UNRISD publishes its research in a variety of formats, including books, briefs and papers. Co-publication agreements with commercial publishers allow the Institute to reach new audiences through professionally produced books, while our in-house publications provide flexibility in format, pricing and distribution.
Many of our publications are available for free on this site, and both new and past publications are added regularly. We encourage you to subscribe to our free email alerts service and quarterly e-Bulletin
for information on our work and new publications.
Research and Policy Briefs
UNRISD Research and Policy Briefs aim to improve the quality of development dialogue. They situate the Institute’s research within wider social development debates, synthesize its findings and draw out issues for consideration in decision-making processes. They provide this information in a concise format that should be of use to policy makers, scholars, activists, journalists and others.
Beyond 2015 Briefs
UNRISD’s "Beyond 2015" Briefs contribute research-based insight and analysis to the dialogue around the post–MDG development agenda. They highlight key information in a concise format, with references to further in-depth reading, useful to policy makers, activists and academics alike.
UNRISD Project Briefs pose questions, flag ideas and contribute knowledge that can improve the quality of development debates, policy and practice. They provide a concise summary of an UNRISD research project, situating it within wider social development debates; outlining its focus, objectives and methodology; and highlighting interim findings.
UNRISD Issue Briefs aim to improve the quality of dialogue around social development issues. They interrogate a particular topic, drawing on UNRISD research, and contribute to wider social development debates. As with other UNRISD briefs, they provide this information in a concise format that should be of use to policy makers, scholars, activists, journalists and others.
UNRISD Event Briefs offer readers a concise overview and key highlights of the discussions at an UNRISD social development event. Through these briefs, UNRISD provides information about its events and the discussions taking place, which may not otherwise be available to interested audiences.
UNRISD published a series of four Briefing Papers for the 1995 World Summit for Social Development. They outlined pressing social problems of the time—Environmental Degradation, Social Integration, Structural Adjustment and Illicit Drugs—and emphasized possible policy responses.
UNRISD publishes books with partner publishing houses which, in recent years, have included Palgrave Macmillan, Routledge and Wiley Blackwell.
Authored and Edited Volumes
Authored and edited volumes provide in-depth analysis arising from UNRISD research projects. Among these are detailed country studies and volumes that bring together major findings and recommendations based on the Institute's studies. These studies are often multi-country and comparative in nature, others focus on a particular issue within a single country context.
Research findings from UNRISD projects are published in journals, either as stand-alone articles, as special sections or as special issues, often with UNRISD researchers editing or co-editing the issue.
UNRISD periodically publishes a flagship report to provide comprehensive analysis of a timely social development challenge, and offer research-based analysis and policy implications. A hallmark of UNRISD’s flagship reports is their multidisciplinary, cross-country comparative nature, and their attention to the interconnections between social, economic and political dynamics and solutions.
UNRISD flagship reports are:
Policy Innovations for Transformative Change: Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2016)
Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics (2010)
Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World (2005)
Visible Hands: Taking Responsibility for Social Development (2000)
States of Disarray: The Social Effects of Globalization (1995)
UNRISD Research: Retrospect and Prospect
These publications look at past UNRISD research and outline the research strategy for the future.
Challenging Paradigms and Influencing Policy: UNRISD Research for Social Change, 2005–2009 (2010)
Social Development Research at UNRISD 2005–2009 (2006)
Research for Social Change (UNRISD Fortieth Anniversary Report) (2003)
People, Power and the Environment: 15 Years of UNRISD Research (2002)
UNRISD 2000+: A Vision for the Future of the Institute (2000)
UNRISD: 30 Years of Research for Social Development (1993)
In addition to publishing research with partner publishers in books and journals, UNRISD publishes a number of peer-reviewed works in-house. All of these publications are available to download free from the UNRISD website. Some are available as hard-copy publications upon request.
Research Papers (2012–)
Research papers commissioned under UNRISD projects are now published in this series, which began in 2012.
From time to time UNRISD publishes a series of Occasional Papers to provide analysis of a selected topic or thematic area, often as an input to a global event, or as the result of a conference or a large research programme. Past series include:
· Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension (2011–2012)
· Geneva 2000
· Fourth World Conference on Women (1995–2000)
· War-Torn Societies Project (1995–1998)
· Culture and Development (jointly with UNESCO, 1997)
· World Summit for Social Development (1994)
Programme Papers (2000–2011)
UNRISD Programme Papers, published between 2000 and 2011, were grouped under seven thematic series.
· Civil Society and Social Movements
· Democracy, Governance and Human Rights (subsequently Democracy, Governance and Well-Being)
· Identity, Conflict and Cohesion
· Social Policy and Development
· Technology, Business and Society (subsequently Markets, Business and Regulation)
· Gender and Development (from 2005)
· Overarching Concerns.
Discussion Papers (1987-2000)
UNRISD Discussion Papers, published between 1987 and 2000, were preliminary documents circulated in a limited number of copies to stimulate discussion and critical comment.
UNRISD posts draft research papers online in the interest of making research results widely available as early as possible in the course of a project. Many draft papers are subsequently reworked, revised and published in books, journals or as UNRISD Research Papers. As of late 2012, our policy is to leave drafts available on our website without fee or restriction so that the key results of research are available to all, even after a subsequent “version of record” is published. This is in line with recommendations of best practice associated with the Open Access movement. The drafts available via the UNRISD website are, in most cases, the author’s “pre-print”.
Newsletters and Conference Reports
Conference News/Conference Reports
Conference News and Conference Reports offer an analytical, substantive narrative of the content of UNRISD events.
UNRISD News was a regular newsletter published by the Institute between 1989 and 2008. Each issue focused on a different theme, and guest writers were invited to contribute short pieces.