For seventy years, International Organization (IO) has been at the forefront of scholarship in international relations. Across those years, the journal has tried to reflect the pressing questions of the field. The questions, approaches, and methodologies have changed.

It is tempting, with the arrival of each new decade (or quarter century) of the journal, to reflect on the field of international relations; on its debates, its scholars, and its evolution. Finding a way to do so, however, can be daunting. For example, choosing a “greatest hits” collection is rife with difficulties. Scholars of different theoretical traditions will have different opinions as to the importance of individual papers. Citation rates are a problematic metric for a variety of reasons. Methodology may tint the vision of even the most well-meaning judge. Thus, rather than pursue the Sisyphean task of finding the most appropriate “objective” (scare quotes intended) lens of reflection, I decided to roll this boulder right into the valley of subjectivity.

I asked each of the previous academic editors of IO to reflect on their time as editor. What papers would they consider to be important? They could base this on any metric they deemed appropriate. I did give them two small pieces of guidance. First, if they requested, I furnished citations counts (from Google Scholar) of the top papers during their tenure as editor. Second, I encouraged them to find some papers that, while not necessarily high on citation counts, they were proud to have published.

I am thrilled (and extremely thankful) that each of the former editors agreed to the task. Their selections will be rolled out in the coming weeks here on our Cambridge University Press web page. Each paper will be available for free for 2 weeks until the selections are revealed. I want to thank each of the editors for taking the time out of their schedules to do this. I hope they have had as much fun choosing these articles as I have had reading their thoughts on editing the journal and on changes in the field of international relations. I very much hope you will enjoy them as well.




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