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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.

Please contact the editors if you are not sure whether your research falls within IJC’s focus and scope.

Publication Frequency

The International Journal of the Commons publishes articles continuously within one annual volume and issue.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. There is no embargo on the journal’s publications. Submission and acceptance dates, along with publication dates, are made available on the PDF format for each paper.

Authors of articles published remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to the Creative Commons license agreement.

Authors are encouraged to publish their data in recommended repositories. For a list of generic and subject specific repositories that meet our peer review criteria, see here.

Archiving Policy

Ubiquity Press focuses on making content discoverable and accessible through indexing services. Content is also archived around the world to ensure long-term availability.

In addition, the journal is available for harvesting via OAI-PMH.

To ensure permanency of all publications, this journal also utilises CLOCKSS, and LOCKSS archiving systems to create permanent archives for the purposes of preservation and restoration.

If the journal is not indexed by your preferred service, please contact us or alternatively by making an indexing request directly with the service.

Journal Statistics

Core journal statistics for the 2020 volume:

Submissions received182
Reviews requested2444
Reviews received3184
Total Rejections453
...of which, Desk rejects516
Acceptance rate742%
Time from submission to publication8315 days


1Number of new articles received by the journal
2Number of peer review invitation emails that were sent out
3Number of completed peer review reports received
4Total number of articles rejected (including desk rejects)
5Number of articles rejected prior to peer review
6Number of articles that received a 'Accept for publication' decision
7Number of acceptances, as a percentage, against the total number of final decisions
8'Mean' average from submission to publication for all publications in the volume

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 ( for more details.
  • Become a member of the IASC. Go to for more information.

About our organisation – The International Association of the Commons (IASC)

The International Journal of the Commons  is published by:
The International Association for the Study of Commons (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. Therefore IASC wants to publish a journal presenting the best of the research on commons in an open access environment.


Open Access
BASE search, Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
Digital Library of the Commons
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Electronic Journals Library (University of Regensburg)
Google scholar
Wikipedia (The Commons)

Subscription databases
Ebsco Host Electronic journals service
Ebsco, Green File. Environmental Awareness Database
Ebsco, Sustainability Reference Center
Scopus (Citescore 2019: 3.2) 
Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
Web of Science
Social Sciences Citation Index

Library catalogues
COPAC, Catalogue of resources at all the university libraries in the UK and Ireland
Picarta, Dutch Central Catalogue
SUDOC, Catalogue of resources at all the university libraries in France
Worldcat (OCLC), global catalog of library collections
ZDB, Catalogue of resources at all the university libraries in Germany

All IJC content is indexed with CrossRef and assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). This means that all IJC references are made available so that citations can be tracked by the publishing community, and the content is added to the Cross-Check anti-plagiarism database.

In addition, the journal is available for harvesting via OAI-PMH.

If the Journal is not indexed by your preferred service, please let us know or alternatively by making an indexing request directly with the service.

Authors are explicitly encouraged to deposit their article in their institutional repository.

Metrics and ranking

ISI Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports (2021 edition):

Impact Factor: 2.646
Ranking: 88/127 (Q3) (Social Sciences Edition, category Environmental Studies)



The members of IASC acknowledge with great appreciation the contributions to the IASC and the International Journal of the Commons from Indiana University.

The editors of International Journal of the Commons and the members of IASC acknowledge with great appreciation the contributions to the International Journal of the Commons from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Utrecht University, Research Institute for History and Culture and the Unger van Brero Foundation (Netherlands).


The International Journal of the Commons fully supports and encourages author self-archiving of all content.

The Journal is registered as a SHERPA Green journal.

Ostrom Memorial Award

Ostrom Memorial Award Winners Gallery

The International Journal of the Commons is pleased to present the Ostrom Memorial Award for Most Innovative Paper of the Year published in our journal.  The award comes with a prize of 250 euros with a fee waiver for their next publication.

2015: Glenn Daniel Wright, Krister Andersson, Clark Gibson, and Tom Evans : What incentivizes local forest conservation efforts? Evidence from Bolivia

2014: Ivo Baur, Karina Liechti, and Claudia Rebecca Binder: Why do individuals behave differently in commons dilemmas? The case of alpine farmers using common property pastures in Grindelwald, Switzerland

2013: Graham Epstein, Jessica M Vogt, Sarah K Mincey, Michael Cox, and Burney Fischer: Missing ecology: integrating ecological perspectives with the social-ecological system framework

2012: Anne M. Larson, Jadder Lewis-Mendoza: Decentralisation and devolution in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic autonomous region: Natural resources and indigenous peoples’ rights

The award is voted on by the journal's editorial board. They took into consideration the following broad-stroke criteria:

1. Theoretically innovative: The authors have moved beyond commonly used (commons) theory. Approach and results have significantly added to our conventional frameworks.

2. Methodologically innovative: In terms of research design, operationalization, data collection and/or analysis, the authors have ventured off the beaten track.

3. High societal relevance: The topic that the authors have studied can be argued to be of importance not only to academia, but also to both practitioners and commoners.

4. Widely applicable: The external validity of the results is such that insights can be applied to contexts that differ from the research topic.

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