IOS Press Pursues Sustainable Development Goals via the Publishers Compact - 2023 update


22 April 2024 | Gabriela Ricci, IOS Press, Amsterdam, NL

Discover how IOS Press, a leading STM publisher based in Amsterdam, is actively contributing to global sustainability efforts. 

By Gabriela Ricci, IOS Press, Amsterdam, NL

Since signing the SDG Publishers Compact in December 2020, Amsterdam-based STM publisher IOS Press has been committed to aligning its operations with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Through the establishment of a dedicated working group, IOS Press is diligently identifying strategies to integrate sustainability into its publishing practices. From analyzing current activities to engaging with its community, learn how IOS Press is championing sustainability and informing its audience about SDG developments.

IOS Press joined publishers around the world by becoming a signatory of the SDG Publishers Compact in December 2020. The SDG-guided initiative encourages publishers to support the development and application of the sustainability agenda by 2030. Over the past three years, IOS Press founded its own working group whose members are dedicated to identifying how the company as well as editors of its publications can achieve its delineated goals in alignment with the SDG-driven initiative. This overview highlights strategies being implemented across the organization including data analysis of current activities as well as how we inform our community about the SDG developments.


Our commitment

In December 2020, IOS Press became a signatory of the SDG Publishers Compact, an initiative that urges publishers to support the development and application of the sustainability agenda in the decade of action, 2020-2030. Publishers support the initiative by facilitating the acquisition, publication and sharing of content that advocates for themes represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By signing this compact, IOS Press committed to ten points that are key to achieving the SDGs:

1. State sustainability policies and targets on our website including adherence to the SDG Publishers Compact.

2. Actively promote and acquire content that advocates for themes represented by the SDGs.

3. Report on progress towards achieving SDGs.

4. Nominate a group of people to promote SDG progress.

5. Raise awareness and promote the SDGs among staff.

6. Raise awareness and promote the SDGs among suppliers.

7. Become an advocate to customers and stakeholders by promoting and actively communicating about the SDG agenda through marketing, websites, promotions, and projects.

8. Collaborate with other signatories and organizations to develop, localize, and scale projects that will advance progress on the SDGs.

9. Dedicate budget and other resources towards accelerating progress for SDG-dedicated projects and promoting SDG principles.

10. Take action on at least one SDG goal.


An SDG working group was established right after the signing of the commitment so actions around the SDGs could reflect the company as a whole. Group members were initially spread across four departments in the company, and we also count on the collaboration of other colleagues who contribute within their expertise.


Our initial commitment and policies relating to the goals – such as inclusivity and mitigation of inequality – are publicly available on our sustainability page. On our dedicated SDG page,  updates about IOS Press’s actions in support of the SDG Publishers Compact can be found along with new initiatives by our company. In addition, our company’s quarterly newsletter has a dedicated SDG section where updates and highlights are included. A complete report with IOS Press’s actions in the past year was published in November 2023. Editors of our journals also receive annual updates on the representation of authorship and editorial board members in relation to the SDGs.


Informing our community

Throughout 2023, the SDG working group worked on informing the IOS Press community about our efforts towards the SDGs. In addition to the reports shared with Editors-in-Chief, we published blog posts on Labs about different aspects of our actions. Some examples are Shining the Spotlight on Women and Girls in Science [3], celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and Sustainable Marketing at IOS Press: A Journey Towards Sustainable Marketing [4], sharing how IOS Press works towards eco-friendly marketing, blending innovation and responsible practices. Browse our SDGs tagged blog posts to find more!

Discoverability of our SDG content

In 2023 we launched a new page with highlighted SDG content. The page features selected papers, as well as special issues related to the SDGs. Quarterly updates showcase recently published SDG content and calls for papers that feature one or more SDGs. On the page you will also find links to dedicated SDG pages by some of our journals, such as Environmental Policy and Law and WORK.


In addition to the central SDG content page, each journal’s homepage now features:

  • A list of SDG themes relating to the content of that journal
  • A statement of the journal’s support of the IOS Press’ actions relating to the SDGs, if applicable
  • A statement of the journal’s commitment to the Diversity and Inclusion Statement, if applicable
  • The geographical distribution of authors publishing in the journal in the past three years

SDG analytics in IOS Press journals

A careful assessment of all IOS Press journals in terms of gender and geographic diversity has taken place since early 2022. To assess and improve our compliance with SDG 10, reduced inequalities, we analyzed the geographical distribution of our journals’ editorial board members and authors. Knowing the geographic location of our authors helps us understand their accessibility needs, which enables us to create better policies. This benefits not only our editors and authors, but also our readers, including researchers and practitioners in lower-income countries. While this action is directly linked to SDG 10, it also supports the sharing of knowledge which relates to all SDGs.

The editorial board members of approximately two-thirds of our journals have also been assessed in relation to gender. Our goal is to expand this assessment to all our titles. With data from April 2023, the assessment has shown that two-thirds of our editorial board members are male. As a result, conscious efforts are being made together with editors-in-chief to ensure more even gender representation where possible, in line with SDG 5, gender equality.


The IOS Press SDG working group provides editors-in-chief with up-to-date journal data relating to SDGs 5 and 10 on a yearly basis, along with updated guidance for reducing inequality within the journal community. Our goal with such an action is to raise awareness, and that the working group’s recommendations become the starting point for discussions – at journal level, with editors, and at company level, among our colleagues and the company management – about actions that could be taken towards improved equality.

IOS Press target goals

One of the points we committed to when joining the SDG Publishers Compact was to take action on at least one of the SDG goals. As the working group developed, several goals were addressed:


SDG 5, gender equality
In an effort to tackle SDG 5 more efficiently, we published a Diversity and Inclusion Statement, to which many of our editors have already adhered; signed a joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing; and also have representation in the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers’ working group on equality, diversity and inclusion. We work with the policies developed by the joint commitment and ALPSP EDI working group for improving equality in our publications as well as our company.


SDG 10, reduced inequalities
IOS Press is a partner of Research4Life, benefiting institutions and researchers of lower-income countries. In addition  to giving access to the research published by IOS Press, most of our journals with Article Processing Charges also use the Research4Life listing to waive the fees for researchers located in those countries. This ensures that not only researchers from lower-income countries have access to high-quality information but are able to share the knowledge they produce in our trustworthy publications.


SDG 12, responsible consumption and production
Since 2021, a joint effort across the company has been taken to drastically reduce the number of print materials produced by IOS Press, in line with SDG 12. The number of printed journal copies has been reduced to a minimum and on-demand printing is being implemented to help us avoid unnecessary waste. Digital-based marketing also plays a major role in helping our company reduce printed materials. Our responsible marketing practices have been implemented in 2022 and expanded in 2023.


SDG 13, climate action
In 2022, we signed up with Coolset to have our carbon footprint assessed. This was the first step towards becoming a carbon-neutral company. Actions already taken, for example in regard to SDG 12, should help us achieve this goal.


SDG 17, partnerships for the goals
Having like-minded partners working with us is extremely important if we want to fully implement our sustainable development plan; hence SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals) is a central point for us to start a successful journey. Throughout 2023, the SDG working group assessed which current suppliers fall into this category. We also encouraged those that do not have a public sustainability statement or environmental policy to implement one. The measurements provided by Coolset also show us how much carbon our partners emit when providing services to us. This way, IOS Press can inform them and work collaboratively towards more sustainable approaches.


Towards a sustainable future

Since the setting up of the IOS Press SDG working group, we have seen many great developments with the actions that are currently in place. A major action point of 2023 will be to work towards further spreading the SDG-oriented ideas and actions among our colleagues, partners, editors, and authors. We are proud to be going beyond publishing SDG-related content in our publications and to be taking action as a company for a sustainable future.


If you are interested to hear more about IOS Press’ sustainable actions and recommendations, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch!