IDS and Open Access

How we are Supporting Open Access to Research

At IDS we are committed to making knowledge available, accessible and relevant to those who can use it to bring about positive change. Open Access to research provides an exciting and challenging opportunity to support our vision of research knowledge driving positive social and economic development.

What is Open Access and how is IDS responding to it?

Open Access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. To support Open Access to research we have brught our flagship journal, the IDS Bulletin back in house and made all content freely downloadable and published under a creative commons licence. Another key commitment is the continuing expansion and improvement of our Open Access digital repository.

IDS will continue to bring the views of developing country researchers, librarians, university administrators, knowledge intermediaries and policymakers to the forefront of the debate on Open Access. We will continue work around the broader aspects of access including supporting capacity development of knowledge intermediaries, information literacy training, and integrating research uptake activities into research projects.

Our publications strategy

The majority of IDS publications are freely downloadable – research reports, working papers, policy briefs, and other outputs. All this material is now made available through the IDS digital repository, OpenDocs. This Open Access repository not only includes work from the IDS Research Community (by IDS Fellows and partner research centres and consortia) but also the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS) Digital Library (2,000 publications digitised from BLDS holdings on behalf of research institutes in developing countries). We are also making efforts to move as much of our material onto a Creative Commons licence as possible.

OpenDocs offers a powerful platform for making research available to all free of charge and further technical development is underway, as well as provision of specialist advice for authors, promotion of the resource, and monitoring uptake of publications included within it. Crucially, IDS is uploading its entire collection of series titles dating back from 1966 onto the repository plus a great deal of other academic material previously not available digitally.

IDS Open Knowledge and Digital Services

IDS is committed to the Open agenda. As well as developing IDS services such as Eldis, BRIDGE and the BLDS Digital Library as free to access resources, we have also worked in partnership to develop the Open Knowledge Hub.

In breaking down technological barriers we aim to increase the availability of research evidence and present diverse perspectives on development issues. The Open Knowledge and Digital Services Unit is a multi-disciplinary team who work across the Institute to shape and deliver web services, tools and related multimedia content. We also support other intermediaries to increase the accessibility of research evidence by repackaging it into content appropriate for the particular context and target audience where it will be used. Our work is underpinned by our global partnerships and commitment to build our collective capacity to embrace new technological approaches, innovate and adopt open approaches to knowledge sharing.

The IDS Open API provides easy programmatic access to tens of thousands of thematically organised research documents that are freely available online. It delivers the technical software to knowledge intermediaries to translate and contextualise content co-produced by IDS and its partners for the use of their own audiences.

Journals, books and multimedia

Journal articles from IDS may occasionally be available as Open Access, dependent on the author's contract with their journal publisher and the funding available.

IDS’ institutional Open Access Policy, launched in October 2015, advocates the use of gold Open Access publishing for IDS members where possible. Where the gold route is not feasible IDS supports deposit of works into institutional repositories under green Open Access.

This Policy covers publication in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters, conference proceedings, grey literature and other media such as photographs, video and audio material, and website content. It emphasises that Creative Commons licences are encouraged and should be applied after due consideration for the specific piece to which they attach.

The IDS Bulletin

Since 1968 the IDS Bulletin has been an integral part of IDS’ research uptake and engagement strategy, covering the major themes and influencing debates within international development. Each thematic issue is edited by IDS Research Fellow(s), drawing on contributions from within IDS and its global network of partners and collaborators.

Previously published through Wiley-Blackwell, the IDS Bulletin has been brought in house. From January 2016, it is now an Open Access journal where it will be published under a Creative Commons licence, meaning all content will be freely downloadable.

This new Open Access IDS Bulletin is 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. Issue Editors have been drawn from across the IDS community, including partners in the global south, and a small in-house production team who provide a high quality publication available digitally for free.

We welcome feedback on our approach to Open Access

IDS would welcome feedback on our approach to Open Access publishing. We are actively seeking ways to both engage with this crucial debate and share experiences and learning as we move forwards.

Email your feedback to Alison Norwood (