IDS Bulletin to go open access in 2016

14 July 2014

IDS is pleased to announce that its journal, the IDS Bulletin, is to be re-launched in 2016 as a gold open access publication.

Open access Bulletin

The IDS flagship journal is currently published in partnership with Wiley Blackwell, but with the expiry of the current agreement at the end of 2015, IDS has decided to bring the Bulletin back in-house and make all content freely downloadable and published under a Creative Commons licence.

The entire back catalogue, going back almost half a century, will also be digitised and shared without restriction. The re-launch is planned to coincide with IDS’ fiftieth anniversary celebrations. 

Since 1968 the IDS Bulletin has been an integral part of IDS’ research dissemination strategy, covering the major themes and influencing debates within international development. However, for the first time in its history, from 2016 there will be no paywall, no embargos and few licencing restrictions to obstruct researchers, students, policy actors and activists from using the Bulletin to support their work.

This new open access IDS Bulletin will be supported by robust editorial and peer review processes with an editorial steering group made up of IDS research fellows from its key research areas, plus an advisory body to provide oversight. Academic editors of issues will be drawn from across the IDS community, including partners in the global south, and a small in-house production team will provide a high quality publication available digitally for free.

The decision to scrap the subscription model and end the partnership with a commercial academic publisher has been driven by the need to comply with the increasingly strict open access mandates of research funders such as the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

IDS is in the process of developing an open access to research strategy and last autumn announced plans to make available on its digital repository – OpenDocs – over 2,000 research reports, papers and other research outputs. 

Due to the unique characteristics of the IDS Bulletin, with its six annual thematic issues of around ten articles each, often driven by specific research programmes or projects; its focus on immediate, cutting-edge research and policy debates, and its existing in-house production team, the decision was made to bring the publication back fully under the our control and publish as a gold open access digital journal.

Melissa Leach, Director of IDS said:

‘I am delighted to announce that by 2016 every scholar, student, journalist, policy maker, NGO practitioner and librarian from Oxford to Freetown will be able to access the IDS Bulletin completely free and with minimal restrictions on the reuse of the content.

'At IDS we are committed to making knowledge available, accessible and relevant to all those who can use it to bring about positive change. The IDS Bulletin, with its distinctive emphasis on up-to-the-minute, policy-relevant themes and debates has long been a crucial part of these efforts. Its ongoing evolution is in part thanks to Wiley Blackwell themselves who have over the last six years helped build its credibility and reach. However, the expiry of our current publishing agreement at the end of 2015 marked an opportunity to take the journal into the next exciting phase of its development. I hope this announcement will send out a clear signal to the whole development research sector just how seriously we are taking the open access movement and how committed IDS is to ensuring the knowledge and evidence we and our partners generate is available to all.’

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