The Journal of International Organizations Studies builds on the work of the UN Studies Association (UNSA). This working group is an emerging international community of academics and practitioners dedicated to actively creating and contributing to the next generation of UN Studies. Founded at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Academic Council of the UN System (ACUNS) in New York City, UNSA aims to foster collaboration and raise awareness about this interdisciplinary field of study.
The working group found that there is a lack of conceptual, theoretical analysis of the UN. The focus of existing approaches to UN study is the UN as a diplomatic forum, a provider of development aid and peacekeeping. UN researchers who are engaged in multidisciplinary research and those who aim 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 is one of state-centricity and policy analysis. Indeed, the market of academic journals concerned with international organizations shows a predominance of policy-oriented work and a lack of recognition of international organizations as organizations. Moreover, existing journals focus on international organizations in the Northern Hemisphere while other international organizations are primarily covered in area studies journals. Recent research, however, shows that the potential for new research approaches, cross-organizational learning and organizational perspectives exists. The working group 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 believe that without a forum for exchange learning about international organizations is lost or constantly 're-invented', while established conventions of research remain unchallenged. This journal therefore aims to open up opportunities for innovative conceptual and theoretical research on international organizations and aims to provide a platform for dialogue within different fields of international organization research (e.g. UN Studies, EU Studies) as well as between them.
In addition to fostering conceptual and theoretical research, the Journal of International Organizations Studies also seeks to engage practitioners in its discussion. We recognize that advancing our knowledge about international organizations relies on engaging with those who work in and shape these organizations. Through its approach and organizational focus, JIOS aims 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.