Press release

New open access journal aspires to “transform development knowledge”

Published on 3 February 2016

The IDS Bulletin, published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), has just been re-launched as an open access journal, making it more widely available to non-academic audiences and accessible to researchers globally, including from countries such as India who cannot access journals through initiatives such as the Research4Life, which provides developing countries with free or low cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online.

Editor-in-Chief, Professor Melissa Leach said “I am incredibly excited that we are re-launching the IDS Bulletin as an open access publication. It represents just one of the ways in which IDS is making real its strategic commitment to engaged excellence across all of our work.  It has allowed us to actively link and involve, in the creation and sharing of the journal, those at the heart of the change we wish to see, be they an early career researcher in the UK, an NGO worker in Malawi or a Minister in the Indian Government.”

Formerly co-published with the world’s second largest journal publisher, Wiley Blackwell, the decision to take the publication back in-house and make it open access is part of a broader drive at IDS to improve engagement with ours and partners’ research by academic, practitioner and policy audiences.  It also coincides the launch of a new IDS Strategy, the celebration of IDS’ 50th Anniversary and the end of the contract with Wiley.

This decision is supported by a recent IDS survey results in which 74% of respondents agreed that articles in open access journals are more likely to be read by non-academics whilst 59% cited “free access” as a key factor in determining whether or not they will engage with research, over and above author reputation and whether the research had been recommended to them.

Open access Martin Eve guest speaker at London launch event, 2 Feburary

Speaking at the launch, Dr Martin Eve, an open access advocate and Senior Lecturer in Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London, said “As researchers, it’s vital that we can produce niche work that is not dependent on a market. The freedom from the need to sell is what can enable open access to academic work. However, many open access publishing models essentially shift the cost from subscribers to authors or institutions through Article Processing Charges (APC) in a way that is problematic and exclusionary for those without such funding. The fact that the IDS Bulletin does not charge APCs is a fantastic development that will assist in its noble goal of an international, co-participatory approach to knowledge.”

First Issue already clocks up over 8,000 downloads within week of being published

Fittingly, the first Issue to be published this year, focuses on Opening Governance looking at the interplay between open data, open government, accountability, citizenship and transparency.

As a result of being open access, the Issue has already clocked over 8,000 article downloads, compared to 6,972 downloads over a whole year in 2015 for last year’s most popular Issue, Towards Systemic Approaches to Evaluation and Impact (Vol 46.1).

Key features of the new journal

  • A new website with responsive design which means it can easily read on any device
  • Full-text of all articles published from January 2016 available to read online as well as to download as PDFs
  • All Issues and articles are licensed under Creative Commons licenses, from January 2016
  • A new international Editorial Board appointed as well as an Editorial Steering Group


For more information or to arrange interviews with Professor Leach, contact Emilie Wilson, IDS, on +44 (0)1273 915779, [email protected]; or out of hours, contact Hannah Corbett, IDS, +44 (0)7701286978. 

Notes for Editors

  1. The IDS Bulletin was re-launched as an open access, peer-review journal on 25 January 2016, with the official launch event taking place on 2 February at the British Library. It is published bi-monthly and is the flagship publication of the Institute of Development Studies, a leading global institution for research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.
  2. Editor-in-Chief Professor Melissa Leach was appointed as first female Director of the Institute of Development Studies in 2014. A geographer and social anthropologist, Professor Leach had previously founded and directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre from 2006 to 2014, with its pioneering pathways approach to innovation, sustainability and development issues. 
  3. Members of the IDS Bulletin Editorial Advisory Board are: Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India; Steve Commins, Lecturer in Urban Planning, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA, USA; Charles Gore, Research Associate, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, UK; Eve Gray, Programme Lead and Policy Engagement and Communications Lead, Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Elizabeth Harrison, Head of Department of International Development, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, UK; Takyiwwa Manuh, Director, Social Development Division, UNECA, Ethiopia;Robert Muggah, Research Director, Igarape Institute, Brazil and Shahrashoub Razavi, Chief of Research and Data, UN Women, USA
  4. Members of the IDS Bulletin Editorial Steering Group are: Departmental Directors John Gaventa and James Georgalakis; Research Fellows Gerry Bloom, Dominic Glover, Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, Mariz Tadros and Jean-Pierre Tranchant; Research Officer Stephen Thompson and PhD candidate Eric Kasper.
  5. A survey of IDS stakeholders was undertaken from August-September 2015 as part of a market research exercise to examine online research behaviours, engagement with the IDS Bulletin and test attitudes towards open access publishing. A summary of the survey findings is available on request 

Key contacts

Emilie Wilson

Communications and Impact Officer


+44 (0)1273 915779