I had the fun job of reviewing a proposal for a new design research journal. What? A NEW design research journal?! The publishers managed things very professionally and provided a nice form to make sure reviewers gave them exactly the information they needed.
Doing the review led me to thinking about the state of design research field. On one hand there is rooms for many more good quality specialist journals. Its a big broad field, and at present most of the journals are sort of general purpose journals , maybe with a bit of a specialist bent. The key word is 'interdisciplinary'! A good example is the Journal of Design Research. Its an an interdisciplinary journal that links strongly with social science and what used to be called multi-media. Design Studies is an interdisciplinary journal that takes the stately position relative to the rest of the field being started early on and having origins were in systematic design movement of the 1960s , engineering design and the mathematical side of architectural design. It now publishes design research of high quality in any field.
The room to expand and specialise is there. How many read the papers? Design as a discipline is somewhat notorious for the lack of reading of design practitioners. Form my experience this also true for design researchers. I've reviewed a heck of a lot of conference and journal papers, books and theses over the years. One of the delights is seeing how many of them are reporting findings or creating new ways of thinking that have already been published!
Its a challenge for everyone involved in design is that interesting and useful articles and books are spread like confetti in the wind across every academic field from zoology (yes really!) to behavioural studies and every academic field is represented in each design research journal. A second challenge is identifying the papers of good quality in reasoning and research.
Along with creating new journals, perhaps we urgently need a better way of being able to identify and access what has been, and will be, published?