Letter from the Editor

It is my pleasure to introduce the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, a joint publication of Oxford University Press and the International Studies Association. The Encyclopedia is designed to provide scholars and students of international studies with an analytical overview of the scholarship within this ever-expanding, interdisciplinary field. The articles provide thorough examinations of topics within international studies, exploring the scope of inquiry; the current and prior theoretical, methodological, and empirical debates; and the evolution of scholarship.

Year by year, the robust production of international studies scholarship in the form of books, journal articles, and other media continues. Among them are many significant works, and our understanding of relations among states and non-state actors, of transnational processes, of events of global importance, of global conditions, and of the other myriad research questions and puzzles we study continues to grow. Pragmatically, however, this proliferation of scholarship, as excellent as it may be, poses a high bar to entry for students and new scholars as well as to established scholars seeking to explore a new topic. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies is designed specifically for anyone initiating research in international studies, as it provides rigorous, peer-reviewed articles that function as keys to this diverse and extensive body of scholarship.

This new, innovative project builds on the success of the International Studies Association’s previous reference project: The International Studies Encyclopedia (2009) and its subsequent online iteration, the International Studies Association Compendium Project. A digital version of that publication is now available online on Oxford University Press’s Oxford Reference site. This earlier project was begun in 2006, when the ISA decided to create a collection of substantive, scholarly literature reviews as a way to manage the complex scholarly landscape of international studies.

Since that time, the complexity and volume of scholarship has continued to increase. We see this not only in the number of works that have been published but also in the increase in formal sections within the International Studies Association, which provides a rough approximation of different research streams within the field as a whole. In 2010 there were twenty sections, a number that at the time seemed large. By 2017, when this Research Encyclopedia was launched, the number of sections had risen to thirty, ranging from International Security Studies, a longstanding subfield of international studies research, to Science, Technology, and Art in International Relations, a rather untraditional one. Each of these subfields, as well as emerging subfields that have not (yet) become institutionalized as ISA sections, has a body of scholarly literature that is interdisciplinary in scope.

Given this vast scholarly landscape, the demand for high quality assessments of international studies scholarship has never been higher. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies promises to satisfy that demand. The ORE contains new, rigorously vetted, scholarly articles by experts in their fields as well as classic and recently updated essays from The International Studies Encyclopedia. As a “born digital” publication, the ORE benefits from the web’s flexibility of formats, the ability to publish in a timely fashion, and the discoverability of content using advanced search tools.

I invite you—students, scholars, independent researchers, and professionals—to visit and revisit the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies as your first stop in all your new research endeavors.

Renée Marlin-Bennett
Johns Hopkins University
Editor in Chief