Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The International Journal of the Commons (IJC) is an initiative of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC).

As an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed open-access journal, the IJC is dedicated to furthering the understanding of institutions for use and management of resources that are (or could be) enjoyed collectively. These resources may be part of the natural world (e.g. forests, climate systems, or the oceans) or they may emerge from social realities created by humans (e.g. the internet or (scientific) knowledge, for example of the sort that is published in open-access journals).

Using resources collectively is often believed to be problematic. In practice however, many cases can be found of common pool resources that are used in a sustainable way. The editors of the IJC welcome contributions from all scientific disciplines, from practitioners and policy makers. We hope that our interdisciplinary approach will contribute to creating a balanced and nuanced view of how common pool institutions actually emerge, develop and perform.

Publishing in the International Journal of the Commons has many advantages for scholars and practitioners.

  • The IJC has over 1,500 registered readers (note that registration is not required for accessing any website content!).
  • Currently, the readership of the International Journal of the Commons has downloaded well over 100,000 full-text versions of the articles.
  • It is not uncommon for popular articles to quickly get downloaded 1,000 times or more.
  • Access to all the articles published by the International Journal of the Commons is free for all! For authors, this means access to an important but oftentimes untapped readership – readers from the South where universities often do not have the resources to pay for expensive journal subscriptions.
  • The International Journal of the Commons counts with an editorial board that harbours the finest-of-the-finest in commons practice and scholarship.
  • The IJC puts accepted papers on-line as soon as the technical editing is done. This means that manuscripts do not lie on a shelf waiting for the formal publication date.
  • The International Journal of the Commons is strongly committed to getting itself indexed with all the important indexing organizations and abstractors.  


Section Policies


Peer Review Process

The managing editor makes an initial appraisal of each manuscript. If the topic and treatment seem potentially appropriate for the journal, the manuscript goes to review with the managing editor overseeing the review process. Once the review process has been completed, the managing editor decides on acceptance, revision, or rejection of your manuscript.

The International Journal of the Commons has a "double blind" review process: authors are not told who reviewed their paper and reviewers are not told who wrote the paper. Peer reviewers may be informed of the identity of the authors after the manuscript is either accepted or rejected. After a decision is reached, a reviewer is free to contact the authors privately about the manuscript.

 A decision on the manuscript generally may be expected within 6 months of submission; delays in obtaining reviews may prolong this process. Manuscripts are sent out for review electronically, and all correspondence takes place via e-mail. Although the peer review process is accelerated by the use of electronic communication, traditional high-quality, peer-review standards are applied to all manuscripts submitted to the International Journal of the Commons.


Publication Frequency

The International Journal of the Commons will publish two issues per year (February/March & August/September). Issues will be identified by volume and number.


Support our journal

How can you support the International Journal of the Commons?

  • Register as a reader via the home page of the journal, fill in all your personal details. At some point we might contact you to contribute as a reviewer.
  • Announce the journal and distribute the URL to your colleagues and students. Encourage them to register as a reader, so that we can send them updates on new issues.
  • Get in touch with your institute's library and ensure that the journal is known to the library's search engine.
  • If you have an interesting publication on commons coming up, submit it to the journal. Consider the journal for special issues on a commons-theme of a conference you're involved in.
  • Contribute to the journal financially. The journal is for a very large part dependent on the voluntary work of a large number of people. But some jobs simply require funding. If you are willing to contribute financially, please get in touch with Frank van Laerhoven (f.s.j.vanlaerhoven@uu.nl) for more details.
  • Become a member of the IASC. Go to https://membership.iasc-commons.org/ for more information.


About the IASC

IASC is an association devoted to understanding and improving institutions for the management of environmental resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively. Many will refer to such resources and their systems of usage as "commons". Research on the commons is relevant to both teaching and policy discussions of resource governance and ought to be easily available to students, practitioners, and professionals around the world, particularly in developing countries. IASC provides a platform for researchers and practitioners in developing and industrialized countries to come together, across disciplinary lines, and share knowledge of how common used and enjoyed resource are managed. Most of the research reported at our conferences concerns natural resources. Currently, this research is scattered among 10-15 journals, all of which are costly to get. However, a majority of our members come from academic institutions in developing countries. Such institutions often have fewer resources devoted to journal subscriptions and fewer resources available to pay for printing of journal papers. Papers published on commons issues need to be in the public domain, freely available to all, and in addition, scholars should not be charged any author fee to cover costs of publishing. Therefore IASC wants to publish a journal presenting the best of the research on commons in an open access environment.


Special Feature proposals

The International Journal of the Commons welcomes proposals for special features that address the aims and objectives of the journal. The person(s) submitting a proposal for a special feature will act as guest-editor(s) of that particular section of the journal. However, it is journal policy to have a member of the editorial team occupy a supervisory role in the process of developing special features. 

The International Journal of the Commons is an open-access journal. This means that in order to cover its operational costs, the journal is obliged to charge a per-page fee from the authors. Once the special issue gets published, the guest editors of that issue will pay the International Journal of the Commons the sum of €2,000.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please contact Frank van Laerhoven, at f.s.j.vanlaerhoven@uu.nl for further details.


Book Review proposals

The International Journal of the Commons welcomes proposals for book reviews. In case you are the author of a book that is in line with the aims and objectives of the journal, or if you otherwise know of a book publication that deals with the topic of our shared interest, and that merits the attention of our readership, please do not hesitate to contact our book review editor, John Powell at jpowell@glos.ac.uk. Please keep in mind, that for the book review section we are interested in titles that are forthcoming, or that have been recently published.


Information for authors

Interested in submitting to the International Journal of the Commons? We recommend that you review the About the Journal page for the journal's section policies, as well as the Author Guidelines. Authors need to register with the journal prior to submitting. If you are already registered, you can simply log in and begin the 5-step process. Take into account a turnaround time of approximately 6 months for the full processing of your submission. If accepted the authors will be charged a page fee of €10 per page (IASC-members) and €15 per page (non-IASC-members). Researchers with insufficient funding can ask for exemption by mailing the editors.



Journal metrics 2013

Impact Factor: 1.538
Immediacy Index: 0.400
SCImago Journal Rankings (SJR): 0.677
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP): 1.382
ISI Journal Citation Reports Ranking (2013 edition): 38/96 (SSCI category Environmental Studies) - available with the October 2014 update of the JCR
Google Scholar H5 index: 14

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