Thematic Collections


A Thematic Collection is a collection of articles around a particular theme that will  appear in the journal typically within a particular calendar year. There is a deadline for submissions in order for accepted articles to appear within the collection. Submissions are reviewed in the usual way with 2-3 designated guest editors managing the reviews of the entire collection. Accepted articles go through production as usual (one at a time, so there is no delay), but they are ‘tagged’ as belonging to that thematic collection. When published online, articles appear in the regular order but are also identified as belonging to the thematic collection and there is a separate listing for that collection (a virtual special issue).

Solicitation and Publication Process

  1. An interesting theme area is identified. In the Design Society, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) can help guide this effort. Solicitations for themes are issued by the EICs and can be considered at any time. Where possible, editorial board meetings can also provide the opportunity to solicit ideas.
  2. Individuals who can serve as Guest Editors (GEs) are identified. At least one GE would likely be a current Associate Editor and the others would be researchers who can achieve leadership recognition by coordinating such a collection and/or leverage their existing stature and network for attracting papers.
  3. A collection is approved by the EICs (see below).
  4. A general call for articles is issued with a reasonably tight deadline to focus efforts. CUP creates a marketing page online announcing the Thematic Collection, with a banner on the journal homepage to promote it (see, e.g., These pages will typically list the people who have agreed to contribute with a two-fold effect: (a) Committed contributors are further encouraged to follow through; (b) other potential authors are encouraged to join in when they see the list of people who are contributing. CUP will also create appropriate accounts for the GEs, and add a custom question to the submission process, so that authors can select the Thematic Collection they are submitting to.
  5. Marketing materials are sent to CUP: (A) Copy of call for articles, (b) details of GEs and confirmed authors, (c) a suitable image for the thematic collection, to be used on webpages and potentially in promotional materials, and (d) intended title for Thematic Collection (potentially in two forms: full title to appear online when articles are published and, where full title is long, a shorter version to appear on the submission page).
  6. Manuscripts are submitted as usual but marked as contributions to the thematic collection. The EIC assigns each manuscript to one of the guest editors. The review process is completed as usual with tight adherence to deadlines.
  7. Accepted articles go through production (one at a time, so there is no delay) and they are ‘tagged’ as belonging to that thematic collection. When published online they appear in the regular order, but they are also identified as belonging to a thematic collection and there is a separate listing for that collection. In some cases, CUP and the DS may produce marketing materials specifically for a thematic collection to present at relevant conferences and other venues.

Collection Proposal and Approval Process

The process for proposing a collection is as follows.

  1. Preliminary proposal – Any researcher can submit the proposal to the DSJ EICs, with the expectation that one guest editor will be a member of the DSJ editorial board (primarily for familiarity with the journal’s scope and operation):
    1. Provide title, draft of call for articles, and timeline (dates for submission deadline and for completion of publications)
    2. List proposed Guest Editors
    3. List 3-5 “anchor” papers of authors that have committed, or will be asked to commit, contributions. These will go either to the final call or the special CUP website.
    4. Submit the above to the EICs. Expect an answer within a very short time.
  2. Final Proposal – Once EICs approve the proposal:
    1. Finalize the above after guest editors and anchor authors have been confirmed.
    2. Include suitable image and short title for marketing and ScholarOne identification.