Design History Society in the UK.

The next AAANZ conference includes a design studies track titled “It’s
Time: Constructing Australian Design History.” 

Imagine that two authors develop journal articles from conference
papers, submitting one to the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art
and the other to the Journal of Design History.

Each of the articles will go a publication sponsored by a national
associatiThe web site of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art describes
this journal as “Australasia’s principal DEST-accredited refereed art
history journal.” It is co-published by the Institute of Modern Art in
Brisbane in association with the Art Association of Australia and New

The Journal of Design History is also published in conjunction with a
scholarly association. In this case, the publisher is Oxford University
Press and the society is the UK-based Design History Society. Now in its
21st volume, the journal editorial and advisory boards constitute a
central group of senior scholars in the worldwide field of design

In the survey of scholars in design and design research, the Journal of
Design History ranks fifth among all design research journals worldwide.
In contrast, scholars in design history do not mention the Australian
and New Zealand Journal of Art. Not even Australian professors or deans
mentioned Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art for the survey,
despite the fact that design historians present at the Art Association
of Australia and New Zealand Association.

Here, the journals diverge further. Australian and New Zealand Journal
of Art is ranked as an A journal in the proposed ERA list, clearly
reflecting the interests and influence of art historians. The Journal of
Design History is ranked as a C journal. This obviously reflects the
lack of influence by scholars in design research and design history,
despite the difference in world-wide influence and the reputation of
Oxford University Press as the world’s oldest university press in
contrast with a museum of modern art established recently.

We do not dispute the attribution of an A rank status to the Australian
and New Zealand Journal of Art as a venue for art historical studies. We
dispute a ranking proposal that designates the Journal of Design History
as a C journal in comparison.

Situations such as this make the ERA journal rank proposal a significant
problem for scholars in design and design research. Design research
scholars will always be disadvantaged by a journal ranking scale that
favors artists or architects who publish in high ranked journals
designated for their fields when the field of design research has no
comparable journals. 

Comparative Problems for the Field

Research in art and architecture frequently involves reflection and
interpretation. While some kinds of design research do this, most design
research journals require papers based on empirical research. They draw
on a rich array or research traditions, including ethnography,
ergonomics, materials science, user studies, mechanical production, or
other kinds of research common to design. 

Research in these modes will not find a home in art or architecture
journals. The design journals that welcome empirical or social research
in design are generally ranked lower than art or architecture journals. 

Art or architecture programs will high points for articles by staff
members publishing reflections or interpretive essays in journals
designated as A* and A journals for their field. In contrast, a designer
or design research scholar who does significant empirical research for
an article in Design Studies will only get credit for a B publication. 

If the leading design journals are ranked lower than journals in art or
architecture, design research will, by definition, always be worse than
art research or architecture research. A significant comparative study
to gather data for an article in the Art, Communication, and Design in
Higher Education — a C journal – will amount to less than an essay on
how to teach painting in the Australian Online Journal of Arts Education
– ranked as an A* journal. Such respected journals such as The Design
Journal or Artifact are not listed at all.

We’re not interested in debating research in art. Every research field
has a place and most have traditions different to those of other fields.
A problem arises when fields such as art dfor a far different field such as design.

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that design research has A*
journals in a top 5% and A journals in the next 15%, and to show that
these differ from journals in art or architecture. 

We seek to contradict the impression that there is no top 20% in design
research – on a proposed list that places our leading journal at B and
moves downward from that point.

This study demonstrates what a broad range of international experts
along with a general consensus of scholars in design and design research
see as the leading journals in our field. 

This is different to rankings established by scholars in fields that do
not publish in such journals as Design Studies, International Journal of
Design, Design Issues, Artifact, The Design Journal, or the other
research venues that define our field.

Appendix A

The Journals by Rank Order

Design Studies - 152
Design Issues - 146
International Journal of Design - 85
Design Journal - 84
Journal of Design History - 48


Journal of Design Research - 42
Engineering Design - 35
CoDesign - 32
Artifact - 25
Journal of Engineering Design - 25


Research in Engineering Design - 24
Design Philosophy Papers - 23
Applied Ergonomics - 21
Visible Language - 20
CAD - 16


Design Management Journal - 15
Design Research Quarterly - 14
Fashion Theory - 13
Human-Computer Interaction - 13
Interacting with Computers - 13


Print Annual - 13
Eye - 12
Information Design Journal - 12
Journal of Technology and Design Education - 12
Digital Creativity - 11


Journal of Product Innovation Management - 11
Design Management Review - 10
Visual Communication - 9
Design and Technology Education - 8
Environment and Planning - 8


Journal of Architectural Education - 8
Winterthur Portfolio - 8
AI for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing - 7
Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education - 7
Journal of Interior Design - 7


Studies in the Decorative Arts - 7
Textile - 7
Architectural Review - 6
Communication Arts - 6
Innovation - 6


International Journal of Art and Design Education - 6
Journal of Interior Design - 6
Journal of Mechanical Design - 6
The Radical Designist - 6
Grey Room - 5


Home Cultures - 5
IDEA - 5
International Journal of Product Development - 5
Journal of Design Principles and Practice - 5
Journal of Research Practice - 5


Journal of Visual Culture - 5
Metropolis - 5
October - 5
Baseline - 4
Harvard Business Review (HBR) - 4


Harvard Design Magazine - 4
Journal of Design Communication - 4
Journal of Material Culture - 4
Journal of Modern Craft - 4
Point - Art and Design Research Journal - 4


Working Papers in Art & Design - 4
AGDA Journal (Visual: Design: Scholarship) - 3
AIGA Journal of Design - 3
Computers and Human Behaviour - 3
Cybernetics and Human Knowing - 3


Design Week - 3
Domus - 3
Émigré - 3
Ergonomics in Design - 3
Graphis - 3


How - 3
International Journal of Design Computing - 3
Journal of Sustainable Design - 3
Technology and Culture - 3
Advanced Engineering Informatics - 2


Architecture Design Research - 2
Assemblage - 2
Computer Arts - 2
Design News - 2
Design Observer - 2


Design Politics - 2
Empirical Studies of the Arts - 2
Engineering Education - 2
Interactions - 2
Journal of Decorative Arts - 2


Journal of Visual Studies - 2
JSAH - 2
Landscape - 2
Modernism - 2
NextD - 2


Otto - 2
Places - 2
Scandinavian Journal of Design History - 2
The Journal of Cloth and Culture - 2


AA Files - 1
ACM Interactions - 1
AI in Engineering Knowledge-based Systems - 1
AI Magazine - 1
AIT - 1


Antiques, Art & Auction - 1
Architectural digest - 1
Architectural Record - 1
Architecture Australia - 1
artichoke - 1


Arts Culture - 1
CMYK - 1
Costume - 1
Creativity - 1
Daidalos - 1


Design Poetics - 1
Dot Dot Dot - 1
El Croquis - 1
Environmindesign - 1


International Business and Technical Communication - 1
International Journal of HCI - - 1
International Journal of Advertising - 1
Issues in Architecture Art and Design - 1
JOLA - 1


Journal of Aesthetic Education - 1
Journal of Architectural History - 1
Journal of Artists Books - 1
Journal of Computers in Science and Engineering - 1
Journal of Concurrent Engineering: Research and Applications - 1


Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts - 1
Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations - 1
Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability -
Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education - 1
Journal of Interaction Design - 1


Journal of Plurality in Design - 1
Journal of Southeast Asian Architecture - 1
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians - 1
Journal of Urban Design - 1
Journal of Visual Communication - - 1


Journal of Writing Research - 1
JSSD - 1
Landscape Architecture Australia - 1
Leonardo - 1


Man and Cybernetics - 1
md - 1
Mesh - 1
Metaphor and Symbol - 1
METU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture - 1


New Design - 1
Planning Perspectives - 1
Poloxygen - 1
Praxis - 1
RealTime - 1


Reflections - 1
Representations - 1
Research Issues in Art, Design, and Media - 1
Scan Journal of Media - 1
Service Design Journal - 1


Sleeper - 1
Technical Communication Quarterly - - 1
The Australian Journal of Media and Culture - 1
The Bulletin of Japanese Society for the Science of Design - 1
The International Journal of the Arts in Society - 1


The National Grid - 1
The World of Interiors - 1
Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science - 1
Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review - 1
Typography Papers - 1


U & IC Form - 1
Urban Design International - 1
Written Communication - 1

Total number of journals

N = 173

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