The Peer Review Process

Description Time Allocated Start Date
1 Announcement of Conference Theme and Call for Abstracts   -1 year
2 Registration & Submission of abstract (Anonymous) 5 months -7 months
3 Peer Review of Abstract (2 reviewers per abstract) 2 months -5 months
4 Conference committee review of "outliers" - -5 months
5 Acceptance of Abstract - -5 months
6 Full paper Submission (Anonymous) 1 month -4 months
7 Peer Review of Abstract (1-2 reviewers per abstract) 6 weeks -10 weeks
8 Conference committee review of "outliers" - -4 weeks
9 Acceptance of Full Paper for presentation at conference - -4 weeks
10 Conference Presentation and questions - 0
11 Submission of Final Paper including Author information 3 weeks +3 weeks
12 Preparation of Conference Proceedings 5 weeks +8 weeks
13 Publication 2 weeks +10 weeks


1. Conference Theme

The theme is selected by the host institution in consultation with the DEFSA management committee. The Call for Abstracts is announced on the DEFSA website, together with sub-themes, preliminary deadlines, instructions for submission and requirements. Authors registered on the website will also receive email communication.

2. Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts are submitted on the website - email submissions are not accepted. Authors not already registered on the website are able to request an account which has their Professional and Contact information. This information is confidential but allows the Conference organisers to track the Peer Review process and maintain an audit trail of reviews despite anonymity of both authors and peer reviewers.

3 Peer Review - Abstracts

Each abstract is reviewed in a double-blind peer review process. The double-blind review process ensured that both authors and reviewers remain anonymous during the peer review process. Authors do not know who conducted their reviews, Reviewers do not know whose paper they are reviewing.

Peer Reviewers are pre-registered on the website. At the beginning of the Review period, Peer Reviewers are requested to confirm that they are available to review Abstracts and/or Papers. Peer Reviewers should be aware that the MINIMUM time required to review an abstract is 20-30 minutes.

Peer Reviewers complete their review on the website, which involves both multiple-choice selects and free-form comment assessments. Peer reviewers should be prepared to provide some detail, particularly for negative evaluations. Reviewers can provide feedback for the author, and also private feedback for the Conference Review Committee.

A list of the peer reviewers is included in the Conference Proceedings.

4 Conference Committee Review

Approximately half the Abstracts submitted are rejected, some for quality reasons, but also because the research is not appropriate to the conference theme. Papers are evaluated on academic validity, and also their adherence to the conference format, themes, sub-themes and conference focus areas.  The committee's decision is final.

5. Acceptance of Abstract

Authors will be notified by email if their Abstract has been accepted. There is no second review of abstracts that have been accepted "with modification". The modification of the abstract takes place when the full paper is submitted.

6. Full Paper Submission

Full papers must be provided in Word format. A Word template will be provided. The Full Paper must not have content that identifies the author.

Papers are attached to the previously accepted Abstract. Authors may update their abstract at this point - revisions are tracked to ensure that the paper has been modified as appropriate to any changes required during the Abstract peer review process, and to ensure that the final paper reflects the abstract. Papers that do not correspond to the key aspects of their abstract may be rejected.

7. Full Paper Peer Review

Full papers are submitted for double-blind peer review after successful acceptance of a conference abstract. Peer Reviewers complete their review on the website, which involves both multiple-choice selects and free-form comment assessments.

Peer Reviewers provide a critical assessment of the paper, and may recommend improvements. Although the author may choose not to take this advice, it is highly recommended that the author address any issues, explaining why their research process or conclusion are correct.

Notes for Peer Reviewers

Peer Reviewers should be aware that the MINIMUM time required to review a paper is at least 1 hour and significantly more time is common in order to do them justice. Peer reviewers should be prepared to provide some detail, particularly for negative evaluations.

If you are invited to review a full paper, please consider:

  1. Do you have time to do the review by the deadline?
  2. Is the article within your area of expertise?
  3. Are you sure you will complete the review by the deadline?

Peer Review of full papers is NOT about correcting grammar, spelling, poorly written references. It is about reviewing the academic validity and relevance of the paper! As a reviewer, if you find yourself correcting spelling, you are probably becoming bogged down in the detail, when you are meant to be assessing the "big picture"!

Full Papers are evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. The title, abstract and keywords must accurately reflect the paper’s contents.
  2. The research must be relevant to the conference theme/s.
  3. The research must contribute to the field of design education (i.e. teaching or learning in a creative discipline).
  4. The research methodology must be sound.
  5. The paper must be well-structured and clearly written.
  4. References must be relevant and accurate.

8 Conference Committee Review

The conference review committee makes decisions where there is a significant discrepancy between reviewer evaluations. Authors may be asked to revise their full paper where it does not correspond to their abstract, where layout or references are incorrect formatted, to correct grammar or improve on the paper quality. Where the Conference committee requires a revision, the paper will not be published without the revision or an approved explanation of the issue. Any identified plagiarism will automatically disqualify a paper

9 Acceptance of Full Paper

Authors are advised of acceptance of their full paper by email.

10 Conference Presentation

The complete peer review process must take place prior to the verbal presentation at the conference. Papers must be presented in person at the conference by the author or a co-author. Only in extreme cases and with the approval of the conference Committee, may a paper be presented by a third party. Even if a paper is accepted, if the person is unable to present on the day, the paper will not be included in the Conference Proceedings. Please ensure that you are available for the conference on the dates specified.

11. Revision of Full Papers

Details of all Authors must be included on the final, approved paper that is published in the Conference Proceedings.

12. Preparation of Conference Proceedings

This is a lengthy task, and must be completed accurately to ensure that we retain our status as an accredited Academic Publication. As this often takes place in conjunction with year-end, please be patient.

13. Publication

The full conference proceedings are published on the website, together with each individual paper with Abstract and Author information.

DEFSA conferences

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