The Journal of International Organizations Studies builds on the work of the UN Studies Association (UNSA). The UNSA is an global network of academics and practitioners dedicated to actively creating and contributing to innovative UN research, practice and policy. Founded at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Academic Council of the UN System (ACUNS) in New York City, UNSA initially aimed to foster collaboration and raise awareness about the UN system as an interdisciplinary field of study.
Research on the UN ten years ago
Back in its founding year, 2010, the UNSA stated a lack of conceptual, theoretical analysis of the UN. The focus of then existing approaches to UN study was the UN as a diplomatic forum, a provider of development aid and peacekeeping. UN researchers who were engaged in multidisciplinary research and those who aimed to conceptualize the UN by introducing political science or sociological concepts and theories would find themselves sidelined in existing academic journals where the dominant position was one of state-centricity and policy analysis. The market of academic journals concerned with international organizations back then showed a predominance of policy-oriented work and a lack of recognition of international organizations as organizations. Moreover, journals focused on international organizations in the Northern Hemisphere while other international organizations were primarily covered in area studies journals. Research, however, showed that the potential for new research approaches, cross-organizational learning and organizational perspectives existed. The UNSA found that UN researchers would be able to learn from and with researchers engaged in studying a variety of international organizations, such as the EU, ASEAN and the African Union, and vice versa.
We believed that without a forum for exchange learning about international organizations would be lost or constantly 're-invented', while established conventions of research remain unchallenged. This journal therefore aimed to open up opportunities for innovative conceptual and theoretical research on international organizations and aimed to provide a platform for dialogue within different fields of international organization research (e.g. UN Studies, EU Studies) as well as between them.
... lasting until today
In addition to fostering conceptual and theoretical research, the Journal of International Organizations Studies also sought to engage practitioners in its discussion, right from the beginning. We recognized that advancing our knowledge about international organizations relies on engaging with those who work in and shape these organizations. Through its unique approach and organizational focus, JIOS continues to aim to build strong bridges between researchers and practitioners to support a better understanding of international organizations and to help shape a strong and viable future for them.