Design Science Journal Thematic Collection:

Designing a better world for all: diversity, equity and inclusion

Submission deadlines
Abstracts: 31 March 2024
Full Papers: 15 October 2024


Papers received after the deadline will still be considered, but they may not be part of the collection, depending on the completion time for their review. Please note that this Thematic Collection will follow a two-step process, see further below.



The Design Science Journal Thematic Collection on Designing a Better World for all: diversity, equity and inclusion aims to provide insight into and stimulate discussion on how diversity is taken into account in the design of artefacts, the impact on equity and inclusion, the possible causes and the courses of action to be taken in design research, education and practice to create solutions that address the identified issues and will make this world a better place for everyone, now and in the future.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been prominent issues for some time, leading to awareness-raising campaigns, measures and legislation. Public and private organizations and governments increasingly include DEI statements in their mission statements and create DEI offices to ensure a healthy work environment. In this context, diversity in product development teams has received a fair amount of interest. However, the issue of how to create products that take into account the different dimensions of diversity and contribute to equity and inclusion has been under-addressed. Where products do consider diversity, for example, to capture a certain market segment, a lack of awareness often results in the confirmation of stereotypes.

Two notable exceptions are age and physical ability. These dimensions are relatively well researched, awareness in society exists, and design guidelines and methods are available (e.g., inclusive design, design for all). Although further research is necessary, products have improved with respect to these dimensions and for some products, regulations have been put in place. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the many other diversity dimensions. These have been given limited attention in design and have resulted in the marginalization of people and large negative impacts on their work and life. Many of those dimensions, such as race and gender, have been extensively investigated in other disciplines but far less, if at all, in design science.

Design has an enormous potential to make this world a better place for all: personally, socially, environmentally, and even politically, but only if it addresses diversity, equity and inclusion. This thematic collection aims to contribute to raising awareness and provide recommendations for research, education and practice to turn this potential into a reality.


Type of paper

We aim for papers that provide extensive systematic reviews or new fundamental research of one or more of the diversity dimensions (see list below) and, where applicable, the links of one dimension with other dimensions (intersectionality). Papers will be classified as review papers or research papers.

Each paper should:

  • review history and state-of-the-art of the chosen dimension,
  • identify issues and gaps,
  • describe the conducted research, as applicable
  • and provide recommendations for design research, education and practice, again as applicable.

We strongly encourage papers to be written by a team of authors from different institutions.

TC Topics: diversity dimensions impacted by our designing

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation, gender identity
  • Socio-economic class, social class, parental status, occupation
  • Cultural, religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Physical ability, physical diversity
  • Mental ability, cognitive ability, neurodiversity
  • Human factors (extreme users, left/right-handed)
  • Digital literacy
  • …… Any other diversity dimension that is impacted by our designing, e.g., language.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This Thematic Collection (TC) will follow a two-step process:

1)  Authors must first submit an extended abstract of the proposed paper. The TC editorial board will review the abstracts and inform the authors if they should proceed with a full paper (or suggest authors to join forces).

Abstract submission:

  • Abstract: 1000-2000 words outlining the paper, introducing the team and naming the corresponding author, and the diversity dimension(s) the paper is targeting
  • File name: must adhere to the following convention: TC-DEI-_- e.g., "TC-DEI-Williams_Jane-Gender_Bias_in_Design“
  • Submission: must be sent to, cc:
  • Email Subject line: “Design Science TC DEI Abstract Submission”
  • Deadline: 31 March 2024.

2)  Full papers of accepted abstracts must be then submitted to the DSJ site as usual for a full review. Accepted abstracts do not imply acceptance of the final paper. Deadline 15 October 2024


Guest Editors

Lucienne Blessing -
Maria Yang -
Tahira Reid Smith –
Victor Hugo Ayerdi Bardales -

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