Juhani Iivari’s rich discussion essay about information systems as a design science serves the goal of triggering a debate about research on information systems (IS). The essay is a reflective piece, and the historic approach to IS research taken by Iivari succeeds in opening up for a discussion about several fundamental dilemmas within the informatics field, such as the tension between research and practice, between technological and social aspects, and between the process and the product of design. This kind of discussion is particularly important for the field of IS, which focuses on making changes, and it is important in relation to the changes that are happening right now with web 2.0, mobile technologies and new ways of combining physical and virtual information spaces.

In this commentary I follow up on some of Iivari’s points. The structure of my commentary is as follows: I start with being specific about what I think design in informatics is, before I move on to discuss whether it is a science. Next, I follow up some of Iivari’s main points by discussing them as basic dilemmas in design. I then discuss research on design in informatics.