Special Issues Policy
Motto: A journal is a product; one that requires careful design, design with input from all its stakeholders.
Consider yourself invited to take part in the continuous design and improvement of this journal by providing me input, for example, by commenting on this page.
Yoram Reich, PhD
A special issue is an issue of a journal devoted to a particular topic. Such publication brings together a collection of paper that aims at reporting on the state-of-the-art of this topic to the readers’ community.
The quality of such issue depends on the quality of the papers, the way they span the subject matter, and the way the editors of the issue connects them together to make the issue coherent and integrated.
In order to collect the best available papers on a topic, the editors need to draw on multiple sources: A recent conference or workshop may serve as a basis for several submissions; a general call-for-papers could elicit submissions from a broad audience; and focused invitations could serve as another source. There need to be sufficient time available for submission from the time the general CFP is announced to allow authors to prepare new publications.
A special issue on a subject that recently appeared in another design-related journal will likely prevent offering the same subject in RED: First, we strive to be leaders and not followers; second, we assume that most quality papers have been published in the first issue.
We consider offering a variety of ways to promote particular topics:
It is my impression from reading and editing special issues in various journals that special issues tend to include papers that are of lesser quality than regular issues. This could result from a small number of submissions from which a fixed number has to be selected to fill a complete issue. Guest editors might be inclined to publish a paper that is not at a high level of standard because it is important to the subject matter but not at the same quality level. In other cases, papers for such issues are written quickly by authors to fit into the issue and therefore, given less resources to a regular paper. Given the present publication rate of 4 issues per year, RED will publish at most one special issue per year. Therefore, approving a special issue will be done with great care.
A good special issue reviews the present state of the art of the topic, providing breadth of coverage while deepening our understanding and determining future research directions. An issue could deal with long-term debates in design research in an attempt to resolve one or at least present it in a coherent view for external judgment.
An arbitrary collection of the best papers from a conference cannot justify a special issue as there is no integrating theme to the papers. Such papers should simply be sent through the regular submission process because they would not enjoy special treatment due to them being best papers.
A collection of rewritten papers from a workshop/conference on a particular topic does have an integrated theme but might not be a reflection of the best work available on the subject. While an issue could originate from such workshop, a public CFP should be announced and provide sufficient time to obtain external submissions.