CDQ’s statement on inclusivity and anti-racism for authors, readers, and reviewers

Communication Design Quarterly (CDQ) invites work by authors of all ethnicities, races, faith identifications (or lack of faith identifications), gender identifications, dis/abilities, and levels of academic and professional expertise. The editor is determined to make this publication as inclusive as possible, and if any published content harms marginalized communities, please contact the editor—Jordan Frith—directly at The editorial team wants to learn from our communities, and we are open to any feedback on potentially harmful published content of which we might be unaware. If we are alerted about such content by the community, CDQ will issue a retraction or a revision with an editorial note, and we will focus on learning from our mistakes.

Building on that point, CDQ will not feature content that includes language that harms marginalized groups except in specific cases in which that language is being directly quoted from primary sources for evidence in a broader argument. In other words, unless you are directly quoting some kind of oppressive rhetoric to build an argument, CDQ will not publish that language. Even in the case of a direct quote, the particular offensive word should be replaced with something like **** as long as readers will be able to understand the context. Harmful language may include, but is not limited to, transphobic, racist, misogynistic, ableist, xenophobic, ageist and other forms of oppressive language not listed here. Please be conscious of your word choice.

CDQ also recognizes that we need to learn from each other as a community, so if anyone has questions about language, please contact the editor. Oh, and as a small example of changes we are making after conscious reflection, we are removing the term “double blind reviews” from all our reviewing materials and our website. Our reviewing process remains exactly the same, but the commonly used term has ableist connotations, so in Fall 2022 we changed the term to “double anonymous reviews.” We mention that change here to let readers and authors know that we’re also working on these issues.

Reviewer guidelines

CDQ is also dedicated to anti-racist reviewer practices. Reviewers should not use oppressive language in their reviews, and reviewers should do their best to avoid unconscious bias in their reviews. Articles should be evaluated based on their content, and authors should not be punished just because their writing style may not fully adhere to “traditional” academic writing style, a tradition that discriminates against certain groups. In addition, reviewers should do their best to not penalize authors from other countries who might be drawing from a non-Western body of literature or research sample. In other words, a group of research participants in other countries is no less generalizable or relevant to our readership than a research sample from the classic “large midwestern University.” Additionally, we hope reviewers encourage authors to expand their literature review to include authors of color and non-Western authors if possible. In sum, reviewers should focus on avoiding bias and oppressive language, and the editor will not pass on reviews that do not meet these standards.  

CDQ’s statement on ethical research practices and data visualization for authors

Many articles in CDQ are based on examination of visuals, and we ask authors to consider the ethical implications of data visualization, including accessibility issues and the ethics of displaying data in responsible ways. We also ask that, as authors, you respect the rights, needs, and expectations of those whom you portray in your work. CDQ recognize that this statement cannot address all potential vulnerabilities, but ask that you, as readers, authors, and editors in your own right, carefully consider the implications of the visuals you use. CDQ also has a guideline for visuals on our submissions page, which includes the requirement for alt-text.

CDQ is also committed to publishing inclusive and ethical research, and we expect that research at U.S.-based institutions that involves human subjects meets Institutional Review Board or Ethics Board approval, as appropriate. If the authors did use human subjects in their research, they should include a statement within the text of the article that states their article received IRB approval (whether that approval means it was ruled exempt or went to full board review). For international authors who work within systems that do not have IRB approval, the editor will work with the authors independently to ensure their work meets adequate ethical standards.